Yeovil Town 5 Rushden & Diamonds 1

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

13th November 1999 – Huish Park (Attendance: 2180)

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

Diamonds Scorers: Underwood 45 mins.

Webmasters MoM: Underwood

Diamonds arrived at Huish Park knowing that a win would take them two points clear at the top, and a defeat would bring Yeovil up as serious title contenders tucked nicely in behind Diamonds, Kingstonian and the new leaders Nuneaton Borough. The preparations for this game had gone well, the players had had a light training session in the morning and seemed keen to do well. But the saying goes “the best laid plans of mice and men” and Diamonds were in for a shock.

Brian Talbot made one change to his regular team, in came Jim Rodwell to cope with Wazza. On the bench Michael Mison was preferred to Mark Sale, Smudger came in for the injured Bertocci, and Tim Wooding replaced Jim Rodwell.

Diamonds game plan was thrown into confusion after just one minute. Yeovil forced a corner with their first attack of the game. The corner was placed superbly into the box, straight on to the head of Sciverton, the No4, and Turley could only help the ball into the net. Slack marking, hesitant keeping, whatever the reason Diamonds were now up against it. Yeovil were looking sharp, picking up every loose ball, and crossing at ease into the penalty area. Jim Rodwell was forced to make a tackle and clear for a corner just three minutes later as the Diamonds defence was in disarray. Diamonds had their first corner after 9 minutes, Brady took it and Rodwell forced the ball into the net but was given as offside. From here on in Yeovil were in command. Diamonds had a few half chances in the first half – on 12 minutes De Souza flicked on for Collins but the keeper gathered, De Souza headed over after 32 minutes, a Collins flick through for Macca on 37 minutes – Macca given offside, an an Unders free-kick taken too quickly – but it was Yeovil who were the most adventurous and dangerous. They battled, won all of the loose and second ball, played the ball well out of defence, and Patmore held everything up superbly then sprayed lay off passes around at will. Diamonds were giving away possession much too easily, looked disjointed, lacked passion – indeed were very poor. Yeovil increased their lead just before half time. Turley came for a cross this time but failed to collect leaving an easy headed chance for Sciverton to get his second goal. But Diamonds were handed a lifeline with just seconds remaining of the first half. They were awarded a free-kick just outside the box. Brady passed square for Butterworth who then flashed the ball out left to Unders who cut into the box and fired well past the keeper. A superb goal and the only plus for Diamonds in that first half performance. Mark Peters had also been booked on 34 minutes for a deliberate hand ball when on the floor.

So Diamonds pulling a goal back, back into the game, and for the first five minutes of the second half spirits were high. This was probably Diamonds best spell in the game. BT had brought Mills and Cramman on for Rodwell and Hamsher in an attempt to spark some life into a lack lustre Diamonds performance, and for the first five minutes it appeared to be working. On 8 minutes Unders put a high cross into the box for Collins to challenge the keeper for, the ball fell loose but the keeper gathered with no Diamonds player coming in for the second ball. Yeovil then went straight up the other end and scored their third. Turley missed a far post cross and the ball was stabbed home. Fifteen minutes into the second half and Diamonds should have been down to ten men – Turley bringing down a Yeovil player who was clear through on goal. He was lucky to get away with just a yellow. A few minutes later Diamonds had a rare sortie into the Yeovil half. Brady put a ball into the box for De Souza to challenge for and he won a corner. The corner was lifted into the box, half cleared and the ball fell for Macca whose shot on the turn was instinctively saved by the keeper and pushed clear. Yeovil added their fourth 23 minutes into the second half when a deep cross found Turley stretching, he managed a finger on the ball but tipped it onto the crossbar and not over it with the rebound falling nicely for the poaching Yeovil player unchallenged on the line. Three minutes later came the best goal of the game, a flick on by Patmore I think, and a shot on the run from Ben Smith scorched past Turley into the net. So Diamonds were dead and buried, but to their credit they still tried to play. Mison came on for Collins and Diamonds pushed forward again. Macca had a shot on goal saved on 72 minutes and a minute later he was looking for a penalty when tripped in the box. De Souza won a corner on 76 minutes but Peters and Warburton both rose for the same ball and got in each others way. Diamonds continued to play the hopeful long ball to De Souza, who worked tirelessly but ran the front line very much on his own and lacking support. Butterworth hit a volley late in the game that went wide and on 84 minutes a header from Razor was tipped round the post with a great save from the keeper. Diamonds humiliation ended with 5 minutes of injury time being added.

It was party time at Huish for the home fans with a well deserved win. One question though: Why the over the top celebrations though when they score – coming onto the pitch and giving the stewards a hard time after every goal. According to the stewards its a regular occurrence! And they don’t get thrown out – remember up at Scarborough with one of our fans? Anyway well done Yeovil, a thoroughly deserved victory but a shame about some of the unpleasant “incidents” after the game.

As for Diamonds, not the end of the world being one point off the lead but a golden opportunity missed. Attention now turns to the FA Cup and a team called Ilkeston Town.

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