Rushden & Diamonds 2 Kettering Town 0

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

28th March 2000 – Nene Park (Attendance: 4752)

Rushden Team: Turley, Peters, Burgess, Bullock, Rodwell, Warburton, Butterworth, Wormull, Lowe, De Souza, Underwood.
Substitutes: Hamsher, Naylor, Cooper, Collins, Mison

Diamonds Scorers:Lowe – 56 minutes, Warburton – 57 minutes

Webmasters MoM: Gary Butterworth

Diamonds welcomed Darren Bullock, on loan from Bury, into tonight’s squad for a game that was crucial to Diamonds promotion push. It was a game that Diamonds needed to win to stay on the heels of Kidderminster and that Kettering needed to win in order to move away from the ever looking relegation zone. Back on to the bench came Darren Collins while the front pairing remained un-changed with Migs and Lowey. Andy Burgess had done enough in previous games to hang on to his place and Rhino was preferred to continue to fill the No2 shirt.

The game started at a frenzied pace as you would expect in one of these derby games, and the pressure from Diamonds was to continue for the whole of the ninety minutes. Diamonds dominated the game in every department with Kettering, at times looking fragile at the back and lacking ideas the further that they progressed upfield. Diamonds could have gone ahead as early as the second minute when Rhino rose to head just over the bar. The Bury fans had been on to the website earlier in the day to say what a great signing “Mad-dog Bullock” would be for Diamonds (their nickname!), stating that he scores some spectacular goals, and he nearly got off the mark for Diamonds as early as the 4th minute when he made a great forward run and met an Unders cross with a downwards header that flew inches wide of Sollitt’s left hand post. The early pressure was totally Diamonds as long range efforts were aimed at the Kettering goal. Simon Wormull turned superbly into the box on 8 minutes but his shot, though going wide, deflected safely to the keeper. The early pressure was relentless as Diamonds searched for the opening goal. Claims for a penalty for hand ball were turned down as Kettering were forced to hastily clear their lines and give away a corner. The result was a run into the box by Rodders and his header was well saved on the goal-line. Andy Burgess was superb out on the left showing trickery normally only read about in text books, and remembered from the good old days of Rodney Marsh, neat flicks and dummies seeming to mesmerise the despairing Poppies defenders. He had the impudence to try a floating lob on 17 minutes that unfortunately sailed high and wide over the Kettering goal.

Kettering had a three minute spell when they forced Diamonds onto their back feet but it was short lived as Butts and Mad-dog regained control of the midfield. The front men were working very hard. Migs was flying and terrorising the Poppies defence with his pace. He shot wide after a great run on 21 minutes and then just a minute later after superb work by Burge shot just over the crossbar with Sollitt despairing to get anywhere near. Diamonds only scare of the half came when Billy T stopped but failed to hold a long range effort but Unders was on hand to blast the loose ball clear. On 32 minutes Rhino found himself storming forwards with defenders backing off, he put a sweet ball in to Migs who unfortunately missed a great chance to open the scoring. The first booking of the game went to Mad-dog Bullock as he was adjudged to have late tackled a Kettering defender on the touchline in front of the South Stand. The tough tackle made his intentions clear that he and the team were up for the game and would battle their way to victory. Towards the end of the half Burge had a free header that was unfortunately directed straight at the keeper, and Butts hit a blaster from 30 yards that just fizzed past the post. So half time came with Diamonds totally superior to their neighbours in every department.

Eight minutes into the second half Migs had the best chance of the game at that point to put Diamonds into the lead. He swept on to a great through ball and with the keeper coming out and missing the ball he lobbed goalwards only to see his shot clear the crossbar. One could be forgiven at this point for thinking that with all the pressure that Diamonds were inflicting and the chances being squandered that this may end up not being Diamonds night. But you reckon without the superb Lowey popping up to score yet another superbly taken goal for the Diamonds, this one a right footed shot from the edge of the box that flew high into the top left hand side of the goal. The Kettering supporters were stunned but worse for them was still to come. Just a minute later on 57 minutes the Worm put a great ball into the box from a corner wide on the left hand side of the area and up rose Razor to head past Sollitt and the watching defenders. Kettering in fairness tried to bounce back but they could get nothing past Rodders and Razor in the heart of the Diamonds defence. Anything at all that they missed and Billy T was there to clean up. Razor went into the book for a supposed blocking on 69 minutes but Kettering pressure was short lived and in-effective. Migs shot wide again on 73 minutes and on 75 minutes we were treated to a glimpse of hopefully things to come from the Worm as he went on a dazzling dribbling run from just inside the Kettering half, evading tackles, switching feet, and was only stopped when he was brought down just on the edge of the box. Unfortunately the resulting free-kick was blasted high over the bar and into the De Banke. The half finished with Burge producing more trickery, flicks over his head leaving defenders trailing and then right at the death Lowey flicking a header just wide of the post after a superb run across goal put him just in front of his marker.

This was a performance to be proud of and one that silenced any criticism that Diamonds were lacking passion and commitment. To beat the Poppies at anytime is sweet for a Diamonds supporter but to win in style is the icing on the cake. The mood within the camp must be great as they move within four points of Kiddy, and two wins in their next two home games will take them into the Kiddy game hopefully with Diamonds sitting on top of the table already. Unfortunately the little matter of disposing of Nuneaton and Morecambe has to be completed but confidence after that performance must be high. For Kettering the loss of three points leaves relegation more of a possibility as their involvement in the FA Trophy continues and their fellow strugglers are starting to pick up points.

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Rushden & Diamonds 0 Hereford United 0

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

25th March 2000 – Nene Park (Attendance: 4022)

Report by David Gudgeons

Final Score: 0-0

Rushden Team: Turley, Peters, Burgess, Cooper, Rodwell, Warburton, Butterworth, Wormull, Lowe, De Souza, Underwood.
Substitutes: Hamsher, Naylor, Bradshaw, Mills, Mison

Webmasters MoM: Gary Butterworth

Diamonds didn’t make any changes to the team that defeated Sutton United 4-0 last Saturday here at Nene Park. The game started fast and furious, both teams taking the game at their opponents. On 7 minutes, David Lowe had a superb chance as the ball became loose. His first time shot was heading towards the goal, but the keeper produced a great save tipping the ball over the bar.
Hereford put the ball in the back of the Diamonds net, but the referee had already blown his whistle which gave Hereford a free kick out on the left wing. On 19 minutes, a great cross from Paul Underwood was met by the head of Simon Wormull. Wormull managed to connect with the ball as he was running at the goal, his header was heading towards the bottom corner, but again the Hereford keeper matched the attack with another superb save. Hereford began to pass the ball around well, but the Diamonds couldn’t seem to string their passes together. On 31 minutes, Paul Underwood picked up a pass from Gary Butterworth and took a shot from 25 yards, the keeper dived the wrong way, but the ball went past the post. Diamonds put on a lot of pressure towards the latter part of the first half, but couldn’t produce a key pass that could create the opening goal.

HALF TIME

Diamonds began the second half well, passing the ball around and picking up the loose balls. On 47 minutes, Andrew Burgess delivered a superb cross, but the keeper caught the ball well. On 54 minutes, after great linking play between David Lowe and Andrew Burgess, Mequel De Souza picked up the ball and ran at the defence. His shot from a very tight angle hit the post and skipped away for a throw-in on the far side. Hereford came back forcing the Diamonds into constant defensive positions. Three superb blocks from Ray Warburton kept Hereford at bay. The Hereford fans responded to their teams encouraging moves. Hereford pushed for the first goal of the game, but the Diamonds matched the attacks in defence. They continued to press and put Diamonds under constant pressure. On 82 minutes, the Hereford keeper pulled himself off of the ground to tip Gary Butterworth’s superb strike, which was heading goalbound, round the post.

David Lowe held the ball up well, but didn’t have much support, Gary Butterworth won every challenge and made some fantastic passes throughout the game and Ray Warburton made some very important blocks to keep the Hereford strikers out. An important point towards the promotion challenge, but with Kidderminster taking all three points today, the Diamonds need maximum points from their games in hand and a favourable result on the 8th April.

Rushden & Diamonds 4 Sutton United 0

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

18th March 2000 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2749)

Report by David Gudgeons

Rushden Team: Turley, Peters, Burgess, Cooper, Rodwell, Warburton, Butterworth, Wormull, Lowe, De Souza, Underwood.
Substitutes: Hamsher, Bertocchi, Bradshaw, Mills, Mison

Diamonds Scorers: Butterworth – 5 minutes, Burgess – 39 minutes, Peters – 51 minutes & Lowe – 83 minutes

Webmasters MoM: Gary Butterworth

This sunny afternoon at Nene Park saw several changes made to the Diamonds squad. There was only one change made to the Sutton squad after Tuesday night’s 3-1 win over the Diamonds here at Nene Park.
Sutton United kicked off the match this afternoon with the memory of Tuesday night’s victory here at Nene Park still fresh on their minds. However, the Diamonds made sure that Sutton knew their intentions early on as they attacked from the first minute. In the fifth minute Gary Butterworth took on the Sutton midfield, making a darting run towards goal, he was then faced by two Sutton defenders knocked the ball passed them and continued his run. Gary went into a 50/50 challenge with the goalkeeper and the ball went loose leaving Gary to slot the ball home. A magnificent start after Tuesday’s poor performance which settled the nerves of both the players and the supporters. Although the Diamonds were now in a commanding position, Sutton never gave up, they played the ball around well as did the Diamonds, but the Diamonds always looking the sharper side.

On 21 minutes, the home side almost extended their lead with a superb volley by Mequel De Souza, inside the penalty area which was unfortunately hit straight at the keeper. The game became fairly scrappy and the physios had to be brought onto the field on numerous occasions to deal with injuries sustained. The Diamonds had another chance to extend their lead on 32 minutes, but the superb strike from Gary Butterworth from 35 yards out went just over the bar. On 39 minutes, Mequel De Souza picked up the ball on the left wing and took on the defender, Andy Burgess ran into the box and as Mequel crossed the ball from the by-line, Andy Burgess found himself in enough space to take a shot and buried the ball into the roof of the net. The home side looked in control at half time, a great performance from all of the players.

HALF TIME

Sutton United started the second half strongly, trying to force themselves back into the game. On 47 minutes they almost halved the deficit as their no.7 managed to run through the defence only to see his shot rebound off of the post. The Diamonds hit back straight away, again taking the game at Sutton. The passing between Andy Burgess and Paul Underwood was superb. Andy managed to deliver a superb cross which was met by the head of David Lowe, but his header went wide of the post. Soon after, Mark Cooper saw his header hit the post, the rebound fell awkwardly at the feet of David Lowe and his shot also hit the post before the ball was scrambled away for a corner. The resulting kick was superbly delivered into the box, Sutton half cleared which gave the chance for Mark Peters to rise above the defence and head home Diamonds third goal of the afternoon on 51 minutes. On 55 minutes, superb play again between Paul Underwood, Mequel De Souza and Andy Burgess almost paid off, but Burgess’ shot across the face of the goal went inches past the post. Diamonds continued to press, passing the ball around well and not giving Sutton any chance of getting back into the match.

Sutton never gave up, and on 63 minutes as Sam Winston was bearing down on goal, across came Paul Underwood who made an important well-timed challenge, clearing the ball away for a corner but he received a knock in the process. On 68 minutes Darren Bradshaw came on for Paul Underwood who seemed to be feeling the effect of the knock he had received minutes earlier. On 79 minutes Mequel De Souza ran at the Sutton defence, but his shot was deflected away. Jim Rodwell rose well in the box as he headed towards goal, the ball started to dip towards the top corner of the goal, but the Sutton goalkeeper managed to tip the ball over and away. A superb touch from Andy Burgess clipping the ball over the defence with his back towards goal, fell into the path of David Lowe. David had a clear run at goal and slotted the ball home from 10 yards giving the keeper no chance at all. The back four were magnificent, the midfield were superb, holding the ball up well and producing quality passes. The front two were always making it difficult for the Sutton defenders to cope, which made room for the midfield to create great chances.

Rushden & Diamonds 1 Sutton United 3

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

FA Trophy 6th Round Replay

14th March 2000 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2783)

Report by David Gudgeons

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

Sutton United Team:

Diamonds Scorers: Cooper – 85 minutes

Webmasters MoM: David Lowe

Match Report

The team was unchanged from Saturday’s line up apart from Mark Cooper replacing Gary Mills on the bench and David Lowe switching places with Miquel De Souza, Gary Butterworth passed a late fitness test to complete the line up.

Sutton United brought the game to the Diamonds very early on, but without too much possession. An early shot from the Sutton Captain hardly troubled Turley going wide of his right post. The play became slightly more even with both teams attacking, but lacking any decent passes that may have led to a goal. The Sutton no.9 almost beat Jim Rodwell to the ball, as a superb long pass from the Sutton midfield saw the two players both running after the ball. The Sutton player put his hand out to try and control the ball but the referee blew his whistle and gave the Diamonds a free kick. On 21 minutes, a loose ball in the Sutton half gave Kenny Cramman a chance from 30 yards, but the ball never looked like troubling the keeper and went well over the bar. Sutton started to knock the ball over the Diamonds defence with the pace of the Sutton front men almost paying dividends. The Diamonds, looking to get a goal, attacked with more venom, but the Sutton defence worked well together clearing the ball at every opportunity. A corner for the Diamonds in the 32nd minute nearly led to a goal as Jim Rodwell headed towards goal, only to see the following touch from a Diamonds player send the ball over the bar. Lapse defending from the Diamonds in the 35th minute left room for the Sutton no.9 with a clear run on goal. The defence left the ball for Billy Turley on the 18 yard line unaware of the presence of the Sutton striker, his superb shot gave Turley very little chance of making a save and the ball ended up in the back of the Diamonds net. Diamonds tried to turn the game around and on 40 minutes a cross from David Lowe deceived everyone in the penalty area, John Hamsher ran into the box to meet the ball, but his first time shot sliced off of his boot and went high and wide of the Sutton goal. A brave diving header on 45 minutes from Jim Rodwell made sure that the Sutton no.9 didn’t get his second chance on goal.

 

HALF TIME

From the start of the second half Brian Talbot made his first change, bringing on Andy Burgess for Kenny Cramman and moving Paul Underwood to left back. The Diamonds started the half well, passing the ball around. A good run from Paul Underwood excited the crowd as he took on the Sutton midfield and defence, until the Sutton captain hacked him down. He received the first yellow card of the game, but the Sutton defence easily cleared the resulting free kick, from the left. On 50 minutes there was a very big appeal for handball inside the area as Darren Collins headed the ball back into the danger area. The referee did not have a clear view and the penalty went begging. On 51 minutes Sutton created another half chance which was superbly executed by the Sutton no.10, putting them 2-0 up with a half volley from 35 yards out. Diamonds again took the game to Sutton, another good movement in the midfield was halted once again as the Sutton captain took out Paul Underwood for the second time of the half. On 59 minutes, Miquel De Souza and Mark Cooper came on for Jon Brady and Tim Wooding, with the formation changing to a 3-5-2 from the initial 4-4-2. Although the Diamonds became more attacking, this left a lot of room for Sutton to counter attack. A 67th minute corner was met well by Ekoku with his head and made the scoreline 3-0 to the visitors. Diamonds tried in vain to get back into the match as the back four of Sutton blocked almost every Diamonds attack. On 72 minutes Paul Underwood came closest for the Diamonds first real effort of the half, with a free kick from the right which was easily saved by the Sutton keeper. On 74 minutes a great ball from Paul Underwood let Andy Burgess run behind the defence and deliver a superb cross for Mark Cooper who’s header went wide of the post. Diamonds continued to press and try to salvage something from the match, on 82 minutes another header from Cooper went wide of the post, but this time the ball was slightly behind him and he could not get behind it. Gary Butterworth had a great shot from 35 yards, which was palmed away by the keeper, the loose ball was chased by Darren Collins, but his shot from a tight angle was deflected for a corner. On 85 minutes Diamonds pulled a goal back, Mark Coopers’ shot was buried in the top corner of the net as a Sutton player tried to hook the ball away to safety.

Diamonds continued to apply the pressure and were awarded another corner on 87 minutes, Billy Turley ran the length of the pitch that almost paid dividends, the corner went inches past his head and was caught by the Sutton keeper. Sutton cleared ball after ball trying to keep the scoreline at 3-1.

Sutton were worthy winners after a disappointing all round display from the Diamonds, the late pressure was soaked up as Sutton played extremely well at the back. They always looked like they were up for this one, nothing to lose, with a Wembley appearance to play for.

The Diamonds fans that stayed after the final whistle applauded the Sutton players off the pitch.

The stage is now set for an enthralling run in for The Conference Title. We now know whom we are playing and when we are playing them. Can we do it? – Watch this space!

Sutton United 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

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

FA Trophy Quarter Final

11th March 2000 – Gander Green Lane

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

Diamonds Scorers: Rodwell 13 mins

Webmasters MoM: Rodwell

Brian Talbot made two changes for the game at Sutton, Darren Collins in for David Lowe and Jon Hamsher in for the injured Macca. Having scored four goals in each of the last two meetings between the Clubs there was the prospect of another attacking Diamonds display against a team languishing at the foot of the table. But whether its because this is the Cup, the game was not played to the Diamonds script. In terms of attacking play this was a poor performance from Diamonds.

The first half was a fairly even affair, the bumpy pitch making football very difficult with the ball bobbling everywhere except where it should go. Diamonds fell behind early on in the game, a poor back pass from Razor to his keeper and Ekoku nipped in and squared the ball for his fellow attacker who scored into an empty net. Diamonds though hit back well, Rodders rising to score another of his important goals, this one keeping us in the draw for the semi-finals! From here on in there was little to write home about. Billy Turley made an excellent save in the first half, tipping over a looping shot that looked goal bound. Diamonds failed to put the Sutton keeper under any pressure and at half time the 1-1 scoreline was a fair reflection on the game.

The second half was a poor performance all round. Sutton always looked the more likely to score, if only due to the fact that they seemed the only team wanting a win. Ironic really because Diamonds would not have really wanted another change to the Conference fixture scheduled for next Tuesday if the game here was to need a replay. Diamonds looked comfortable at the back though, and never really in too much trouble, but they lacked any penetration upfront. Diamonds trouble all season has been the lack of goals from the front men, and it was more than evident today that the partnership of Darren and Migs does not work. Though the game cried out for substitutions if Diamonds were going to play for a win, it was evident that Diamonds were content to settle for a replay back at Nene Park on a better pitch and not risk losing today. As the final whistle blew at the end of the game there was a sense of relief from the Diamonds supporters that they were not going to have to endure any minutes of injury time, the play was that bad. There was also a sense of disbelief as the fans had endured one of the most in-effective displays for a long while, at least since Billericay away.

Performances of note in the game were rare, Rodders was magnificent as was Butts, and Billy T did all that he was asked to – commanded his area, made a great save and took all his crosses well. Tim did not put a foot wrong all game and although Kenny struggled early on he ended the game well. Play from the wide men was difficult to judge because of the poor pitch but they worked hard.

Rushden & Diamonds 1 Yeovil Town 1

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

7th March 2000 – Nene Park (Attendance: 3611)

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

Diamonds Scorers: Adams (og) 28 mins

Webmasters MoM: Hamsher

This was not the best start to a run of five home games in the Conference. Diamonds kept an un-changed team to that which brought home three points from Kingstonian, but yet again it was Diamonds failure to put the ball in the back of the net that cost them dearly tonight against a spirited Yeovil side. The first half was a non-event from both sides, if anything Yeovil looking much the slicker team, better passing skills and vision off the ball. Patmore again held up play well and Smith looked a danger every time he had the ball. In fact Patmore had two great chances to give Yeovil a first half lead but both headers finished just over the crossbar. Diamonds really only came to life in the last ten minutes of the half, putting Yeovil under constant pressure, and chances went begging from headers that fiirst Jon Brady, and then Miquel De Souza wasted. The sad point of the first half was seeing Macca stretchered off after 35 minutes following a tackle on Patmore that both men felt. Jon Brady came on to replace Macca and the game suddenly started to turn Diamonds way.

The second half was much better for Diamonds. Burge came on for Kenny Cramman and the game changed. The half chances started to come in quick succession, the goal-keeper started to look jittery, and Diamonds started to dominate. It was still Yeovil though who had the first real chance of the half when Patmore headed just over the crossbar froma corner. Diamonds took the lead though on 63 minutes when Hamster got to the bye-line on the right and put over a superb deep cross that was met by Burge and the ball finished in the back of the net. Lowey had a chance on 68 minutes but headed straight at the keeper from a Jon Brady cross. Just a few minutes later there was a goalmouth scramble where the ball just would not fall kindly for the Diamonds attackers in the 6 yard box – it was like pinball – and the ball was eventually turned behind for a corner. Lowey had another chance on 79 minutes but again his shot was fortunately saved by the keeper who was really riding his luck. On 81 minutes Brian Talbot brought on Darren Collins for Miquel De Souza and the pressure was piled on, looking for the second goal that would kill the game. Lowey had yet another chance that was well saved by the keeper on 84 minutes. Diamonds looked in total control and were heading for a well earned three points when tragedy happened. Yeovil had brought on Foster to give them a three man attack, and suddenly it was Diamonds who were getting pegged back. The referee failed to spot a blatant foul in the back on Burgess, and Yeovil progressed upfield and were awarded a corner. Slack marking again was Diamonds downfall as the corner was whipped in near post and a flicked on header from Hayfield flashed into the net with Diamonds defenders standing like statues. Diamonds continued to look for the winning goal but service of quality to the frontmen dried up and the game closed with the points shared.

The players gave their all in the second half, but the lack of that killer instinct in front of goal appears to be Diamonds undoing. Jon Brady was superb after coming on as substitute, hustling, taking people on and getting in some superb crosses – as did John Hamsher. Paul Underwood though seemed to be battling for the same space in the second half as Burge, and was caught out a couple of times in the second half out of position. The back central defenders were superb yet again, limiting Patmore to a couple of chances and forcing Smith to do most of his work at long range. Migs worked really hard upfront with Lowey and showed his pace on a number of occasions, but is not finishing as clinically as he should when presented with chances in the box. With the result at Donny going the way of Kidderminster there can now be no slip ups in the forthcoming home games if this is to continue to be a two horse race for the title. Diamonds are now dependant upon Kiddy slipping up, and with twelve games still to play I am sure there will be a few more twists and turns yet before anything is decided.

Kingstonian 0 Rushden & Diamonds 1

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

4th March 2000 – Kingsmeadow (Attendance: 1772)

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

Diamonds Scorers: Crossley (og) 28 mins

Webmasters MoM: De Souza

Another game goes by, three points in the bag, but not a great deal to stimulate the writing of a match report! The first half was a struggle for both teams to play any football. Kingstonian have been letting the London Broncos use the pitch for a couple of Rugby games, and didn’t it show! The pitch down the middle is bumpy, a bit like a sand-pit, not conducive to football at all. But the teams tried their best to get the ball out to the flanks, and stir up a poor, un-enthusiastic, home crowd only swelled by the large number of Diamonds fans who had made the relatively easy trip around the M25. ( Well thats padded out the report a bit – now to the football)

Diamonds had a few half chances early on, the first an acrobatic overhead kick by Unders to Migs who unfortunately hit at the keeper who made an easy save. Migs frightened the life out of Farrelly again in the eighth minute when jinking into the box he hit a hard, low shot that ripped just the wrong side of the post and into the side netting. Kingstonian’s first shot of the game fell to ex-Diamonds and fans favourite David Leworthy, but with the goal beckoning his shot was woeful and bounced over the bye-line giving Billy Turley no worries. Diamonds actually took the lead on 18 minutes when a corner from Hamster was superbly put into the box, up rose Rodders challenging the “K”s Crossley, who duly obliged by planting a superb header past his own keeper. As first halves go, that was all the crowd had to discuss. A lack of atmosphere on three sides of the ground made it difficult for either team to raise their game. Most of the noise from the home fans came from their young cheerleaders and half a dozen singers behind the goal! The quote of the day was from the Northants T.V. crew who were heard to mutter, when looking up to the skies – ” Please, please lets have something in the second half as I cant get much footage out of that”.

The second half was much better, at least a few more chances for Diamonds. Migs had a shot saved by the keeper on 51 minutes, and again on 66 minutes. Macca tried to get in on the act and his tireless running almost paid off on 70 minutes but his shot was well saved by the keeper. Jon Hamsher had a superb shot cleared off the line and a Razor special from a corner made the keeper save at the second attempt with MIgs bearing down looking for the loose ball. David Lowe headed wide after great work from Migs down the left. In the 83rd minuted Brian Talbot brought Burge on for Lowey and Diamonds continued to push forward looking for the killer second goal. It almost came in the dying minutes as De Souza picked up the ball and ran at the “K”s defence. With Burge immediately to his left and Unders wide he picked out the latter, whose shot at goal rasped off the post and away to safety.

So Diamonds pick up yet another three points on their travels in a difficult fixture. Kingstonian huffed and puffed in spurts throughout the game without really threatening too much. In fact I cant remember Billy T having a shot to save all game! For Diamonds it was a hard battling performance in which they always looked superior. The front men worked tirelessly in difficult conditions, Unders and Hamster put in some great crosses from the flanks, and Hamster hardly put a foot wrong all game. Unders seemed raring to go after his midweek jaunt to Italy and continually tormented the “Ks” back, beat him for pace all the time. In tackling back Unders pushed Tarkan Mustafa inside at every opportunity, making him in-effective. In midfield Macca and Butts were – well they were just Macca and Butts. You know that you will get nothing less that 110% effort from either of them. The defence was secure, and poor old Billy T could have brought a book to read for large portions of the game! Hopefully now Diamonds can gain revenge for the embarrassing day experienced last time out against Yeovil – with the return at Nene Park this coming Tuesday. A win will hoist them back over Kiddy and dispel any hopes that Yeovil may have of the promotion space currently available.

A special mention to the Officials and Stewards at Kingsmeadow who once again were friendly, courteous, and always make it a pleasurable visit. I am not sure why the large Police presence was their, but as usual they were left with nothing to do other than check tax discs in the car-park. The only problem was dragging some of our fans away from the bar before the game – not because of the beer, just the barmaids!!!

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