Rushden & Diamonds 1 Woking 2

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

F.A. Trophy 4th Round Replay

9th February 1999 – Nene Park

Rushden Team: Smith, Wooding, Warburton, Cramman, Rodwell, Brady, McElhatton, Butterworth, Collins, West, Underwood.
Subs: Hamsher, Heggs, Foster.

Diamonds Scorer: Warburton 45 secs

Webmasters MoM:  Jim Rodwell

Match Report:

Congratulations to Woking on their result tonight, it was totally deserved and well won. Once again we have seen Diamonds surrender a lead by sitting back and letting the opposition dictate the game. Once again we have seen a Diamonds team, and I use the word team loosely, with no vision or guile in midfield. Tonight was another example of players not playing to their strengths, and doing their own thing. Tonight we can’t blame this one on BT and his substitution mishaps, this was all down to the players who must shoulder the blame.

Ray Warburton was poor in the centre of the defence, and other than his 45 second goal had a game I am sure he will wish to forget. Thank goodness he had Rodders alongside him, to save his blushes. He really looks as though he needs some more less competitive games under his belt. Kenny and Tim were adequate at the back, but too often their passes bypassed midfield and went to opposing defenders, giving the front men no service at all.  Unders was adequate but often failed to get crosses in, and gave away possession cheaply, and Skippy! Skippy is best on the wing, taking players on and putting in crosses. So why did he spend the first 30 minutes tracking Scottie all over the park, getting pulled into a central position and cluttering up midfield. Talbot was screaming for him to stay wide, but it appears Skippy knows best. When he eventually tried to put in a performance for the team, and follow orders he looked a much better player and caused more problems.

Gary Butts is still nowhere near the Gary of last season. He loses tackles in midfield, gives away possession cheaply and his distribution is poor. Maybe now is the time to take the bull by the horn and bring in Van the Man. He hustles in midfield and has the vision to feed the front men. He is fully fit now, so BT must bring him back sooner than later. Macca always works hard but had little support, and tonight not much sense of direction. Even Smudge in goal looked shaky, and on a few occasions was lucky to get away with dropping crosses. You cant really judge Daren and Westy upfront because they had so little service. Fossy did nothing of note when brought on as a late substitute, only the tricky Carl Heggs – with his un-orthodox style, caused Woking any problems. On the night Woking were more skillful, quicker, more direct, had width, and thoroughly deserved their win.

The only bright spot for Diamonds was the performance of Rodders. This is a player who at the beginning of the season was on a month by month contract, and expected to be on his way out of Nene Park after Christmas. He was given his chance to show that his illness last season was finally out of the way, and he has shone ever since. He does all that is asked of him, shows guts and commitment, and puts a lot of the better known players to shame. He is my current choice for most improved player and player of the season so far.

With the season now so dependant upon the next two Conference games, both away from home, Diamonds have got to dig deep, and BT has got to somehow lift this team. They have only won five of their last 17 games, which is dismal and certainly not Championship form. The season has to turn and it has to turn now or it will just fizzle out completely. Who at the moment would even put money on our winning the Northants Senior Cup, let alone the Conference. Now is the time to put in a team performance, for players to work together instead of individually. We have good players, 28 of them, but we rarely see them perform as a team, or perform consistently. The heights of the match at home to Woking at New Year show what can be achieved. The potential is there, now we need to see it again, week in and week out. Nothing else will do if we are to salvage the season.

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