Rushden & Diamonds 2 Stevenage Borough 1

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

9th March 1999 – Nene Park (Attendance: 3169)

Rushden Team: Smith, Heggs, Bradshaw, Warburton, Rodwell, Brady, McElhatton, Cooper, Foster, Collins, Cramman.
Subs: Butterworth, Wooding, De Souza.

Diamonds Scorers: Collins (2)

Webmasters MoM: McElhatton

Match Report:

Diamonds bounced back from the disappointment of last Saturday against Hayes with a thrilling victory at Nene Park against Stevenage Borough. This was a great entertaining game, both teams setting a high standard of play. We saw tonight a great team performance from Diamonds, something that has been lacking since the game against Woking at New Year. The whole team seemed up for this game, and the fact that Boro were up for a footballing game instead of a defensive display we see so often these days at Nene Park, meant it was great for the spectators.

Diamonds totally bossed the first half, with Fossy working tirelessly upfront creating space, and Daz with a spring in his step running at the defence. It was no surprise when Collins ran at the defence, cut inside as he so often does and unleashed a shot that the keeper could only assist into the net. Diamonds Then increased their lead when a great cross from Kenny Cramman was looped over the keeper with a deft header again from Collins. Boro continued to play neat attractive football with the dangerous Carl Alford always looking to have a pop at Smudger. However poor decisions from the linesman caused frustration that saw a few bookings on both sides. The offside trap worked a treat for Boro as Heggs and Collins were consistently caught out.

The second half continued in the same entertaining way, but early in the half, with Diamonds down to ten men as Collins was off the field receiving stitches, a defensive error let in Carl Alford who hit a glorious shot across Smudge and high into the net – a superb reminder of his goalscoring prowess. There was now always a worry that Boro may sneak an equalizer. Collins hit a glorious shot on the run from 25 yards that the keeper did well to tip over for a corner. Smudge took care of everything thrown at him, and in the end Diamonds ran out deserving victors.

So at last we saw a performance of note from Diamonds. This was an evening where every player worked their butt off for the victory. Heggs must have worked harder than in any previous game for the Club. Though midfield still lacked some creativity, Macca made up for it with his enthusiasm and his superb runs from deep. Coops worked hard and maybe gives more bite in midfield than Transit would have done. Rodders and Brads were again superb, with Razor having a much better second half than the first. We saw the emphasis on getting early and quality balls into the box tonight, which was what BT was urging the players to do last Saturday, but which they ignored. As for Boro they looked a very good side, with Mark Smith at the back looking every inch quality. I am sure that Cheltenham will now be looking over their shoulders, and will not relish the trip to Boro on Saturday. The Diamonds run-in started tonight, and if this performance can be continued for our next two games then who knows what may be around the corner.

Ps The scouts were out in force again tonight – Gerry Francis and Ian Dowie, plus the manager from Donny and a scout from Cambridge. At least they saw a better game than their previous visits.

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