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.

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