Kettering Town 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

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

14th September 1999 – Rockingham Road (Attendance 3744)

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

Diamonds Scorer: De Souza 7 minutes

Webmasters MoM: Gary Butterworth

Diamonds needed to bounce back quickly from their weekend defeat, and keep the pressure on the chasing pack at the top of the table, and a game at Rockingham Road is always going to be difficult. Tonight was no exception. Conditions were poor – rain making the pitch very slippery – so tackling was going to be difficult, and defending a nightmare.

Diamonds had a dream start, seeing through the early Poppies pressure, and then taking the lead themselves after only seven minutes. A great ball in from Brady, Mison rose and got in a great header that hit the post. The ball rebounded out to De Souza who steered it home under no pressure. Just two minutes later McElhatton had a half chance, after great work again from Mison created space, but he shot wide of the goal. Diamonds had their first scare, yet another self inflicted, when a speculative shot from 25 yards, albeit low , caught out Turley and the ball slipped through his hand just the right side of the post as far as Diamonds were concerned.

Diamonds picked up their first booking on 17 minutes, with Peters going into the book for a body check. Mison had a half chance on 19 minutes but the keeper was quick out of his area to clear the danger with Mison bearing down on him. De Souza also had a chance to increase Diamonds lead just minutes later but shot wide of the goal. Kettering now started to push forward more, without causing the Diamonds defence too much trouble, and had De Souza not got in the way of a Macca strike, the ball hitting his back, Diamonds could have increased their lead.

Then luck ran out for Diamonds, Brady booked for a trip, the ball pumped into the Diamonds area, and there is stayed for what seemed ages – bobbling around, unable to be cleanly cleared, and the next thing the referee blows for a penalty. I could not see what it was for, though some Kettering fans suggested they thought the referee signalled a handball. Anyway the resultant shot was tucked under Turley and Kettering were level. Both teams then seemed to shut up shop for the half, not wanting to give away another goal, and apart from De Souza being booked the half ground to a halt.

Within second of the second half starting Mison went into the book for a tackle from behind. Kettering had also had players booked, but this was not a dirty game more the conditions contributing to some late tackles on both sides – Kettering also having I believe three players booked in the game. De Souza had another half chance just six minutes into the half but the referee adjudged him to have pushed so stopped play with De Souza just about to shoot on goal. A lot of Diamonds brightest play was originating from Brady and Underwoods work on the flanks. Too often the ball out from midfield and defence was overhit in the conditions, running through directly to the keeper.

On 12 minutes Sollitt in goal pulled of a magnificent reflex save to deny De Souza a superb header, and just minutes later a quick clearance by Turley, to De Souza, flicked on to the overlapping Macca, whose shot unfortunately buried itself in the side netting. Kettering Towns first shot of the second half did not come until 23 minutes in to the half, putting Turley under little pressure. Butterworth crashed one of his specials high and wide after 70 minutes and from this point on the game started to fizzle out with the midfield tussle taking over again. Then right at the death, Diamonds almost sneaked the deserved three points when Rodwell rose majestically above his markers to head goalwards, only to see his header cannon off the crossbar, and the rebound was hastily cleared by the Poppies defence.

So not all three points that we would have wished, but a much better performance from Diamonds. With lady luck not with us at the moment the ball is not going into the net as often as we would like. The front men still obviously need sorting out, and I am sure this will be Brian Talbot’s priority in training. Diamonds now move on to a home game on Saturday against Southport, and hopefully three points in Brian Talbots quest for 28 points from the first third of the season. The team are going to have to get a winning run together now, so lets hope we start on Saturday before a run of difficult away games at Hednesford, Hereford, and Altrincham.

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