Rushden & Diamonds 0 Doncaster Rovers 0

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

6th May 2000 – Nene Park (Attendance: 3177)

Rushden Team: Turley, Hamsher, Burgess, Mills, Rodwell, Warburton, Wormull, Butterworth, Collins, Sigere, Underwood.
Substitutes: Town, Naylor, Brady, Bradshaw, Butcher

Webmasters MoM: Butterworth

Diamonds played out their final game of the season in front of a respectable crowd of over three thousand, and again failed to score. The chances were there, a handful of clear cut chances, but once again the reason for Diamonds failure to clinch top spot was highlighted. Brian Talbot brought back Darren Collins in place of David Town in an attempt to liven up the attack, but the problem is still there and will not go away until new blood is brought in.

Diamonds were put under a bit of early pressure in the opening minute as Billy T was called on to make an impressive catch under pressure in the second minute. Daz had a half chance to open the scoring when latching on to a Sigere flick on, but the keeper just beat him to the ball. The first ten minutes were very much even, with the ball seeming to go from keeper to keeper, bypassing both midfields altogether. The lively Simon Wormull had a shot deflected over for a corner on 16 minutes, but Diamonds first golden opportunity of the game was on 18 minutes when Wormy put a superb ball into the box and on to the head of Siggy who could not direct the header on target with an open goal beckoning. John Hamsher was carried off on a stretcher after nineteen minutes when a 50/50 tackle left him requiring 20 stitches in a nasty deep cut on his leg. He was replaced by Brads for a rare home outing. Suddenly Brads started spraying about his trademark 40 yard cross field passes, bringing Burge into the game, and Diamonds started to look sharper. Siggy wasted yet another opportunity on 35 minutes when clear through he looped a shot over the out running keeper only to see it clear the woodwork as well as the keeper. Wormy tried a speculative shot from 30 yards seeing the keeper off his line on 37 minutes but the ball went high and wide. With the Donny crowd in full voice and trying to raise their team the song echoeing from the South Stand of ” Wheres your whippet gone – wheres your whippet gone” raised a few laughs in what was otherwise turning into a typical end of season game with Donny showing no inclination of wanting to make a game of it! The last five minutes of the half saw constant Diamonds pressure as Siggy made a marvellous mazy run into the box, Burge skimmed the post with a cross/shot, and Siggy again having a clear header that was this time saved by the keeper. The closest goal of the half actually went against the run of play on 45 minutes when a 30 yard hopeful piledriver skimmed the head of Butts and rebounded off the Diamonds post. I know Butts wants to improve his goal to game ratio but please Gary – in the right end!

The second half was a lot less exciting, as Diamonds exerted all the pressure but never really looked as though they would actually get the ball into the net. The chances were there, Daz had a few, but the game was now just being played out. There were some half chances, Wormy went close to getting on the end of a Burge cross, so did Daz ( twice). In the 76th minute Braids came on for Wormy and things seemed to pick up again. Donny nearly snatched the points in the 79th minute when Billy T was called upon to make a magnificent save. This the same keeper who early in the season was getting stick from our supporters and who has now become probably one of the most liked and respected keepers that we have seen down at Nene Park for years. He certainly now has an affinity with the fans! His handling today was immaculate, coming for crosses, his distribution was good, and he has had a great season.

The chances kept coming but all were squandered, with Daz having a great chance with just minutes to go. The game closed and it was somewhat surprising not to see more of the players saying cheerio to the fans – well done though to Daz and Billy T especially for their efforts.

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