Leek Town 2 Rushden & Diamonds 3

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

Harrison Park (Attendance 809)

Rushden Team: Smith, Heggs, Branson, Wooding, Rodwell, Brady, McElhatton, Cooper, De Sousa, West, Underwood.

Subs: Foster, Whyte, Butterworth.

Diamonds Scorers: De Souza, Underwood, Wooding (Pen)

Webmasters MoM: Paul Underwood

Match Report:

Diamonds came to Leek knowing that a win would move them joint top in the Conference above Kettering, and we saw a much better performance from them tonight. They played with more confidence and fire in their bellies. There seemed more of a determination to win well. BT had been forced to make changes to the team again as Darren Collins was suspended and Fossy was rested because of an ankle worry. At the back Brads and Razor were still absent though the good news is that both MAY be ok for Saturday, maybe not 90 minutes though.

Diamonds started off well, pushing forward and playing neat possession football. Leek themselves played some attractive football but seemed to have difficulty getting quality ball in to the box. The pitch was awful and it was a credit to both teams that the game was fairly entertaining. There were rumours that a couple of moorhens were surveying the pitch earlier with a view to making a nest and habitat. There was no bounce in the pitch just a splat as the ball landed.

Diamonds took the lead from a great cross from Skippy that found the head of Miguel and the ball slid into the net at a terribly slow pace. One nil up and cruising – Leek huffed and puffed but never really put that much pressure on the Diamonds defence. The first half finished with Diamonds well on top.

The highlight of the second half was a glorious goal from Unders. A neat back flick from Macca to Unders 30-35 yards out, and he hit a glorious shot curling into the top right corner. This had come after Leek had equalised from another mistake from the Diamonds defence – a cross glancing backwards and over the head of Macca finding the foot of the in-rushing Agana who trundled it past Smudger and into the net. Diamonds deserved their 2-1 lead though and extended it when De Souza was brought down by two players inside the box when clear through on the keeper. Tim Wooding made no mistake from the spot. Leek tried to play football throughout the game and there endeavour was never in question. With the problems they have had financially they deserve to stay up, their team are hard working and a credit to their budget. It really is a shame that there crowds are so poor.

Notable performances from Diamonds – MoM had to go to Unders for his magnificent goal and his hard work on the difficult pitch. Rodders and Branson were superb at the back and Macca and Coops industrious in midfield, though I would not say Macca was playing to his normal high standard. The best performances we have seen from them for a while came from Skippy, Heggsy and Miguel. They worked hard throughout and showed the commitment that it seemed was lacking of late. Heggsy in particular, considering some of the stick that he has recently received did not stop working throughout the game until BT decided to bring on Butts to make safe the points. Hopefully Skippy will gain some confidence from his performance, though its unfortunate that his booking received last Saturday means he will miss the Cheltenham game. Unders picked up a ridiculous booking from last nights ref, and Agana was lucky only to receive a yellow for a tackle on Coops.

Now its onward to Rockingham Road where a win will take us 3 points clear at the top and a win against Cheltenham the following Saturday will really turn up the heat!

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