Bath City 1 Rushden & Diamonds 2

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

FA Trophy 3rd Round

15th January 2000 – Twerton Park (Attendance: 2034)

Rushden Team: Turley, Brady, Wooding, Rodwell, Warburton, Stowell, McElhatton, Butterworth, Collins, De Souza, Underwood.
Substitutes: Mills, Aldridge, Burgess, Smith, Peters.

Diamonds Scorers: Collins 68 mins, Aldridge 75 mins.

Webmasters MoM: Ignoring the Bath Goal Mishap – Billy Turley

Diamonds came out of the tunnel to the tune “New York, New York” over the Bath tannoy system, not very original and I am sure this spurred the side on to be the first team this season to win at Bath City. Brian Talbot kept the same team as drew at Stevenage, but brought Mark Peters back from injury to sit on the bench next to new boy Martin Aldridge who has been banging them in for the reserves since his loan spell began a few weeks ago. Aldridge who has scored goals at all levels with ease was to have a magical debut, but lets look at the first 45 minutes.

Diamonds started very brightly and the first five minutes was all Diamonds. Long range shots from Brady and Butterworth were well wide but the build up play was slick and impressive. On seven minutes Stowell cleared from defence to Collins who swivelled and put Migs through in a one on one with the advancing keeper – unfortunately though the linesman’s flag was raised and he was adjudged offside. On 15 minutes Jim Rodwell became the first Diamonds player to go into the referees book for kicking the ball away when a free kick had been awarded. There then followed an almighty scramble in the Diamonds goalmouth for Bath City and their first attack of the game, and they should really have scored but eventually the ball ricocheted over the bar for a corner. Darren Collins had a half chance to tuck away a flicked header on 20 minutes but under pressure he headed wide of the upright. Then Bath City took the lead against the run of play, when a mix up in the Diamonds defence – caused by a Bath player coming back from an offside position – saw Paul find himself in a shooting position and with Turley too far off his line in no-mans land he lofted the ball superbly into the empty goal. A superbly taken goal but this must go down as another defensive blunder! It was then that we saw a concerted effort by Bath to increase the lead, and it was only two saving tackles and a flying header from Butts that saved the day for Diamonds. On 37 minutes Braids put a great cross into the box for Collins, but he had the ball whipped off his head for a corner. In general the crossing from the wide men into the box for Diamonds was below par and wildly in-accurate. Diamonds had a magnificent opportunity to draw level on 42 minutes. Macca put Collins in on goal but he mishit his shot and the chance was spurned. On 45 minutes it was Diamonds turn to ride their luck, as a wicked deflection in their box left the striker one on one with Turley. The keeper appeared to bring him down but the referee waved play on much to the relief of Diamonds players and fans alike. Matty Stowell did not have one of his best halves for Diamonds, with defenders managing to get behind him too often, and right on half time he was caught out by a slick Bath movement down the right and the resultant shot rose just over the crossbar with Turley beaten.

Brian Talbot made a change for the second half, bringing on Andy Burgess to replace Matty Stowell, and the change worked instantly. The emphasis of the game moved Diamonds way. They looked at ease on the ball, more inventive, and more dangerous. Unfortunately it was still a case of poor finishing in front of goal as a couple more half chances were wasted without putting the keeper under pressure. Razor joined Rodders in the book on 60 minutes for a foul and sixteen minutes into the half Turley was called upon to redeem himself, making a magnificent save to deny Bath a second goal. He was then put under pressure from short back header from Rodders but saved well at the feet of the attacker bursting through. At the other end the Bath keeper was also earning his money well – coming out and gathering every ball pumped into his area. Diamonds continued to exert pressure, with Underwood proving a slippery character down the left. Twenty three minutes into the half he was tripped just outside the box when in full flow. Brady took a great free kick putting it inch perfect into the box and Daz headed home. On seventy five minutes it was another change as Diamonds tried to force the initiative and score the second all important goal. Off came De Souza for Martin Aldridge to enter the fray. And what an entrance! Aldridge passed to Burgess wide on the left. He put in a superb ball onto the head of Collins in the box, his header was somehow knocked out and there was the predator Aldo to knock the ball back and into the net past the despairing keeper. On 77 minutes Turley was again called upon to save the day, diving and gathering at feet. Between 75 and 80 minutes it was all Diamonds but the last ten minutes was nailbiting. Brady got booked in the last five minutes as the pressure mounted. Aldo nearly grabbed a second, but on full time Bath were awarded a free kick just on the edge of the box, central, as a result of a Razor handball. With 18 players in front of him in a wall Turley could surely see nothing of the ball as it whistled sweetly over the wall and headed goalwards. Somehow though he managed to get a finger tip save to it and deflect the ball away for a corner. As the final whistle blew there were sighs of relief from the Diamonds fans, somewhat lucky to come away with a win from Fortress Bath! But yet again we have witnessed the battling spirit now within the side. Wembley beckons so lets hope its a home tie in the next round – draw on Monday.

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