Rushden & Diamonds 1 Woking 3

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

11th September 1999 – Nene Park

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

Woking Team : Flahavan, Wilkinson, Hollingdale, West, Smith, Danzey, Perkins, Gridelet, Akrour, Hay, Steele.

Diamonds Scorers: Peters 66 minutes

Webmasters MoM: Ray Warburton

Diamonds surrendered their unbeaten home record today at Nene Park thanks to an excellent second half performance from the Cards. But it could have been a different story had half chances that fell to the Diamonds been taken.

Diamonds had their first chance after seven minutes with Darren Collins hitting just wide of the post after good work from Cooper to create the chance. Woking then were denied on ten minutes by a fingertip save from Billy Turley, the shot coming from a well taken free kick from about 25 yards out. Diamonds were having a lot of the ball in midfield but failing to deliver the clinical pass in to the front men. On 12 minutes there was a scramble by the Woking defence to clear the ball from the edge of the penalty area, the loose ball fell to Butterworth whose shot was charged down, and McElhatton blasted the resulting rebound high and wide. Woking were giving notice of their intentions by Akrour and Hay causing concerns every time they had the ball, Akrour in particular pulling the Diamonds defence all over the park.

On 16 minutes Hay got clear of his marker only to be beaten by Turley, quickly out of his area, heading the ball to safety. Diamonds then raced away upfield, Collins put in a wicked cross to the far side of the box and the incoming Brady hit hard and low but saw his shot go just wide of the keeper and unfortunately the post. Woking continued to cause a threat down the left, and on 24 minutes Warburton was skinned but the resulting cross was unable to be met by the incoming Hay and the ball was cleared. Then on 26 minutes Diamonds came closest to scoring. A free kick touched by Cooper to Brady and tee-ed up to Unders whose beautifully placed shot just hit the wrong side of the post and rebounded away to safety.

On 34 minutes a Sale flick on found Collins, but under pressure from a defender he was unable to finish. The last ten minutes of the half were a lot of huffing and puffing with neither team gaining any initiative, so with chances at either end maybe a 0-0 was a fair end to the first half.

The first chance of the second half fell to Woking and it required a great clearance header from Razor to keep the scores level. On 51 minutes Paul Underwood picked up a booking for a late tackle, but though this was a traditionally hard encounter it was never dirty. On 55 minutes the Woking keeper made a great save from Collins after a bit of a scramble in the goalmouth, and Mark Sale was booked in the incident for a touch of pushing.

Then things started to go wrong for Diamonds. On 64 minutes Mark Sale gave away a free kick on the edge of his own box. The free kick was played deep to the far post, up rose Danzey and it was 1-0 to Woking. But it only took Diamonds two minutes to equalize as Mark Peters scrambled the ball into the net through a ruck of players. Unfortunately though the joy was very short lived and Woking regained the lead after a poor defensive display from Diamonds, failing to clear the ball and Woking took full advantage of the hesitancy.

From here on in Woking bossed the game, and Diamonds had a lot of trouble getting possession of the ball . Brian Talbot made substitutions, bringing Brady off and De Souza on, Westy came on for Mark Sale, and Millsy came on for Coops. With Diamonds pushing forward Woking killed off the game with a third goal, excellent build up and superbly executed. They were quick and neat and finished clinically. Macca almost made the score a bit more respectable on 88 minutes with a header than just ran agonisingly just past the post, and then got himself booked at the death for a trip on a Woking player. So a bad result today for Diamonds, but still only five points behind Boro and everything to play for.

This result is going to hit the pride of many Diamonds players, I would not fancy being in Kettering’s shoes on Tuesday when they fight back from this disappointment.

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