Hereford United 4 Rushden & Diamonds 0

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

28th September 1999 – Edgar Street (Attendance 1724)

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

Webmasters MoM: Paul Underwood

Diamonds came to Edgar Street knowing that a win would take them top of the table for the first time this season. Unfortunately it was not to be, as Hereford inflicted Diamonds worst defeat since losing at home to Gateshead three seasons ago by the same score. The scoreline would indicate that Diamonds were played off the park – this was certainly not the case.

Diamonds pushed the self destruct button as early as the second minute, in a fashion similar to Hednesford last Saturday. This time a corner from the Hereford left , deep into the area, found a Bulls player who had lost his marker and his header was clinically placed past the keeper. Diamonds took a while to settle down after this shock, and for the next ten minutes created no real chance of their own to level the scores. In fact on 10 minutes Razor lost his footing on the slippery surface and it was only a good save by Turley that kept the deficit to just one goal. On 13 minutes Diamonds had their first chance, albeit a half chance. A flick by Macca from an Unders cross was saved by the keeper at his near post. Diamonds first real chance came on 17 minutes as they started to play the ball about and put pressure on the Hereford defence. Underwood crossed deep into the box, the keeper fumbled and though the ball fell to Mison, he was just unable to stretch and make a clean contact and the ball ended up going the wrong side of the post.

Then came one of Diamonds best moments of the game, Collins found himself through but while cutting back across the box he was tripped. Up stepped Unders to curl a beautiful free kick round the wall, and with the keeper beaten the ball bounced off the inside of the post and spun across the face of the goal and clear. Hereford had a half chance themselves on 33 minutes when a poor clearance from the Diamonds defence fell to a Bulls player on the edge of the box but he blasted high and wide. Then on 38 minutes Mison picked up a loose ball on the edge of the Bulls box, dribbled into the area, past four players, got the ball to the bye-line and cut it back to Collins in at the near post but he stabbed the ball agonisingly just past the upright. A glorious chance wasted. Turley was called upon on 45 minutes to tip a cross/shot from wide on the left over his crossbar to give Diamonds some hope going in to half time to pull back the goal.

The second half started in a continuing vein, Diamonds pushing forward for the equalizer but looking suspect to Hereford hitting on the break. On 55 minutes Turley again made a save tipping a rasping header over the bar for a corner.On 59 minutes Razor was booked for kicking the ball away having a free-kick given against him. Then in a ten minute spell it all turned sour for Diamonds. On 60 minutes another cross into the box saw a lone striker rise un-challenged for Herefords second, another well executed goal but terribly slack marking. Macca had a chance to claw a goal back almost immediately but his shot was deflected for a corner when it looked certain to be in the net.

Then on 63 minutes a long ball over the top found both Razor and Rhino chasing back to clear from a chasing Bulls forward. Rhinos header back to Turley was not strong enough, and the forward intercepted and put a sweet ball past the outrushing Turley for Herefords third. Brady was then booked on 65 minutes as Diamonds stepped up the pace but the match was already lost. Brian Talbot brought Heggs and Hamsher on for Collins and Butterworth on 65 minutes, but just 3 minutes later Hereford made it four, terrible defending again and another beautifully taken Hereford goal, flicked over the advancing Turley who stood no chance with his defence floundering in front of him.

If anything good can come out of a game such as this it was the fact that at no time did this team lay down and roll over. Even after the fourth goal they continued to play the ball about, pushing forward, urged on by the still singing Diamonds supporters behind the goal. On 73 minutes Hamsher shot over just getting on the end of a Brady cross, and two minutes later good work by Heggs out on the right gave De Souza a chance in the box but his shot was blocked. On 75 minutes Cooper replaced McElhatton. Still the half chances came Diamonds way, Mison having a header saved on 81 minutes, and on 83 minutes a goalmouth scramble in the Hereford box but the bobbling ball would just not fall kindly to a Diamonds player. Diamonds had a shot cleared off the line by a Hereford defender on 85 minutes – the ball was just not running for Diamonds tonight. Then right at the death Turley made another great save to keep the score at 0-4.

So the scoreline not really reflecting the game. Hereford without doubt the better team on the night, they took their chances superbly well, and capitalized on Diamonds defensive slip-ups. Diamonds on the other hand had chances, and had they gone in all square at half time maybe it would have been a different game. Underwood worked tirelessly and was the most skilful player out on the pitch tonight. De Souza worked his socks off and put in another workmanlike performance and was very quick. The defence seemed to lack pace tonight, but with the ball zipping about on the slippery surface that was highlighted with all four goals coming from defensive slip-ups. Turley in goal kept the scoreline down with some superb saves, having no chance with at least three of the goals. Mison upfront worked tirelessly and showed great skill in patches, and held up the ball superbly well. But the Collins runs, turning the defence, running at them, were not there tonight – and we must take chances when they come. I am sure that over the next few days in training the lads will be working on their set-pieces, but if we bounce back on Saturday at Altrincham I am sure that six points from these three away games will still be a handy total to take into October. What we need is to get some consistency in our performances and get a small run going. It will come and lets hope it starts next Saturday.

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