Hayes 0 Rushden & Diamonds 5

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

4th December 1999 – Church Road (Attendance: 901)

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

Diamonds Scorers: Brady 20 mins, Town 48 mins, 65 mins, Warburton 77mins, De Souza 90 mins.

Webmasters MoM: Town

Sticking to a 4-4-2 formation Diamonds ripped Hayes apart at Church Road this afternoon. Brian Talbot made only one change from the team that beat Ilkeston in the FA Cup last Tuesday, bringing Matty Stowell in for Andy Burgess. Hayes are a difficult team to beat, as they showed up at Nene Park earlier in the season, but they were no match for a rampant Diamonds team, eager to get a win in the Conference under their belts after their recent foray in the various Cup competitions.

Diamonds could have gone ahead as early as the second minute, when a weaving David Town run ended with a weakly hit shot that drifted past the post. As early as the fifth minute Diamonds picked up their first booking of the game, Butterworth falling foul of the referee for a two footed tackle that now leaves him with a one match suspension for the game at Telford in two weeks time. On 6 minutes we were given a hint of Diamonds intentions, as great interplay created a half chance for Wooding from 25 yards but his block-buster went just wide of the keepers right hand post. The first ten minutes of the game saw some beautiful passing around the park from Diamonds, that was to continue for a large part of the game. Diamonds were first to every ball, tackling was sharp, and the balls to the forwards were crisp and penetrating. From a Brady corner on 12 minutes Rodwell was unlucky to see his header just clear the bar. Brady was next in the book for supposedly diving under threat of a challenge. But on 20 minutes he replied in the best possible way, Collins on the left flicked on to Unders in the box, the ball was laid back and there was Brady to lash it into the net from 8 yards. Diamonds were fizzing and Macca almost increased their lead on 23 minutes but his shot was deflected for a corner. The only thing that Turley had to do was save at the feet of Charles after 37 minutes as a momentary lapse of concentration in the defence almost cost Diamonds dearly. Then just before half time another crashing effort from Brady smashed against the upright and rebounded to safety. So half time came with Diamonds well in control but only the single goal in front when possibly they could count themselves unlucky not to be three ahead.

The second half sprung to life early, Town picking up a clearance after three minutes, just inside his own half. He sprinted towards the Hayes goal, defenders backed of, he drove into the penalty area avoiding two challenges, found a bit of space, beat the keeper pushing the ball wide to the right and swept the ball into the net. A magnificent goal. Hayes for a while were stung into life and Turley watched on 12 minutes as a shot rebounded just wide of his left hand post. On 61 minutes a Warburton header from a Rodwell free-kick shaved the upright. A long range effort from Macca just a few minutes later had the keeper stranded, but the shot dipped over the crossbar. Diamonds went further ahead on 65 minutes, a second goal from Town. A superb pass over the defence into space found Town bearing down on goal, he ran onto the pass and blasted an unstoppable shot into the net. The game was now well won, but Diamonds continued to push forward with ease. Warburton, suffering with a pull but refusing to come off the pitch took Diamonds tally to four with a powerful header, latching on to a superb Town cross from the far left. Thirty four minutes into the half BT brought on Heggs and Peters for Razor and Collins, who pulled a hamstring. Within a minute of coming on Heggs was forced to shoot just wide, being put under pressure from a strong challenge. On 811 minutes De Souza came on for the tiring Town. From a Brady corner on 82 minutes Mark Peters headed a fraction over. The 350ish Diamonds fans were sent home in high spirits as right at the death De Souza added Diamonds fifth, Heggs shot blocked, the rebound fell to Wooding who lashed a cross/shot into the box which fell for De Souza two yards out and his mis-hit shot looped over the keeper and into the far corner of the net. So a great end to a freezing cold day in Hayes.

This performance will give Diamonds great heart in their preparation for the trip to Bramall lane next Sunday. It also put Diamonds into second place in the table, one point behind Yeovil but with a game in hand. Diamonds next game in the Conference is a real test, away to in-form Telford United.

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