Rushden & Diamonds 0 Kingstonian 0

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

20th April 1999 – Nene Park (Attendance: 1818)

Rushden Team: Collett, Heggs, Branson, Bradshaw, Rodwell, Brady, McElhatton, Butterworth, Collins, West, Underwood.

Subs: De Souza, Wooding, Berry.

Webmasters MoM: McElhatton

Match Report:

Another pretty dire performance from Diamonds, in a game which they started so brightly and finished reasonably well. But what came in between was easily forgettable. This was a game that turned quickly into a match where neither team had much inclination to win, though the K’s could have the excuse that they had only last week played three games against promotion certs Cheltenham Town. For Diamonds all that was at stake was a bit of pride, but the fans who turned out were let down by yet another passionless performance from some, not all, players.

The first fifteen minutes Diamonds looked very sharp, Heggsy had three good chances but squandered them, and WEsty had a great opportunity but the keeper saved. West got injured in the process and De Souza replaced him. From here on in Diamonds seemed to lose all shape and all idea. Passes went astray from both sides, even the normally reliable Bradshaw seemed to want to take the ball too far too often, getting caught in possession. The forwards had no idea at all and I don’t think Collins touched the ball more than a few times all of the first half. The crosses from Unders and Skippy constantly fell to the keeper or in to empty space. The half time whistle could not come quick enough for fans or players.

Unfortunately the second half turned out worse than the first. Diamonds lacked inventiveness and heart, other than Macca, Butts and Bradshaw. Guy Branson made some telling blocks late on and always tried, but some players should think very hard before picking up their wages this week. Some of the passing was embarrassing, and it seems strange with passing going so poorly for a few players that Steve Berry was again left sitting on the bench. with ten minutes to go Diamonds decided to have a crack, and a header from Collins was saved on the line, a header from Rodwell tipped over the bar, and a scorcher from De Souza soared past the upright.

It does seem as though Cheltenham will now get the title with no fight from Diamonds. I still think they will drop points against Yeovil, Hayes, Northwich and Welling (if they need points to avoid the drop) so it seems a shame that Diamonds gave up the fight after the draw at Woking. But then we did the same last season after the Halifax game. One can argue that the system of one-up causes these non descript end of season games, but there were nearly two thousand fans tonight, and over two thousand last week against Yeovil who deserve better than what they are currently receiving. Hopefully some of the passion that Brads and Macca have will rub off for next season on some of the other players.

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