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.

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