Rushden & Diamonds 3 Ilkeston Town 0

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

FA Cup Second Round Replay

30th November 1999 –Nene Park

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

Diamonds Scorers: Wooding 2 mins, Town 17 mins, Collins 86 mins

Webmasters MoM:  Butterworth

Brian Talbot made a brave move tonight, surprising everyone by bringing into the team young Andy Burgess and the fans favourite David Town. The line-up certainly had an attacking flavour to it, but too often brave moves like this can upset the balance and backfire. No such chance in this game, as Diamonds were inspiring in the way that they eased through into the next round of the FA Cup, and a tie away to Sheffield United.

Diamonds had a dream start, attacking from the whistle slick movement down the right from Brady who put a great cross into the box, a flick on from Collins and there was the in-rushing Tim Wooding to head home. Ilkeston did not let their heads go down and battled strongly to get back into the game. Billy Turley was called upon to make a save, low down, after eight minutes as Hemmings danced his way round Wooding and Rodwell to get in a good shot. A couple of minutes later Unders crossed deep into the box to Brady. With the ball hanging in the air Brady challenged, the keeper lost the ball, but there was no-one coming in to pick up the loose ball and it was cleared. Just seconds later it was Butts trying his luck with a blockbuster from 30 yards that was well held by the keeper. Ilkeston looked dangerous every time that Hemmings got the ball but tonight it was Rodwell and Warburton that won everything thrown in the air towards Helliwell. On 17 minutes we were graced with a second goal of pure elegance. David Town picked up the ball outside the area, dummied past two players, cut inside and placed a superb shot past the keeper and into the corner of the net – pure magic that he had threatened to do in all of his previous outings. Unfortunately for Ilkeston, with the game slipping away from them, they started to resort to strong-arm tactics – trying to bully their way back into the game. On 19 minutes Eshelby was booked for a disgusting tackle on Unders, and Hemmings followed him into the book for arguing. On 20 minutes Collins flicked on to Macca who put in a great deep cross but Burgess was just beaten to it by the defender, and then Town was put through but the keeper saved. Diamonds were attacking in waves, Ilkeston having to defend deep as Diamonds pushed up the field. Unders had a 25 yarder rise just over the cross-bar on 23 minutes with the keeper well beaten and on 29 minutes a half chance fell to Towny but he mis-hit completely. Razor had a chance to increase the Diamonds lead on 34 minutes with one of his “specials” but the keeper saved well from the header. Just before half time Butss burst through into the box, swapping passes, but the ball was eventually flicked off the head of Macca with the goal beckoning. Diamonds continued to push forward and Ilkeston just continued to push – mainly in the back of the Diamonds players. Diamonds went in at half time well on top, but there was always the sneaky feeling that Ilkeston could nick a goal back if concentration was lost at the back.

Ilkeston came out of the traps running in the second half. The first five minutes they managed to get Diamonds on the back foot and it looked like they may have been awarded a penalty as there appeared to be a hand-ball in the area just a couple of minutes into the half, but it was not seen by the referee. Diamonds then settled and got back into playing their game. They pushed forward solid for the next ten minutes, with Town through on 55 minutes but adjudged to be offside. Razor was called upon to clear off his line from under the bar on 64 minutes. From the clearance Diamonds broke quickly upfield, the ball was splayed about and Brady was left with a difficult shot which unfortunately he hit high over the crossbar. Again the next seven or so minutes was incessant pressure from Diamonds with Ilkeston looking dangerous on the break with Hemmings. They had a corner on 73 minutes that sailed just over the bar and a shot from just outside the area that caught Turley unsighted but slid away just outside the post. On 82 minutes Heggs came on for Town, who received a great ovation from the Diamonds crowd. With Heggs finding a lot of space with his trickery it was not long before he linked up with Collins and started to cause panic in the Ilkeston defence. Collins hit the post on 83 minutes after great work from Brady. Turley pulled off a magnificent point blank save on 85 minutes but the tie was now won and Ilkeston were tiring. On 86 minutes Andy Burgess, who was always willing to run at the defence, shimmied and shot past the keeper but the ball rebounded off the crossbar and Collins was unable to tuck the rebound away, instead hitting the keeper with the shot. But Collins continued to battle for a goal and it came on 86 minutes, great work from Heggs, who cut the ball back un-selfishly for Collins to stroke home.

So the end to a great evening. A typically hard Cup Tie, a game that had everything – goals, great play oh and I nearly forgot 10 ( I may be wrong but I lost count) Ilkeston bookings, an Ilkeston player sent off, and their manager also sent off! All of that in a game that was not a particularly dirty game. The sending off of Knapper was strange as he just appeared to run into and trip the referee. Their manager continued to argue with the referee for ages with the game having to be stopped – he was then escorted away by Diamonds stewards. A great game for all Diamonds fans. Ilkeston brought about 750 fans into the Airwair and I think for the main part they were magnificent. They never stopped cheering on their side, but their reputation meant that a significant police presence was required. It just shows what a difference good acoustics and all being together in a stand makes to the noise. Now its on to Sheffield in just over a weeks time, and who would bet against Diamonds getting a result against an out of sorts United side. First things first though, lets get a good turnout at Hayes on Saturday as we get back into the swing of the Conference – no Cup hang overs please lads!

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