Rushden & Diamonds 2 Chester City 0

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

19th August 2000 – Nene Park (Attendance: 3966)

Diamonds Scorers: Darby, Jackson.

Match Report by Steffan Doyle

Goals from big summer signings Duane Darby and Justin Jackson sealed a satisfying start to the Diamonds’ new campaign. Darby, who had the best of the Diamonds chances, putting two headers fractionally wide in the first half, broke the deadlock, darting to the near post from a Burgess cross to side-foot home, barely a minute into the 2nd half. The Diamonds continued to create the better chances with the ball hitting the Chester bar twice and on both occassions Darby was fractionally beaten to the rebound by quick reactions from Chester defenders. Towards the end Chester applied a little pressure as the diamonds seemed nervous in possession, but from all the pressure they were only able to create 2 clear-cut chances, both of which were saved athletically by keeper Billy Turley. Diamonds fans were whistling for the end as the game ventured into the 3rd minute of injury time, enough time though for Justin Jackson, a constant threat throughout the game, to latch onto a Burgess through ball and seal victory by sliding the ball effortlessly passed Keeper Dickinson.

Team: Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, Mills, Rodwell, Warburton, Butterworth, Brady, Jackson, Darby, Burgess.

 Sports.com Report

Rushden & Diamonds started the season in fine style, defeating Chester City who had last year dropped out of the football league. The match started in a scrappy fashion, and Chester received two bookings in the first five minutes with both Blackburn and Kerr going into the referee’s notebook. Both sides were cagy in the opening stages, and it was not until the 22nd minute when the first clear cut chance was created. It was created when Underwood crossed a fine ball and Darby saw his powerful header go inches wide. A minute later, Rushden skipper Warburton received a booking for a foul on Lancaster. On 28 minutes Darren Wright was inches over with a header after a cross by Doughty.

Rushden should have gone ahead when Darby headed wide with the goal at his mercy. Rushden grabbed the lead two minutes into the second half when Darby stole in at the near post to convert a cross by Burgess. On 51 minutes, Chester Defender Blackburn was lucky to stay on the pitch after he appeared to punch Burgess. Chester came into the game more later in the second half and Billy Turley was forced to make a fine save to deny substitute Mark Beesley.

Chester pushed hard for an equaliser but the Rushden Defence stood firm, and it was the home side who looked the most likely to score. On 75 minutes Brady was just over with a header after another fine cross by teenager Burgess. Rushden came with a late rally and the Chester Defence was under siege in the final 10 minutes, and they were lucky not to concede when Justin Jackson hit the cross bar and Chester Defender Craig Gaunt deflected against his own cross bar. Rushden sealed the game in injury time when Jackson received the ball on the edge of the area in an un-marked position, and he raced on to gleefully shoot home on his debut. He was however booked for his over-indulgent celebrations. Rushden Manager Brian Talbot must have been pleased with the result on the opening day of the season but his side must sustain their attacking play more consistently. Chester Manager Graham Barrow must have been disappointed with his side’s lack lustre performance, although they were depleted with several players out through suspension and injury

Team: Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, Mills, Rodwell, Warburton, Butterworth, Brady, Jackson, Darby, Burgess. Subs: None.

Report courtesy of Sports.com

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