Sutton United 0 Rushden & Diamonds 4

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

28th August 1999 – Gander Green Lane (Attendance 1090)

Rushden Team : Turley, Brady, Bradshaw, Peters, Warburton, Cooper, Butterworth, McElhatton, Collins, Sale, Underwood. Substitutes West, Wooding, Smith, Mills, Town.

Diamonds Scorers: Collins (2), McElhatton, West

Webmasters MoM: Darren Collins

This turned out to be a very comfortable victory for Diamonds, and their first three away points of the season. Brian Talbot decided to drop David Town to the bench and bring in Darren Collins and Mark Sale as the strike force, and it certainly paid off.

In the first five minutes of the game Diamonds showed their intention, lofting high balls upfront to Sale to knock down for Collins, and twice it nearly came off as Collins streaked through only to be given offside. For a short spell Sutton tried to push forward and actually pegged Diamonds back in their own half, but this pressure was short lived and the centre backs and midfield started to control the game, and from here on Diamonds never looked back. Diamonds nearly took the lead on 16 minutes as a free kick from Bradshaw was headed on by Sale, headed on again by Collins to McElhatton racing in to the box. He stretched to get in a shot from about three yards but the ball lifted and cleared the crossbar. On 19 minutes McElhatton tried and overhead kick , but this was easily saved by the keeper. Diamonds took the lead on 20 minutes when a free kick taken by Warburton was headed down by Sale, the ball fell loose to Collins who cleanly tucked the ball side foot into the net.

McElhatton nearly increased the lead on 24 minutes when his shot was saved by the keeper and only one minute later Mark Cooper had a shot fly just wide of the keepers left hand post. On 27 minutes Sale was through but the out rushing keeper managed to turn his shot away for a corner. It was 37 minutes before Sutton had their first shot at goal which indicates Diamonds domination of the half. Cooper was booked on 39 minutes for diving in the box, and from a resultant corner Warburton rose unchallenged in the box only to head over the bar. Then on 41 minutes Diamonds increased their lead – A free kick was about to be taken over on the near touchline by Brady. Up raced Talbot, issued some instructions, Brady passed short to McElhatton, took the return and whipped in a delightful cross right on to the head of Collins and Diamonds were two up and cruising.

The second half continued in pretty much the same vein. Sutton pushed forward early on but never really looked threatening.A great cross in from Underwood saw Cooper unmarked but his attempt at a header, albeit a low cross, was pretty poor by his normal standard and did not trouble the keeper . Underwood’s crosses were constantly putting the Sutton defence under pressure. On 68 minutes great work from Cooper set up Brady but his shot from the right hand edge of the area was high and wide.

Thirty minutes into the half and Mark Sale was replaced by Colin West, and Diamonds lost no time at all in increasing their lead. On 84 minutes Collins was put clear through out on the near touchline, he whipped in a great cross, which fell just right for West and he fired hard into the goal. Sutton then tried to salvage some pride and on 86 minutes Turley was forced to pull out another of his magnificent saves. (Watch out for the video clip). On 88 minutes Gary Mills made his 1st Team debut in the Conference replacing Mark Cooper and still Diamonds pressed forward. McElhatton grabbed Diamonds fourth right near the end again after great work from Collins to set him up. Wooding then came on for Underwood who had a touch of cramp, and Collins nearly bagged his hatrick just before the final whistle but the keeper denied him with a good save.

So a great result, Diamonds looking good in all departments, especially Bradshaw, Warburton and Peters who won everything. Butts had another great game, though Mark Cooper did not seem to play with his normal bite. Upfront Darren ran the show, and in goal Turley was king – though some of his clearance kicking was a bit suspect at times. Brady and Underwood worked hard, and seeing Brady jumping higher than the big Ekoku was an amusing sight. But we must not get too carried away with this result – Sutton were poor, very poor and unless there are significant changes then it looks like being a long hard winter in store for them. Lets wish them luck anyway!

Brian Talbot heaped loads of praise on the Diamonds supporters after the game, and his comments in full will be printed on the website tomorrow..

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