Leeds United 3 Rushden & Diamonds 1

Match Report courtesy of Unofficial Rushden & Diamonds Website (1997-2001)

F.A. Cup 3rd Round Replay

13th January 1999 – Elland Road (Attendance: 39159)

Rushden Team: Feuer, Wooding, Bradshaw, Hamsher, Rodwell, Heggs, McElhatton, Butterworth, DeSouza, Foster, Underwood.
Subs: Brady, Whyte, West.

Diamonds Scorers: Heggs

Webmasters MoM: Ian Feuer

Match Report:

What a magnificent evening from start to finish. Sure – we lost, but we lost in style, we performed wll on the night, superbly over both games, the support was brilliant, and we gave Leeds United the shock of their lives. The Conference should be proud!

The Diamonds fans had taken over all of the South Stand, both tiers. And were they in party mood! To a man they were cheering and shouting throughout the game. It must have inspired the team, because from the kick off they showed their intentions.

Diamonds, I imagine must have lost the toss, and for the first half played with the wind behind them. Diamonds attacked from the start, putting pressure on the Leeds defence. For the first ten minutes Leeds had great difficulty controlling the ball, the first touch was abysmal, and didn’t the Diamonds supporters let them know it. Then the unthinkable happened. A quick move down the right and a cross flashed in to the Leeds area, hard and low. The crowd were up from their seats in expectation. First a shot from Fossy – blocked on the line by Radebe, it fell to Heggs -saved by Martyn, back to Foster and off the post, then back to Heggs who crashed it past Martyn and into the net. The Supporters went crazy behind the goal, craning their heads to watch it again on the large TV on the scoreboard. Leeds were stunned, the Leeds support were stunned, and suddenly you believed that maybe dreams can come true. The Chants ” One Nil to the Conference” rung out from the Diamonds Supporters, to no response from the quiet Leeds support. Would Diamonds sit on their lead, no way. They continued to press forward, but gradually Leeds sensed that they needed to go up a gear, and quickly. The passes suddenly started to find their man, the first touch improved, and we now saw the true Leeds United. Quick on the ball, deft touches, superb running off the ball and the pressure was now on Diamonds. Ian Feuer was forced to make some great saves, and if Max wants to know what to do with the money the Club have made from this game, then look no further than ensuring that Ian Feuer stays at Diamonds. He is a great keeper, and already has a great rapport with the fans. Any way back to the match. It was really no surprise when Leeds equalised, neat passing and a clinical finish from young Smith. The game was now on, but it was now Diamonds turn to find the first touch leave them. Fossy in particular was totally in-effective upfront, getting hustled off the ball, committing needless fouls to give away possession. But Diamonds made it through to halftime on level terms, and a standing ovation from the fans.

We knew that the second half would one way traffic, especially with Leeds now having the wind in their sails, and we were not disappointed. Westy had come on for Foster in an attempt to hold up the ball, and gain some possession. And it worked superbly – one has to admit it was a good tactical substitution, something we have missed seeing recently. Leeds swept forward in waves, shots rained in, and after a few scares and saves from Feuer, the inevitable happened and Leeds took the lead, thanks to Smith again – another clinical shot past the diving Feuer. But still, with the support behind them Diamonds continued to play neat passing football and even had a couple of chances themselves to pull level. But it was not to be and Hassailbank tucked in Leeds third and the game was over. Diamonds continued to impress, but knew the tie was past the point of no return. Brady came on for Hamsher, and did well weaving his way down the right and putting in some great crosses. Then with a minute or so remaining BT brought on Chris Whyte, to a standing ovation from the whole stadium. A perfect end to a near perfect night. As the whistle for full time blew the stadium erupted. We had all witnessed a great Diamonds performance, and another chapter in Diamonds history. The lads took a lap of honour and gained great respect from the Leeds fans who had stayed behind to applaud. We had witnessed a great team performance, and it would be unfair to highlight too many individuals, but for me Feuer, Bradshaw and Rodders were magnificent at the back. De Souza, Heggs and Unders also had great games.

Now its back to normal, and a tie away at Slough in the FAT, and followed by Conference action against Donny and Kiddy. Its the old clichĂ© but lets say it – Now we can concentrate on the League.

As a footnote lets mention the Leeds fans. Quieter than expected in the ground, no bare chests to be seen at half time, but as friendly as you could wish to meet, and great for a banter before the game in the pub opposite the ground. Well done Leeds United and good luck against Pompey. Lets hope we can say that we were at least knocked out by the eventual FA Cup winners – Please!!!

See here for video highlights of both games in this tie.

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