Hereford United 3 Rushden & Diamonds 2

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

24th April 1999 – Edgar Street (Attendance: 2018)

Rushden Team: Collett, Wooding, Bradshaw, Rodwell, Branson, Cooper, McElhatton, Butterworth, De Souza, Collins, Underwood.

Subs: Heggs, Brady, Berry.

Diamonds Scorers: Cooper, Collins.

Webmasters MoM: Bradshaw

Match Report:

Diamonds travelled to Hereford for their last away game of the season hoping to end a run of five games without a win. In the games since the defeat at the hands of Cheltenham the games have lacked passion, commitment and pride (Woking excepted). Cheltenham may have ended up worthy Conference winners but Diamonds handed them the title by giving up too easily. Passionless games against Yeovil, and Kingstonian have given Diamonds the hard task of trying to finish higher this season than last seasons fourth place. On the evidence of today’s game it looks unlikely that Diamonds will get another win from the remaining two games.

The first half was a very even affair, though marred by some bad tackles from De Souza and Cooper. That being said Hereford did a great impersonation of Kettering Town by falling all over the place like powder puffs. Neither side really impressed though, Unders looked sharp on the wing and Collins seemed a bit more lively. It was at the back that we had a few problems, Tim Wooding getting skinned by the winger every time he ran at him, and Guy Branson not looking the commanding player that he was in the first few games of his return to Diamonds. Rodders looked strong at the back with Bradshaw and they coped with everything thrown at them. Macca, Coops and Butts worked hard in midfield and it was no surprise when Coops put Diamonds in front just before half time.

BT brought Heggs on for De Souza for the second half but Diamonds seemed to lack any invention, or commitment to try and increase their advantage. It was Hereford who dominated the next 35 minutes. They were more skillful, ran off the ball better, were quicker, to be honest were better in every department. It was not long before Diamonds meekly surrendered their lead to three superbly taken goals. It was only when the third went in that Diamonds came to life. In the last ten minutes Diamonds got a goal back through Collins and from then on all of the pressure came from Diamonds but the equaliser never came, and to be honest would not really have been deserved.

The team appear to have given up for this season and are going through the motions.  Yeovil and Hayes have character in their side that is desperately lacking in the Diamonds side, a few players excepted. Each season when we have a slip up we give up the chase! The supporters around me were of the same opinion that we look unlikely to win either of our remaining games, and will more than likely finish worse than last season in fifth place. A successful season – I think not! Brian stated while being interviewed after the game that he now has a clear idea in his mind which players will be leaving in the summer. On today’s second half performance I think the list could be extensive. That being the case where do we look to for next season – another rebuilding season? I hope not because as each season goes by it will become increasingly difficult to get out of the Conference. I still think we have the nucleus of a good team, but we must look to have Transit and Mison playing next season. Razor will also shore the defence up even more – Guy Branson has not delivered the goods but will probably not want to stay in the Conference anyway even if we did attempt to secure his services. As for Heggsy, I would imagine he has a get-out clause to his contract if Diamonds were not to be promoted so he may well depart. I think we all have opinions on who Brian will move on this summer, but the interest will be on who he can persuade to join Diamonds, and finishing fifth will not encourage to many players to move to Nene Park.

Having said all that they are our team so I am sure they will get maximum support in their last two games of the season – lets hope they respond in the proper way.

Ps BT has called all the players in for training tomorrow such was his dis-pleasure at the performance. Maybe he should show them all a picture of Max’s face and expression when the third Bulls goal went in.

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