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!

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