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.

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