Rushden & Diamonds 2 Billericay Town 1

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

8th February 2000 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2132)

Rushden Team: Turley, Wooding, Cramman, Mills, Rodwell, Warburton, Butterworth, Brady, Lowe, Collins, Underwood.
Substitutes: De Souza, Burgess, Cooper, Peters, Smith

Diamonds Scorers: Lowe 46, De Souza 71 mins

Webmasters MoM: Lowe

With events of the last week still playing on the minds of some players this match was to continue for the first half in the same vein as the match at Billericay. Brian Talbot had brought Gary Mills in to the side to replace Mark Cooper with Andy Burgess on the bench. There was very little to talk about in the first half hour of the game. Butts had Diamonds first half chance on 8 minutes but blasted high and wide. Just a few minutes later Tim Wooding somehow carved his way through the Billericay defence, but was pushed wider than he would have liked and blasted his shot straight at the keeper at the near post. On 15 minutes a Jon Brady corner was met by David Lowe at the near post but his header ricocheted off the post with the keeper beaten. In fact Brady’s corner almost went straight in on its own such was the force of the swirling wind. Diamonds best chances of the half came in a five minute spell when first Rodwell from a header hit the crossbar, and then the keeper made a magnificent save from a Collins header. Unfortunately for Diamonds things went awry just before half time when Daz made one of his lunging tackles way out in no-mans land that left the Billericay defender with a broken ankle. The referee made up his mind early that a red card was the order of the day and Daz took an early bath.

Second half Brian Talbot replaced Jon Brady, who had struggled to make an impression on the game, with Mequel De Souza. Almost immediately Diamonds took the lead, a poor misdirected back header let David Lowe through and he placed the ball expertly and coolly under the advancing keeper and into the net. A couple of minutes later Razor found the ball at his feet six yards out but he failed to swivel and shoot and the chance was gone. Billericay started to push forward, making use of their spare man but Diamonds dug in, as many teams playing with ten men seem to do. Turley was called upon to make a great save on 51 minutes, diving low to grab a hard and low shot that was destined for the far corner. Claims for a Billericay penalty were turned away on 60 minutes as Rodwell and an attacker fell to the floor in the penalty area. Still Billericay pushed forward and Turley was forced to pull out another top drawer save on 68 minutes by somehow tipping over a speculative shot from 35 yards. Then on 71 minutes De Souza was fouled outside and to the right of the penalty box. Mills took the free kick and played it to De Souzas feet. He turned sharply and drove the ball into the net. From here on in the referee spoiled the game. Razor was booked on 76 minutes, Wooding on 85 minutes, and Lowe on 87 minutes. Billericay gained a consolation goal deep into injury time but it was too late to have any effect on the result.

So a fighting second half display from Diamonds but in particular David Lowe. If they say his legs have gone now, then he must have been pretty quick a few years ago! He covered every blade of the grass, held the ball well and brought others into play. Hustled and bustled for 90 minutes – a great performance. Daz now misses three games starting with Hednesford, and Razor is also suspended for a game. Thoughts now go towards this weekend six pointer with Dover where a win would be preferable. Maybe BT would be happy with a point but I am sure the lads will be going for all three. Hopefully there will be a good following to cheer them on.

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