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!


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