Rushden & Diamonds 2 Scunthorpe United 0

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

29th October 1999 – Nene Park (Attendance: 4112)

Rushden Team: Turley, Brady, Bradshaw, Peters, Warburton, Butterworth, McElhatton, Hamsher, De Souza, Collins, Underwood.
Substitutes: Mills, Cramman, Bertocchi, Wooding, Burgess.

Scunthorpe Team: Evans, Harsley, Dawson, Logan, Hope, Walker, Fickling, Hodges, Ipoua, Marcelle, Calvo Garcia.
Substitutes: Hardwick, Sheldon, Bull, Gayle, Stanton.

Diamonds Scorers: Warburton 49 mins, Hamsher 76 mins.

Webmasters MoM: Warburton/Peters ( Cannot split them!)

Diamonds flirtation with the F.A. Cup gathered momentum again tonight in front of millions of Sky TV viewers, and they were treated to an array of attacking, skillful football that did the Conference proud. Scunthorpe came to Nene Park boasting a very skillful side, including Hodges ex-West Ham, Hope – one of the best defenders outside of the Premier, and Guy Ipoua who has gained a superb reputation since failing to agree terms to come to Nene Park and drop out of the League last season. Diamonds players relish these battles to pit their wits against League opposition, and tonight was a superb night for the 4112 fans who decided to watch the game live at Nene Park.

Both teams took a while to settle into any rhythm, the first ten minutes being a struggle for midfield supremacy. For Scunthorpe Marcelle and Ipoua looked skillful on the ball and sharp in their runs, but Brads, Razor and Rhino dealt with anything that came their way. Butts and Macca competed in midfield and gradually Diamonds settled into a team determined to play the ball about, and enjoy the evening. Some of the inter-passing was superb, the tackling sharp and hard, and you began to think that Scunny were not up for the fight tonight. Collins was unlucky not to get on the end of a great Brady pass over the top after 13 minutes, the ball just running too far ahead of Daz off the slippery surface. Daz had a further half chance just minutes later as Unders put in a great cross on to his head, but the header lacked power and the keeper gathered with no problems. Diamonds held their own superbly for the first twenty minutes, no early goals given away, and the confidence was oozing. They were desperately unlucky not to take the lead when Scunthorpe gave away a free kick about 25 yards out. Unders stepped up to take it and swept a peach of a shot round the wall, and hit the post the ball rebounding away to safety. A magnificent free-kick that deserved a goal. Paul Underwood had a quick chance to take advantage of some poor defending when he picked up a rebound on 25 minutes but his hard low shot from the edge of the box was saved well by the keeper. On 32 minutes a Brady was fed by De Souza, his chip into the box fell to Daz but unfortunately again it lacked some power and direction. It was 35 minutes before Scunthorpe managed their first shot on goal, the ball going wide of Turley’s near post. Miquel De Souza hit wide of the goal after 39 minutes after Bradshaw had pushed a long ball out of defence and Brady had flicked on superbly. De Souza had a second chance to make amends just minutes later but blasted high into the Airwair when a pass slipped through to Collins may have been a better option. The only unfortunate episode of the first half was when Darren Bradshaw was forced to go off with an injury, being replaced by Tim Wooding. It is thought that Darren will definitely miss Tuesdays crucial game and could be out for a couple of weeks.

Diamonds came out for the second half and stepped up into a different gear. From the point in the game Scunthorpe were never in with a chance. Diamonds were magnificent in all departments. Diamonds took the lead on 49 minutes. Underwood took a free kick, whipped across to the far side of the box where Razor rushing planted an un-stoppable header into the net. Scunthorpe tried to muster something in return but were faced with the magnificent Peters and Warburton who refused to give them any space, any chance to turn and get in a shot. Tim Wooding who had been thrown into the fray proved as well that he is not just a wing back but can do a great job in defence when asked. Collins had a chance to increase Diamonds lead on 52 minutes but his shot rebounded for John Hamsher who shot just wide of the post, rattling the side netting viciously. Scunthorpe had their best chance of the game so far on 56 minutes when a wicked cross into the box was flicked on but Razor managed to get a head to the ball flicking it out to safety and a corner. The crowd started to sense a victory was now a distinct possibility, there was no settling for the 1-0 win, the Diamonds were continuing to push for a second goal. From the De Banke the chant of ” Brian Talbots Barmy Army” rang out – how long is it since we heard that? Chants of “were going to Wembley” and ” Are you watching Kettrin’ Town” rang out. The party was starting. Brady showed his improved confidence when a poor clearance from the keeper on the edge of his box was hit to Brady way out on the touchline. Seeing the keeper off his line Brady punched the ball back and was unlucky to see it go the wrong side of the post. Scunthorpes pressure was infrequent, but Diamonds showed what a great defending unit they have when they were put under pressure in a rare goalmouth scramble on 61 minutes. The ball bobbled about like a pinball machine but Diamonds tackles were flying in, crunching in, there was a great passion about this display. Collins had a chance on 65 minutes from an Unders cross, but somehow the keeper just beat him to the ball and collected safely. De Souza had a chance on 73 minutes but like Daz was failing to get power behind the headers. Billy Turley was called into action on 75 minutes going down superbly to save at the feet of a Scunny attacker when an equalizer seemed on the cards. He cleared upfield, the ball falling to Macca. The crowd sensed one of Macca’s runs coming on as he swept goalwards. He released a great ball through to Daz who was brought down in the area and a penalty given. Up stepped Mr. Cool – John Hamsher – who slotted away a superb penalty kick and Diamonds were to never look back. Diamonds still pushed on, and Collins was unlucky on 81 minutes as his shot bent just wide of the far post. Turley again saved well on 86 minutes and Bull shot well wide a minute later, but the party had started with Diamonds claiming another league scalp and being first into the hat for the next round of the Cup.

This was a great result, but more importantly a great performance. It also showed the standard of football in the Conference, admittedly not week in week out, but a standard that is continually rising and improving. To try and name a man of the match is almost impossible. Everyone played their part, there were no bad performances. Underwood was magnificent, tormenting throughout, whipping in great crosses and making mazy runs that the Scunthorpe defenders could not cope with. He must have impressed visiting scouts last night! Brady on the right worked tirelessly, winning headers, helping his midfield, distributing great ball. John Hamsher is a tireless runner, has a massive heart and never say die attitude. He has grasped his ticket back into the team with both hands and seems to be loving every minute of it. Razor and Rhino are the ultimate professionals and could make all the difference this season to our promotion bid – they dominate totally. Butts and Macca never put a foot wrong, and its nice to see that Butts is back to his old self. Macca is just a big heart on legs, he never stops, never lacks commitment, our gain and Scarborough’s’ loss. He would grace any Division Three or Two side. Upfront Daz and De Souza created all sorts of problems to the Scunny defence, Darren with his runs and De Souza showing how good he is at holding the ball for support, quick turns and lightening speed. Unfortunately his shots were a bit off target tonight otherwise Scunny would have suffered a bigger defeat.

The big match now is Tuesday night against Nuneaton, the biggest game of the season so far. I am sure as its only 45 minutes up the road that we will take a great following with us, so lets hope we come away with three points. We now need to put the Cup to the back of our minds and regain concentration on the league – I think we all remember what happened last season when the Cup interfered. Well done lads!

Scarborough 0 Rushden & Diamonds 1

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

23rd October 1999 – McCain Stadium (Attendance: 1702)

Rushden Team: Turley, Brady, Bradshaw, Peters, Warburton, Butterworth, McElhatton, Hamsher, Town, Collins, Underwood.
Substitutes: Mills, Burgess, Bertocchi, Wooding, De Souza.

Diamonds Scorers: Collins 21 mins.

Webmasters MoM:

Diamonds travelled up to Scarborough on the Friday knowing that a win the next day at the McCain Stadium would keep them on top of the Conference table whatever happened elsewhere. A walk on the beach in the morning put the players in a great mood to go out and “do the business” in the afternoon. Brian Talbot was able to name an un-changed side, with Andy Burgess earning a place on the bench having fully recovered from the nasty injury suffered in pre-season against Raunds.

Diamonds seem most susceptible early on in the half, first or second, and today was no exception with Scarborough having the first chance of the game after two minutes, a shot on the turn from the edge of the box which flew over Billy Turley’s crossbar. The first corner of the game went to Diamonds after five minutes, but the keeper gathered the resultant kick easily. Chances were looking slim as the game progressed with most of the action being played in midfield, however on 14 minutes John Hamsher fed Collins down the right hand side, Collins cut the ball back for Brady who shot across goal but the keeper did just enough to push the ball wide. Just seven minutes later Diamonds took the lead. David Town had a shot on goal which deflected back to Jon Brady on the edge of the box. Brady shot at goal but the shot was deflected to Collins who slotted the ball calmly past the Scarborough keeper. From here on in the main action continued in midfield as Macca and Butts fought for supremacy with the Scarborough midfield. Late into injury time in the first half Scarborough had their best chance to equalize, a header in front of goal that went just wide of Turley’s right hand post.

The second half started similarly to the first with Scarborough attacking and putting a great cross into the Diamonds box dangerously, but Billy Turley was there to help the ball clear. The first booking of the game came after 55 minutes and went to a Scarborough player for a trip on the elusive Jon Brady. Just five minutes later the Scarborough centre half was stretchered off after a collision in Boro’s penalty area. With Diamonds looking fairly comfortable Brian Talbot was able to make a substitution, young Gary Mills coming on for Butts. David Town had a chance to extend Diamonds lead on 75 minutes when he shot towards goal but the keeper saved well. Diamonds continued to look for the safety cushion of a second goal, with a Jon Brady free-kick after 76 minutes from 25 yards rising just over the bar, and on 82 minutes a shot from Macca from outside the box that went just wide of the post. With seven minutes left Brian Talbot took off David Town who once again had worked tirelessly upfront, and brought on Miquel De Souza for additional pace. Scarborough almost sneaked an equalizer in the last five minutes when on 86 minutes they had a chance with a volley from the edge of the box which fell straight to the reliable Billy Turley, and on 92 minutes a dangerous cross sent in to the Diamonds box was superbly punched away and to safety by Turley. Sandwiched in between these chances was a chance for De Souza who went through on goal, but his shot went agonisingly wide of the far post with the keeper beaten.

So another great three points for Diamonds in their travels, from what on paper would have been one of the hardest venues to come to this season. Next at Nene Park is the distraction from Conference football of the F.A.Cup game against Scunthorpe next Friday evening. A great game is in prospect but I am sure that most Diamonds supporters will be looking a bit further ahead, the following Tuesday in fact, when Diamonds travel up the road to Nuneaton Borough for a top of the table clash of immense importance. Lets hope for a great turnout of support for the Diamonds as was seen at Scarborough today, which was appreciated by Brian Talbot and the players. The support was magnificent and loud throughout the game.

Rushden & Diamonds 4 Sutton United 1

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

FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round

16th October 1999 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2525)

Rushden Team: Turley, Brady, Bradshaw, Peters, Warburton, Butterworth, McElhatton, Hamsher, Town, Collins, Underwood.
Substitutes: Mills, Cramman, Bertocchi, Wooding, De Souza.

Diamonds Scorers: McElhatton (2) 11 and 45 mins, Brady 13 mins and Collins 75 minutes.

Webmasters MoM: Jon Brady

F.A. Cup time again at Nene Park, and how the lads enjoyed themselves this afternoon. They put on a superb show, oozing class to sweep aside a Sutton United team that were one of the current form teams in the Conference. Brian Talbot kept with the same team that beat Kingstonian last weekend, but Miquel De Souza came back from injury to claim a place on the bench.

Diamonds had been given the instruction by BT before the game to avoid a replay, and they came out firing on all cylinders from the start. On 5 minutes a great attack saw Town flying down the right, crossing superbly into the box but no Diamonds player able to get on the end of the cross. Suttons first attack came on 9 minutes and a shot from close range whistled just the right side of Turleys left post. Darren Collins had a great chance to put Diamonds ahead after nine minutes, through on goal from a Brady flicked header the ball was saved at his feet by the out-rushing keeper. Diamonds did not have to wait long to break the deadlock, rattling in two goals in as many minutes. The first saw Town put a great ball out on the right to Brady in acres of space. Out by the corner flag he whipped over a superb cross, right onto the head of Macca loitering in the box. Macca makes no mistake and tucks a great header past the keeper for one nil. Two minutes later Sutton were robbed while trying to clear their lines, the ball was flicked wide to Unders who screamed a cross into the box for Brady to whip home. Diamonds piled on the pressure, incessantly, both flanks being worked and Collins and Town looking dangerous on the run. On 21 minutes Razor flashed a ball wide right to Collins, he turned his defender and passed to Town whose shot was deflected for a corner. Just a minute later Brady laid on a great pass to the overlapping Hamsher whose cross deep into the box was pounced on by Collins and his shot somehow saved by the keeper and turned away for a corner. Turley was not really under any pressure until 32 minutes when he was called upon to block a point blank shot from close range following a lapse of concentration and slack marking from the Diamonds defence. Diamonds continued relentlessly to try and grab more goals. Chances fell to Collins on 33 minutes and 37 minutes. The third goal came right on half time, Town holding the ball up superbly waiting for support, Macca took the ball, ran at the defence and steered the ball wide of the keeper and into the corner of the net.

The second half continued in much the same vein, chances falling for Underwood on 46 minutes – firing wide of the post from 20 yards, Town missing a golden opportunity on 49 minutes after Collins cut the ball back superbly to set him up. But Sutton were allowed to settle, and they had a chance to pull a goal back on 52 minutes putting a header just wide of Turleys post. Sutton pulled a goal back on 53 minutes, a poor clearance and the ball falling nicely for Rowlands who tucked it away from the edge of the box superbly. Underwood though was flying this afternoon, and almost wriggled his way through for a goal on 57 minutes but just failed to get a clean shot in on goal. David Town was booked on 58 minutes for not retreating properly from a free-kick. On 59 minutes Turley was called upon to make a magnificent save at full stretch from a flicked on header, and then on 61 minutes again full stretch to turn away a long range shot for a corner. Diamonds looked at times as though they were trying to walk the ball into the net, they played the ball about the park superbly, almost exhibition stuff at times. On 69 minutes Brady unselfishly pulled the ball back from 6 yards to Town who unfortunately missed the shot completely. A shame really because he works tirelessly upfront, is desperate to score, but at the end of the day will be judged for his place in the team on his goalscoring ability – and its not running right for him at the moment. On 75 minutes though Diamonds grabbed their fourth, Peters putting Darren Collins through, from my view he looked offside but the inconsistent linesman kept the flag down, and Darren brought the ball down superbly and fired past the keeper with power and precision. Diamonds were absolutely cruising, and BT decided to make some substitutions with the job being done. Millsy and De Souza came on for Daz and Butts, and it was only a few minutes before De Souza was unlucky not to make it five as his powerful header on the run from a Town cross was saved somehow by the keeper. Brian Talbot brought on young Michael Berttochi for his debut, replacing Billy Turley on 85 minutes. The final action of the match was a great mazy run from Brady, ending with a shot that just fizzed the wrong side of the far post.

So a great team performance that gets another Cup run underway. There were so many good performances today, Rhino and Brads, Unders and Brady, Macca and Butts, but for my money Brady was outstanding. He took up some great positions, was unafraid to run at defenders, willing to have a shot, and delivered some magnificent crosses. Now its ” Bring on the Scunthorpe” and hopefully another League Scalp will fall at Nene Park.

Rushden & Diamonds 1 Kingstonian 0

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

9th October 1999 – Nene Park (Attendance: 3764)

Rushden Team: Turley, Brady, Bradshaw, Peters, Warburton, Butterworth, McElhatton, Hamsher, Town, Collins, Underwood.
Substitutes: Mills, Cooper, Bertocchi, Wooding, Cramman.

Kingstonian Tam: Farrelly, Mustafa, Luckett, Crossley, Harris, Allan, Patterson, Pitcher, Akuamoah, Marshall, Wingfield.

Diamonds Scorers: Collins 31 mins.

Webmasters MoM: Mark Peters

Diamonds returned to Nene Park after being on their travels for the last three games, knowing that a win would take them top of the table for the first time this season. But Brian Talbot was faced with injury problems, Town and Collins upfront being the only fit strikers in the squad, not even a striker able to be on the substitutes bench. Kingstonian were also lacking the services of ex-Diamond David Leworthy, suspended, who was always a great favourite at Nene Park with the home supporters.

The first half started at a fairly tame pace, with both sides feeling out each others tactics. It was twenty minutes before we even saw a half chance, or attempt on goal. Peters was called upon to make a saving tackle in the box as Kingstonian broke fast through midfield and into attack. Diamonds first attack came a minute later, Darren Collins finding himself through and bearing down on goal but his shot cannoned off a defender and the rebound was blasted back into the box by Underwood whose shot was also blocked. On 23 minutes Diamonds won their first corner of the game. Brady took the corner which found Razor, the ball was flicked on to Town whose shot was saved by the keeper under the crossbar. On 30 minutes the “Ks” had their second chance as a cross found its way right across the box with no-one able to get close enough to touch it goalwards. But on 31 minutes Nene Park erupted as Unders knocked a great ball over the top to Collins in the box, one deft touch and he then un-leashed a terrific shot giving the keeper no chance to even move. This was vintage Collins and you will not see a better taken goal anywhere! Warburton had a great chance to increase Diamonds lead later in the half as he rose to meet a Brady corner, but his header rose high over the bar. Diamonds almost came unstuck right on half time as Mustafa found himself unmarked on the edge of the box with only Turley to beat, but his swerving shot turned just wide of the far post and the angle of the crossbar. So half time came, Diamonds leading one goal to nil and playing some good attractive passing football.

Diamonds knew that the “Ks” would come out of the traps fast to try and pull back the deficit – they were undefeated in eight, a proud record that they were not going to surrender lightly. Collins was unlucky to be given offside when clear through on 46 minutes, a hairline decision from where I was sitting. Diamonds pushed forward and on 49 minutes almost increased their lead. A corner taken by Brady again found Razor climbing high above his markers. His header was hard and downwards, but as it rose it just clipped the crossbar and rebounded to safety. It was ten minutes into the half before Kingstonian had their first shot of the half, but from here on in most of the pressure came from the “Ks”, but poor finishing let them down. On 56 minutes Bradshaw committed a foul right on the edge of the box and in a very central and dangerous position. The kick was shot into the wall, hard and low, it rebounded straight to a Ks forward who thankfully mis-hit his shot wide of the goal. Kingstonian exerted pressure for the next 10 minutes or so, and had a chance from a header in the box go just over the bar. Just a couple of minutes later and a pin-ball game in the Diamonds defence saw Butts attempted clearance cannon off one of his own defenders and force Turley into a save on his line. On 76 minutes Billy Turley was forced to make a point blank save to his right, managing to turn the ball away for a corner. As Kingstonian pushed forward in the latter stages they were always going to run the risk of being caught on the break, and on 84 minutes Unders found himself free and bearing down on goal. With two players waiting for the cross he elected to have a shot but unfortunately he blasted high over the bar. Underwood had a great chance to extend Diamonds lead just minutes later as great work from Brady down by the right corner flag saw him put in a superb cross into the box, but Under’s header could not be directed on goal and it flew wide of the far post. Macca had a half chance on 89 minutes but lacking support upfront with him, he blasted straight at the keeper. In the dying minutes of injury time Kingstonian had one last chance to get their equalizer but indecision in front of goal wasted the chance. From the resulting Diamonds break Collins had a shot on goal blocked, the ball rebounded out for Macca whose hastily hit shot rose up and over the crossbar.

So three points in a hard fought game and Diamonds take over at the top of the table from the “Ks”. Listening to Chapple after the game he thought that if Kingstonian had taken their chances they could have won 4-1. Whilst disagreeing with that viewpoint I think we saw two very strong sides this afternoon, with not too much separating them. Maybe last season Diamonds would have folded under the second half pressure from the “Ks”, but this is a much stronger squad of Diamonds players this season, physically and mentally. Though Macca seemed to be struggling a bit at times today, he and the other midfield players today were superb. Butts in particular first half was magnificent, and Hamsher brought in to do a specific job worked and played his socks off for the team. He threaded some great balls through to David Town upfront, tackled superbly in the middle of the park, and defended when required excellently. What can you say about Rhino and Razor that has not already been said so many times this season – superb again. Considering the two weeks that Rhino has had with the nose operation Monday and the hamstring problem this week he is a true “pro” through and through. Billy did all that was asked of him in goal, Brady and Unders worked tirelessly as did Collins and Town upfront. This was a true workmanlike performance, and a lot of hard work went into it on the pitch today, and on the training pitch during the week. Well done lads and staff!

View a video of this game here.

Altrincham 1 Rushden & Diamonds 2

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

2nd October 1999 – Moss Lane (Attendance: 1114)

Rushden Team: Turley, Brady, Bradshaw, Peters, Warburton, Butterworth, McElhatton, Mills, Town, Collins, Underwood.
Substitutes: Rodwell, Cooper, Bertocchi, Heggs, Cramman.

Altrincham Team: Coburn, Hodson, Adams, Timons, Talbot, Pickering, Gallagher, Trees, Russell, Power, Ellison.

Diamonds Scorers: Town 16 mins, Brady 37 mins.

Webmasters MoM: Paul Underwood

Diamonds continued on their travels, three away games in a week, with a difficult final game against Altrincham. This game even more difficult as it came on the back of a 0-4 result at Hereford just a few days earlier. Brian Talbot had injury problems so had to re-shuffle the team, back came Brads to replace Tim Wooding, in came David Town for Miquel De Souza, and in came 18 year old Gary Mills to replace Michael Mison. On the bench Michael Bertocchi was drafted in to replace Smudger who was also injured. Altrincham , like ourselves, were proving to be inconsistent in their performances and a below par performance today could move them into the bottom three should Diamonds take all three points.

Diamonds came out of the blocks very slow, neither side showing much at all in the first six or seven minutes. The pitch was extremely slippery, in fact the match was in doubt even at ten o’clock that morning. Diamonds first chance came on 8 minutes when a Paul Underwood cross into the box found Collins unmarked but he somehow failed to connect to the ball and the chance had gone. Diamonds though got to grips with the surface and then started to play the ball about. On ten minutes good work down the right between Macca and Collins saw a resulting cross deflected for a corner. The corner was placed deep into the box and the in-rushing Warburton had a free header which ended up wide of the goal. Alty had their first chance of the half on 15 minutes, a header in the box saved low down by Turley. The Alty keeper was having an awful game, not knowing whether to come out or stay back, catch or punch, he was all over the place, and on 16 minutes he was made to pay dearly. Diamonds were awarded a free kick way out on the left which Unders placed in the box. The ball was punched out by the keeper to Mills, twenty yards out. Thinking quickly he lobbed the ball back goalwards over the keeper. The keeper raced back and punched/flapped at the ball which fell invitingly to Town who buried the ball into the net. On 18 minutes Brady went into the referees book for a supposed late tackle, caused more by the conditions I think. On 21 minutes a shot by ex-Diamond Simeon Hodson was deflected over for a corner but Diamonds seemed to be well in control. Any trouble from Alty seemed to stem from the tall Ellison wide on the left. On 24 minutes Brady lifted a shot on goal high and wide from 30 yards, but at least it showed a willingness to have a “pot”. Brady seemed to be involved in everything at this point, putting a great cross in on 34 minutes that was flicked on and ended up just missing the far post. On 37 minutes Diamonds justifiably increased their lead. A free kick was awarded just on the “D”. Brady took the kick but the defenders presumably had not retreated enough so it was requested to be re-taken. Brady made no mistake tucking the ball superbly in to the net to the keepers right. In the closing stages Diamonds nearly increased their lead when Town found himself through but the keeper saved at his feet just inside the box, managing to cling on to the ball at the second attempt. Just before the half time whistle went Macca joined Braids in the book for a late tackle. So the first half ended with Diamonds cruising and looking good for three points, with Alty putting up only scattered resistance, their problems seeming to stem from their keeper.

However in the second half, one wondered if the keepers must have exchanged jerseys, because within a minute it was Diamonds Turley who looked out of sorts gifting Alty a quick goal by fumbling the ball with no pressure or players around him at all, the Alty attacker taking the chance gleefully. Brian Talbots displeasure was there for all to see. But Diamonds almost regained their cushion of a two goal lead immediately as Warburton again missed a free header from a corner on 3 minutes. Just nine minutes into the half Millsy was booked for a late tackle. On 58 minutes Jim Rodwell was called in to action to replace Rhino, who has now got a hamstring problem that will keep him out of action for a while. Alty now sensing a shaky keeper started to pile on the pressure an a header flew just past the upright in a scare for Diamonds. All of a sudden the keepers lapse of concentration was putting Diamonds under un-necessary pressure. On 62 minutes Unders picked up the ball on the half way line and ran at the Alty defence, despite being fouled and held he managed to shake of his pursuers and get in a rasping shot that just rose over the crossbar. It was a run that deserved a goal. On 64 minutes it was Alty who had a great chance to draw level as Brady, back defending in his own box, slipped and allowed a free shot to the Alty attacker who fortunately blasted well wide. A minutes later another chance for Diamonds, great work by Town, and his wicked cross across the goal evaded all of the in running players – defenders and attackers alike. On 75 minutes Coops came on for Millsy who had taken a battering from the much stronger, physically, players of Alty. From here on in it was all Diamonds, with the Alty keeper – so poor in the first half – pulling off a string of magnificent saves. On 76 minutes a Brady free-kick was headed over the bar by the unmarked Macca. On 77 minutes Diamonds nearly went ahead thanks to a bad back-pass from an Alty defender that the keeper managed to save well. On 85 minutes a Collins header, just the faintest of touches, went wide. Then with the pressure mounting still great work down the right by Town, a flick on by Macca and Coops almost scored but the keeper saved. A minute later Collins found himself through one on one with the keeper who again denied him a goal. Cooper managed to rob a defender just outside the Alty box on 89 minutes but his shot on goal was just wide of the post with the keeper beaten. The final chance of the game also went Diamonds way, Collins cutting the ball back on 90 minutes for David Town to crack in a great shot which again was saved by the keeper.

So a good performance, three points, and a move up to second place in the table. I think we all know that we can play better than this, but six points from these three away games is very satisfactory. The problem for Diamonds at this point is now injuries, with Peters, Mison, De Souza, Sale, Smith, Berry and Wooding all injured. There are some difficulties in putting out a strong team at St Albans on Wednesday, so its likely that BT and Jeff Vetere will take along their boots, along with a couple of our schoolboy players. Everything is now gearing up for the biggest game of the season next Saturday against the “K’s”. BT has praised the away support again, but I think a special mention should also be made to the Alty supporters and Officials who made us all very welcome – even the burgers were pretty good! We will return the compliment when you visit Nene Park later in the season.

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