Rushden & Diamonds 4 Forest Green Rovers 0

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

27th April 1999 – Nene Park (Attendance: 1618)

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

Subs: Berry, Wooding, Ndekwe.

Diamonds Scorers: De Souza, Collins, Brady, Cooper.

Webmasters MoM: De Souza

Match Report:

With Diamonds struggling to attain a reasonable final league position, a win and more importantly a good performance were going to be essential tonight. Previous performances lacking any drive and commitment had seen attendances start to tumble, and just over 1600 had made it to Nene Park to see Forest Green.

Forest Green are one of the form teams for the second half of the season, and had made their way to Wembley in the FA Trophy, so they were no mugs. But in a good first half for Diamonds they tore them to shreds. Whatever BT had said to the team after Saturdays game at Hereford it must have shaken them up, because back in the team was the spirit that has been missing for so long. Heggs had been dropped for this game, not even making it on the bench – his current performances or lack of performance obviously the cause. This was a night when the players showed what can be expected when they put there minds to it. Players who had been criticised in previous weeks chose this game to shine. Brady as wing back had a great first half, and De Souza looked quick and sharp – opening the scoring with a great header that gave the keeper no chance. Collins followed suite with a goal, and Brady as well as Diamonds romped to a three goal lead at half time. The men at the back, Rodders, Brads and Pickle were superb clearing any thing thrown at them. To be honest it was a choice of Brads, Rodders, Macca and De Souza for M.O.M. as neither put a foot wrong. Unders on the left tormented the defence, the only disappointment was that once again Darren Collins seemed lethargic and un-interested.

In the second half FGR came back into it a little, hitting a few shots at Collett which he had no problem gathering. He looks very confident in goal, agile, takes crosses well and equally important distributes the ball quickly. This gives an extra pace to the game, a pace at which Diamonds feel much happier playing. Cooper added a fourth after superb interplay and from there on Diamonds played keep ball. McElhatton who has picked up the Website Player of the Season Award was again superb. His commitment cannot be faulted. If he loses a ball he fights back to regain possession, wanting to give nothing away. You always know with Macca that you get 100% plus, and a few goals thrown in as well. In midfield Butterworth had another good game, but I must be missing something in his play because for the last two games he has been voted the Sponsors M.O.M. which I cant see. He has certainly got his enthusiasm back, and his tackling in midfield is superb, but too often I feel he gives away cheap ball with slack passing.

So a performance which was very much improved and must put the team in a happier position going into our last game of the season against the Poppies. We are all desperately disappointed not to have won the Conference, but the season must finish on a high by beating our local rivals and finishing above them. So lets get fully behind the lads on Saturday. Incidentally it was interesting to hear the 10 or so Rovers fans cheering for Cheltenham – I am sure that I could imagine no situation at all where we would cheer on the Poppies! Also weren’t the De Banke quiet, leaving all the singing and cheering etc to the South Stand singers. Well done South Stand!

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