Woking 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

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

5th April 1999 – Kingfield Stadium (Attendance: 2808)

Rushden Team: Smith, Berry, Bradshaw, Rodwell, Branson, Brady, McElhatton, Cooper, De Souza, Collins, Underwood.

Subs: Wooding, Heggs, Foster.

Diamonds Scorer: Foster

Webmasters MoM: McElhatton

Match Report:

Coming to Kingsfield is always a hard game for Diamonds. Coming on the back of such a disappointing result two days previously at the hands of Cheltenham was going to be a real test of the character of this Diamonds team. Remembering back to last season when we travelled to Halifax and got well beaten, the Championship gone, the lads last season lost interest. Although this Championship still has twists and turns to run, it was going to be interesting to whether this current squad has the character and commitment to bounce back. Today they showed that they have, and all is not lost!

Diamonds played well in the first half, showing more commitment and determination than Woking. Darren Hay looked a handful for Rodders and Bradshaw but he was stopped by fair or foul means from causing two much trouble early on. There were not too many chances early on, and crosses from both sides left a lot to be desired. But it was Diamonds who were taking the initiative. Shots from Cooper from 25yards and then Collins from 6 yards rocketed off the crossbar and were cleared to safety with no Diamonds players following in. But the main talking point of the half happened 5 minutes from the break. Guy Branson hustled his way into the box, the keeper came to meet him, the shot came and the ball bounced into the goal before being hooked out by a Woking defender. The ball was at least 2ft over the line, but the linesman who was not up with play kept his flag down and the referee waved play on. I am told that the television crew there confirmed the ball was well over the line. Diamonds run of bad luck continues, especially as within two minutes of the incident, and with Diamonds still fuming over the decision, Woking broke upfield and a great shot hard and low beat Smith. Diamonds went into the break 1-0 down when they could so easily have been 3-1 up.

The second half was a much more equal affair. With Diamonds having to push further forward at every opportunity space was left at the back and Woking played a greater part in the game. BT decided it was make or break, and took Branson, Berry and Brady off and brought on Fossy, Wooding and Heggs. From here on in all the pressure came from Diamonds. Fossy grabbed the all important equaliser and the team pushed forward looking for the winner, but unfortunately chances created for Rodders and Migs were squandered. When the final whistle went Diamonds could feel justifiably bitter at the twists of fate that are hampering their push for promotion.

The big plus from this result must be the character shown by the team today. They worked so hard, especially Macca and Coops in midfield. The central defence rarely looked in too much trouble, maybe the only thing letting them down still is the quality of ball into the box, and the lack of control in first touch from the men upfront. Diamonds have not yet given up on the title and will push Cheltenham all the way and wait for them to slip up.

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