Rushden & Diamonds 1 Northampton Town 0

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

Maunsell Cup Final

31st July 1999 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2500)

Rushden Team: Turley, Wooding, Bradshaw, , McElhatton, Peters, Rodwell, Butterworth, Cooper, Mison, Town, Underwood.
Subs: Smith, Sale, Mills, Cramman, Collins.

Diamonds Scorers: Cooper 7 mins.

Webmasters MoM: Peters

Report:

A superb performance again from Diamonds, in extremely hot and humid conditions. Diamonds outplayed and outfought the Cobblers for long periods of the game. Brian Talbot was forced to change around his team again as Darren Collins had been suffering with a stomach bug, and Mark Peters and Darren Bradshaw returned from injury. There was a lot of pride at stake today, and one certainty was that Billy Turley was going to receive a lot of stick from the Cobblers fans, who he left to join Diamonds a few weeks ago.

Diamonds started well and had a header from Rodwell fly over the bar after just two minutes. On three minutes a chance fell to Mison as a poor clearance fell to his feet, only for him to blast the ball high and wide. But on 7 minutes Diamonds took the lead. A great cross from Unders into the box, Dave Town flick headed the ball on to the head of the incoming Cooper who steered his header past the keeper and into the net. Northampton then pushed forward and had a half chance on 10 minutes but Mark Peters intervened and put the forward off his shot. On 16 minutes a Mison flick on and Macca had a header saved by the keeper. Diamonds were dominant and on 17 minutes after great inter passing a ball was laid back to Butterworth whose attempted lob of the keeper was just high and wide from 18 yards. The Cobblers best chance fell in the 25th minute when a rasping shot was superbly tipped over the crossbar by the fingers of the outstretched Billy Turley. Turley had a great half considering the pressure he must have been under. He coped well with all of the crosses thrown at him, commanded his area, and his distribution from the throw and the kick was quick and effective. Diamonds then going at at half time worthy leaders.

 

In the second half Mark Sale came on for Mison who took a knock. The first ten minutes saw early pressure from the Cobblers, but the Diamonds back line and midfield were magnificent. When Cobblers had a few corners the Diamonds defence seemed a bit jittery but there was no need to worry – if the players could not get to the ball then they threw themselves in with a block tackle. On 58 minutes Sale knocked the ball on for Cooper, who passed to Macca and his shot on the turn sailed agonisingly close to the upright. On 59 minutes Dave Town showed great skill bringing down the ball on his chest, and on he run hammering a shot goalwards, but unfortunately straight at the keeper. By now Mark Sale was managing to win everything in the air, and showing he has a neat lay-off touch to his forwards. On 66 minutes Darren Collins came on for Darren Bradshaw who took a knock in the face from an elbow earlier in the game. On 71 minutes Billy Turley was called in to action again and had to superbly punch clear a dangerous cross flying into his six yard box. On 82 minutes Gary Mills replaced Dave Town, and Diamonds controlled the game from here on to the finish, even having time for a superb Darren Collins shot to be turned away for a corner.

So a great win for Diamonds and the first Silverware of the season. This was a superb performance, and Cobblers became the third League scalp that Diamonds have taken during this pre-season. Everyone out on the field today had a great game, and it seems a shame to just single out Macca and Peters, but they were superb. Tim and Rodders coped admirably and Butts and Coops must be two of the toughest midfielders in the Conference. Billy Turley will win over the Diamonds fans I am sure. For the second half when he had to stand in front of 1000 Cobblers fans giving him hell, he just kissed his Diamonds jersey and got on with the game. Diamonds now travel to Aldershot on Tuesday, and maybe this will give Brian Talbot a chance to play around with his team and bring in some of the players who have yet to have a full run-out, and those coming back from injury.

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