Rushden & Diamonds 1 Marine 0

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

FA Trophy 5th Round

26th February 2000 – Nene Park (Attendance: 3094 )

Rushden Team: Turley, Wooding,Cramman, Rodwell, McElhatton, Butterworth, Warburton, Brady, Lowe, Town, Underwood.
Substitutes: Peters, Heggs, Burgess, Hamsher, Smith

Diamonds Scorers: Lowe 32 mins.

Webmasters MoM: Lowe

Some games are easy to write reports for, packed with incident, lots of goals, excitement, but unfortunately this was not one of them. The result was all important – a Diamonds win and into the last eight of the FA Trophy. However the performance was under-par, possibly due to injuries being carried by some of those players on the field, enforced absences due to suspensions, and dare I say it – a poor pitch. Marine came to Nene Park with a reputation at stake – they had only lost two games this season and were riding high in the Unibond. But today they looked a very average side, and unfortunately Diamonds had an off day and could not take full advantage of playing a mediocre side.

The first half however was a bright one for Diamonds. The first five minutes as you would expect saw Diamonds exerting all of the early pressure, commanding the midfield but not really putting the Marine keeper under pressure. In fact for the first ten minutes all of the play was in midfield. The first shot of the game fell to Diamonds on 11 minutes when Butts hit a shot from 20 yards that unfortunately went high and wide of the keepers right hand post. David Lowe had the first half chance for Diamonds just a couple of minutes later – an Unders cross into the box which the keeper fumbled fell to Lowey who was just unable to pop it into the net. In the next ten minutes chances fell to Towny and Unders but both chances went the wrong side of the post. On 25 minutes Jon Brady was put through but shot at the keeper and on 26 minutes Jim Rodwell headed just wide after connecting his head to a Jon Brady corner. Marine were not in the game at all and Diamonds were playing at a canter, but without putting an urgency into the game. Diamonds went ahead on 32 minutes following great work by Jon Brady, regaining possession on the bye-line and putting a great cross onto the head of David Lowe in the box and Lowey finished off superbly. Further chances in the half fell to Unders and Rodders but both were wasted. It was very much a low key affair, little enthusiasm generated by the crowd, in fact just before the half time whistle blew we were treated to ” De Banke, De Banke give us a song” by the South Stand singers, and you don’t hear that very often. There just seemed a total lack of atmosphere both on and off the pitch.

The second half had nothing of note at all to write about. Early pressure from Marine forced a succession of corners in the first five minutes, which all came to nothing. Kenny Cramman hit a screamer from 25 yards in the 55th minute which was always rising over the bar. Brian Talbot decided changes were the order of the day, taking off Towny and replacing him with Heggsy. The match proceeded to turn into a scrappy affair, not helped by the referee who made some petty bookings on both sides. David Lowe and Jim Rodwell both went in to the referees notebook – David Lowe for a bit of “argy bargy” with a defender which was really just a handbag job, and Rodders for a handball on the edge of the box. Macca was clearly struggling all through the game, and he was eventually substituted on 81 minutes, being replaced by John Hamsher. Again the Southstanders chanted ” Can you hear the De Banke sing” but it was one of those games where it needed something to happen on the pitch to lift the crowd, or the crowd to lift the players.

So Diamonds easily through to the next round of the FA Trophy and surely hoping for a home tie when the draw is made on Monday. The plus points to come out of this game against Marine! Well Billy Turley had a good game, commanding his area well and taking some difficult crosses with ease. The central defenders did all that was asked of them with Rodders again superb. The midfield was obviously struggling with injuries and lacked pace. Jon Brady had a competent game as did Unders considering that he too was carrying an injury. Upfront Towny looked as though he had been out for a while, being off the pace of the game at times and finding that his first touch had left him. As for Lowey, another great game running all over the pitch, holding up play and getting in positions to cause problems in the box. With a week now to recover lets hope that some of the injuries are sorted out before next weeks important game at Kingstonian.

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