Rushden & Diamonds 1 Altrincham 0

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

16th April 2000 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2731)

Rushden Team: Turley, Peters, Hamsher, Mills, Rodwell, Warburton, Butterworth, Wormull, Town, Sigere, Underwood.
Substitutes: De Souza, Naylor, Stowell, Bradshaw, Brady

Diamonds Scorers: Town on 21 minutes

Webmasters MoM: Millsy

Diamonds had bounced back well from the defeat at Kidderminster last Saturday with a great win over Woking on Tuesday night, but it was their home form that had been suspect in recent weeks and three points today against a strong Altrincham team were a must if pressure was going to be kept on Kidderminster at the top of the table. Brian Talbot had gone for a mixture of youth and experience in todays team with Mills, Hamsher, Wormull, Town and Sigere mixing with the experience of Razor, Rhino, Butts and Rodders. The conditions however were awful, strong winds and incessant rain and they were to play a large part in the game with no-one wanting to make any mistakes in the treacherous conditions.

The first half belonged to Diamonds. They looked sharper and slicker in every department. Towny and Siggy were a constant threat upfront with their pace and guile, and considering the small amount of time that they have played together they seemed to be developing an understanding. Siggy has a great knack of finding space and always making himself available. The men at the back were commanding, the only threat from Alty coming from dead ball situations, especially corners, but Billy T had very little to do whereas Key in goal for Alty was kept on his toes throughout the half. Not surprisingly Diamonds took the lead on 21 minutes when a great through ball from Wormy found David Town clear through in a one on one with the keeper. He calmly took the ball round the keeper and fired low and hard into the empty net. With the rain standing in puddles on the pitch the game was surprisingly quite an attractive game to watch. Diamonds fizzed the ball about on the deck, there was little of the long hopeful ball that we had seen in some recent games. The midfield men were working hard, Butts his usual impressive self, while Millsy was absolutely magnificent! He showed a footballing brain way ahead of his young years, battling when necessary, spraying passes and distributing to both flanks with ease. When any danger arose there were Rodders , Razor and Rhino to snuff it out. Hamster was putting in some great crosses into the box and worked tirelessly up and down the heavy pitch. Diamonds could feel themselves unlucky to go in at half time only one goal to the good.

The second half was bound to be a battle as Alty kept tighter in midfield and managed to snuff out some of the distribution of Butts and Millsy. Alty pressed forward without ever really looking too dangerous, and with Siggy having to go off with a hamstring strain, and Unders having to go off with an ankle knock – being replaced by Migs and Matty respectively – the game lost its tempo, the pitch took its toll and the football of the first half disappeared. The game turned in to a war of attrition. Towny had a chance to sew the game up when he found himself almost clear through, but he was forced wide and the chance was gone. Migs had the beating of his markers but his final ball distribution let him down. The heavy pitch cut up badly and Simon Wormull had difficulty as he tried to put quality balls into the box, and Hamster was finding it more difficult to get forward. Diamonds never really looked like surrendering their lead and it would have been a travesty if Alty had equalized.

Diamonds then ran out 1-0 winners and can do no more than keep winning and keeping the pressure on in case Kidderminster slip up. The next game is away at Southport on Saturday, normally a reasonably happy hunting ground for Diamonds. Unfortunately though the games now seem to be running out for Diamonds, but who knows what other twists and turns may still lie in store in this two horse race for the title.

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