Rushden & Diamonds 1 Nuneaton Borough 1

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

1st April 2000 – Nene Park (Attendance: 4144)

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

Diamonds Scorers:Burgess – 69 minutes.

Webmasters MoM: Warburton

An unchanged team from last Tuesday night, but unfortunately a very different result for Diamonds in dropping two precious home points by giving away a sloppy goal in the last five minutes of normal time to cancel out an Andy Burgess strike.

Nuneaton probably started this game the brighter of the two teams. They could have gone ahead after just eight minutes when a floated cross cleared Rhino and fell nicely for the Boro player behind him but his hard low cross went right across the face of the goal with luckily no-one able to get a touch. Billy T was called upon to make a magnificent save on 9 minutes by tipping over a superb shot for a corner, at full stretch. Diamonds were having a relatively poor first ten minutes and their first chance fell to Worm whose shot from outside the box went wide of the upright. For a five minutes spell on twenty minutes Diamonds pressure was incessant, forcing a succession of corners, the result of the last of these was a shot from Unders that went high over the crossbar. On 28 minutes Migs put through Lowey but un-characteristically he shot tamely straight at the keeper. Diamonds passing was erratic to say the least, and they were giving away possession too cheaply. They were being hustled and bustled by Boro, who unlike in the first meeting earlier in the season, have turned into one of the most cynical, crafty, fouling teams that we have seen at Nene Park for a while. Add to this an in-effective referee and non-existent linesmen, and this game was threatening to boil over as tackles started to come in late from both sides and intimidation of the Officials from Boro players made the game unpleasant to watch from a spectators view. On 31 minutes Burge passed to Unders just outside the Boro box, he looped a ball in to Migs but again the shot was blasted over the crossbar. Migs found himself booked for retaliating with a push to another cynical tackle from behind that saw the Boro players escape without a caution – unbelievable! Diamonds had a half chance on 36 minutes when Lowey headed straight at the keeper after connecting with a Worm free-kick. So Diamonds went in at half time level, but knowing that they would have to keep calm, and stay patient, to collect all three points.

The second half was barely a minute old before M-D Bullock joined Migs in the book for a late tackle. Tackles were continuing to rain in, late and hard. On 53 minutes after good work from Burge out on the left Migs headed soft and wide of the goal. Diamonds were once again suffering for being un-creative in midfield and when chances were made they were in-effective in front of goal. There seemed to be a lack of being able to hold on to the ball for long enough today, particularly in the box, and much of the passing and crossing was not up to the normal accurate standards. Other than Butts the midfield players were not stamping their authority on the game – how we miss Macca and what he offers to the team! On 68 minutes Daz was brought off the bench to replace Lowey who had worked tirelessly upfront but had few clear cut chances. On 69 minutes though Diamonds took the lead when a lose ball in the box fell to Burge who lashed a shot under the keeper. Unfortunately for Diamonds the search for a second match clinching goal never came to fruition and on 84 minutes the un-thinkable happened with some sloppy defending and Shaun Ray sent a screamer from the edge of the box past Billy T with the help of a deflection. John Hamsher then came on for the Worm who had taken a heavy knock a few minutes earlier but despite pressure the Diamonds were unable to secure the three points that they so desperately required.

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