Rushden & Diamonds 5 Kidderminster Harriers 3

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

21st August 1999 –  Nene Park (Attendance 2728)

Rushden Team : Turley, Brady, Bradshaw, Peters, Warburton, Cooper, Butterworth, McElhatton, Town, Sale, Underwood. Substitutes West, De Souza, Bertocchi, Mison, Wooding.

Kidderminster Team : Brock, Hinton, King, Webb, Brownrigg, Smith, Collins, Petersen, Taylor, Foster, Skovbjerg.

Diamonds Scorers: Peters 21 mins, Cooper (Pen) 35 mins, McElhatton 39 mins and 45 mins, Underwood 88 mins.

Webmasters MoM: Michael McElhatton

Diamonds first two games of the season had lacked inspiration, but today they took on Kidderminster on a bright sunny day determined to silence some of the critics who have written off any promotion challenge this season after only two games! Brian Talbot had been brave in changing his team to a more attack minded team, bringing in Jon Brady and Mark Sale, as well as welcoming Razor Warburton back after a long injury lay off. Yet Diamonds got off to a nightmare start. A very tentative opening few minutes from Diamonds saw the first five minutes going to Kiddy, pushing Diamonds back and attacking down the Diamonds right. Kiddy had a chance to take the lead after only one minute, but blasted a shot over the bar. On six minutes Diamonds pushed forward and a run from Town saw him felled just outside the area, but the resultant free kick from Cooper was charged down and Sale was unable to get a shot in from the rebound. Kiddy broke away quick, down the right, put Diamonds under pressure and they were forced to concede a corner. King of Kidderminster took the corner, and somehow it managed to go actoss the goal, without anyone seeming to get a touch, and into the net. ( If I saw it wrong then please let me know). Diamonds were stunned, and the next 5 minutes belonged to Kiddy, with Molby screaming instructions from the touchline to his players. On 13 minutes David Town got on the end of a flick down from Mark Sale but shot weakly at the keeper, a half chance missed. The first 20 minutes saw Diamonds resorting to long range efforts, and not particularly good one’s at that! But on 21 minutes the game turned Diamonds way – and how! A corner on the right was whipped dangerously into the box, found Peters running in and the scores are level. On 23 minutes Diamonds could have taken the lead, a long ball upfield from Turley, found both Macca and Towner bearing down on the keeper. Macca looked to be in the best position to shoot, but left it for Towner who blasted hard and wide. Diamonds pressure was paying, and on 25 minutes Sale came close heading on to the crossbar after a great ball in from Unders. Peters had a chance on 27 minutes but failed to connect properly with his head, the keeper saving easily. Mark Cooper picked up a booking on 34 minutes not for the trip he committed but from what appears to be something he said to the referee afterwards. The on 35 minutes Diamonds took control, Town clear through on goal only the keeper to beat and he was brought down. Inconsistence from the referee and only a yellow card to the offending player, but justice was done as Coops calmly tucked away the penalty. Diamonds then ran riot, on 39 minutes a great cross into the box, Kiddy looking for offside and Macca directed his header just inside the post. On 45 minutes the way opened up for the marauding Butterworth pushing through the middle. He slid a great ball through for Jon Brady who who unselfishly pulled the ball back for Macca to pick up his second goal of the game. I am not so sure that the Jon Brady of last season would have been so un-selfish, I think we saw a more determined, mature performance from Brady this afternoon. He was obviously a man with something to prove.

Diamonds then 4-1 up at half time and cruising, but then we all know what to expect after the break and we were right – much to our disappointment. Kiddy hit back with two goals in 6 minutes, one straight from the restart almost. There were however very classy goals which I doubt Turley could have done too much about, however I am sure the defenders will be upset with themselves for allowing so much space. Diamonds kept their heads, fought off the inevitable pressure from Kiddy, and went close to extending their lead on 61 minutes, another header from Macca. Jon Brady hit a free kick just over the bar on 65 minutes and he also shot just wide on 68 minutes after being sent clear by Macca. Cooper went close with a rocket shot on 73 minutes, shortly after Town and Sale had been substituted by De Souza and West. Underwood got booked on 76 minutes, mistakenly by the referee who should have booked Butterworth, who had been booked earlier and would have been off. Then almost immediately a late tackle left Unders in a heap on the touchline and off went the number 8 Petersen for an early bath, having been previously booked in the first half. Kidderminster then had a free header on 82 minutes to square the match, but the header sailed high over the Diamonds bar. Then on 88 minutes a moment of magic. Jon Brady again wide on the right put over a magnificent cross straight on to the head of the incoming Underwood whose header rocketed past the keeper and into the back of the net – a glorious goal. The final score then 5-3 to Diamonds, applauded off at the end by the happy crowd.

Performances of note then, Macca absolutely superb, covering every blade of grass, so determined and hard working. Just behind him in my opinion for Man of the Match was Jon Brady and Paul Underwood. Brady in particular for me has had a troublesome period since Ireland, but has knuckled down and worked his way back into favour and into the team. I thought he was excellent today and showed great confidence. Town and Sale upfront worked hard, Sale won everything in the air and had a good game. Town maybe a little disappointing today as his first touch seemed to let him down. But he was still very quick, caused problems, and had a couple of chances to get on the scoresheet. The midfield and defence worked hard, Razor, Rhino and Brads look a very formidable force to be reckoned with. In my opinion they will be disappointed with conceding three, but the second and third goals were very classy. Billy Turley had little to do other than pick the ball out of the net, but he was commanding in his area and his distribution especially to the wing backs was superb. Razor came through his first 90 minutes extremely well and the match will have done him the power of good.

BT still has some work to do upfront, and the defence will need a bit of reassurance in training during the week, but the lads now go forward to Sutton next week full of confidence, with a fully fit squad, and the first win of the season under their belts.

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