Rushden & Diamonds 4 Hayes 0

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

31st October 2000 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2568)

Diamonds Scorers: Jackson, Wormull, Sigere (2)

Webmasters MoM: Wormull

Match Report by Stefan

The Diamonds prepared for Saturdays top-of-the-table clash with Yeovil in fine style with a comprehensive win over Hayes at Nene Park. And manager Brian Talbot can be pleased not only with four goals unanswered goals after Saturdays cup exploits but the manner with which his team cruised to victory.

In the end it could have been seven or eight for the home team but it didn’t start that way. Hayes started much the brighter side and for the first 10 minutes the Diamonds were not at the races. Hayes’ Barry Moore had Turley scrambling across his goal from a short corner in the 5th minute but after Jacko struck the bar when one-on-one with the keeper on 13 minutes it was all the Diamonds.

Two minutes later the Diamonds made the vital breakthrough, with Jackson making no mistake this time. With just keeper Hodson to beat he grabbed his 10th league goal of the season, lobbing the onrushing keeper with his left foot. The goal came about from a Hayes attack which Paul Underwood broke down with a well timed tackle and man-of-the-match Simon Wormull collected the ball before delivering the perfect through ball over the Hayes defence for Jackson to run on to.

The Diamonds, probably more relaxed from making the initial breakthrough, began to play some attractive and effective football. A great move in which Gary Butterworth was the main architect resulted in Setchell pulling a golden chance agonisingly wide before the Diamonds grabbed a second through Wormull. A long ball from Turley was chased down by Jackson who in turn found Mustafa on the right hand side. Attempting to penetrate the Hayes left flank he attacked and as the challenges came in the ball kindly broke to Jackson in the box. Remaining composed and alert Jackson found Wormull lurking on the edge of the box and he drilled a right foot shot into keepers right hand corner.

Sigere and Setchell both came close to adding to the Diamonds tally but were thwarted by a mixture of good goalkeeping and resolute defending but on the half hour mark they grabbed number three. From a corner, captain Ray Warburton rose like a salmon and headed the ball powerfully goalwards from no more than 8 yards out. Unfortunately for Warburton the ball struck a Diamonds player standing on the line with no chance of getting out the way. The ball spooned in the air and Jean Michel Sigere was on hand to convert the chance, deserved for Warburtons heroics.

Hodson again denied Setchell from his second in as many games just before half-time and after grabbing his first on Saturday, Setchell certainly has the taste for goals in his new found freedom in a left midfield birth.

Second half keeper Hodson was again kept very busy as both Jackson and Sigere failed to convert chances with just the Hayes keeper to beat. Youngster Gary Mills presented Jackson with another golden opportunity to score as the ball broke to the striker in space in the area after Mills attacking run from the half-way line, but again he couldn’t get the better of Hodson.

Midway through the second half the Diamonds, not surprisingly, eased up a little, but it was more a case of them losing concentration than Hayes getting more a grip of the game. When losing the ball the Diamonds battled and won it back denying the opposition any easy way to goal.

The increased involvement of Tarkan Mustafa second half excited the home fans and it was one of his trademark forrays down the right hand side and a pin point cross which led to Sigere grabbing his second of the night and his fourth in five games with a magnificent diving header.

The Diamonds closed their account for the evening with the only blemish being that they squandered awful lot of chances. A commodity which is unlikely to be as plentiful on Saturday against league leaders Yeovil. As for Hayes, their consolation is that in central defender Dominic Sterling, they have a very promising star for the future.

Team: 1.Turley 2. Mustafa 3. Underwood [Burgess] 4. Mills 5. Rodwell 6. Warburton [Peters] 7. Butterworth 8. Wormull 9. Jackson [Town] 10. Sigere 11. Setchell


Rushden & Diamonds 5 Grantham 4

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

FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round

28th October 2000 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2685)

Rushden Team: Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, McElhatton, Peters, Warburton, Wormull, Carey, Jackson, Sigere, Setchell.
Substitutes: Town, Brady, Rodwell, Butterworth, Naylor

Diamonds Scorers: McElhatton (2), Underwood, Jackson, Setchell

Webmasters MoM: McElhatton

Rushden & Diamonds made very hard work of the opposition in this thrilling encounter at Nene Park.

All credit to Grantham who unlike many visitors to the Diamonds home, attacked and pressed for 90 minutes and duly went ahead after 10 minutes. Gary Bull, Grantham’s outstanding player on the day, played a simple through ball to striker Ricky Ranshaw and he slid the ball past the on-rushing Billy Turley.

This brought the slow starting Diamonds to life and it was midweek hero Michael McElhatton who grabbed his second goal in as many games, heading powerfully past keeper Ziccardi after good work from Paul Underwood.

In a first half in which you couldn’t take your eyes of the action for fear of missing something, Grantham’s reply was swift and gifted in some respects. Keeper Billy Turley slid out to collect the ball at the feet of Bull but due to the slickness of the pitch, his momentum carried his whole body, and the ball, well out of the box. Turley was only booked for this unlucky misdemeanour but was punished further by Jim Neil who placed the ball with his left foot into Turley’s right corner, asking questions of the positioning of the wall.

Diamonds response was instant with Underwood forcing a great save from Ziccardi and from the resulting corner Peters headed against the underside of the bar. Ziccardi saved again when one-on-one with Jackson and Sigere had a goal ruled out for off-side, deflecting Wormull’s shot just inside the post. In between this Ricky Ranshaw missed a free header from 6 yards for Grantham.

Grantham couldn’t hold out for long though, and on 28 minutes Jackson was brought down with just the keeper to beat and from the resulting penalty, Paul Underwood despatched the ball into the top corner for his first of the season.

Grantham fought back to win a succession of corners but on 36 minutes they overcommitted and were punished by counter attacking of the highest calibre from the Diamonds. Turley collected a cross, fed the ball to Mustafa who galloped forward before finding Jackson. Like so many times this season he held the ball up before switching play beautifully to the other flank where Michael McElhatton was ominously waiting. Taking the ball to the by-line the midfielder cut inside his man before striking a right foot shot hard and low past keeper Ziccardi.

Diamonds continued to press and their football improved. Sigere nearly polished off a class move between himself Wormull and Settle, and Jack was foiled again when one-on-one with the keeper.

Second half lived up to the first with Grantham again taking the game to the Diamonds and they were rewarded early-on through a near post header from Tim Wilkes, squeezing the ball just inside the post from a corner.

Diamonds reply was swift yet again with Mustafa finding Jackson in the box with a pinpoint pass and the striker made now mistake this time, despatching the ball into the top corner.

Jackson was involved in the Diamonds fifth goal as well. After being put through buy Wormull he unselfishly pulled the ball back to Setchell arriving at pace and he placed a left foot shot with venom from the edge of the box, giving Ziccardi little hope.

Grantham grabbed a late consolation goal through Dave Taylor, which in all honesty gave a better reflection of how the game went.

Manager Brian Talbot commented afterwards, “It could have been 7-7 today. It was an excellent game and a typical cup-tie which nearly caused an upset. All credit to Grantham because they attacked and worked hard making it an excellent game for the neutral supporter but not for me as the manager.

There were 6 changes from the team who played last Saturday but we have games coming thick and fast so the squad is important.”

See here for video highlights of this game.

Morecambe 1 Rushden & Diamonds 2

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

21st October 2000 – Christie Park

Diamonds Scorers: Sigere

Match Report by Stefan

The Diamonds crashed to only their second defeat of the season at Morecambe, paying the price for a lack lustre first 45 minutes at Christie Park. Two first half goals were enough to give Morecambe the advantage they needed as they spent much of the second half defending resolutely as the Diamonds searched for an equaliser. It was not to come, however, and in the end Morecambe were good value for the three points which lifted them away from the bottom three in the conference table.

The Diamonds started brightly with Jon Brady missing a glorious chance after only two minutes when he saw his shot well saved by former Diamond, Mark Smith. And Smith was back in action again six minutes later to produce a stunning save from ex-Morecambe goal hero Justin Jackson. From there, however, it was the home side who dominated the first half with some flowing football. Julian Dowe was unlucky not to break the deadlock on 19 minutes with a fierce shot from the edge of the area which beat Billy Turley but crashed against the underside of the crossbar.

Morecambe were not to be denied for long however as they took the lead on 27 minutes. Ryan-Zico Black drilled in a corner from the left which flew across the face of the six yard box before Phil Eastwood tapped in the loose ball at the far post. Morecambe continued to press with Turley saving superbly from Dowe on two occasions and John Hardiker volleying against the foot of the post before Morecambe added a second, eight minutes from the break. Steve Walters curled in a left foot shot from the edge of the box which Turley did well to parry, but the ball rebounded into the path of Black who made no mistake from eight yards out.

The second half saw Diamonds increase their work-rate with Ray Warburton and Gary Mills both going close before they reduced the arrears with a stunning effort on 54 minutes from substitute Jean Michel Sigere. On for Duane Darby, who pulled a hamstring after 20 minutes, Siggy¹ let fly with a superb 35-yard drive which flew into the top left hand corner of Mark Smith’s goal. Minutes later Smith produced a superb double save in beating away a Jackson header and then reacting well again to save at the feet of the busy Jackson.

Morecambe responded by hitting the woodwork for a third time through Walters before the Diamonds dominated the final stages. Two minutes from time Jim Rodwell headed narrowly over, and the visitors had a great chance to equalise three minutes into injury time when substitute Paul Underwood, on for Gary Setchell, headed horribly over the bar when unmarked at the far post.

Rushden & Diamonds 0 Boston United 0

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

8rd October 2000 – Nene Park (Attendance: 4570)

Webmasters MoM: Turley

Match Report by Conference News

Rushden and Diamonds got a valuable point after Tuesdays disappointing defeat at Leigh RMI, battling to a 0-0 draw at home to Boston. In a scrappy affair, in which neither side took control nor created any real clear-cut chances the Diamonds managed to get the ball in the Boston net twice, but were thwarted on both occasions by a linesman’s flag. After just 6 minutes sponsors man of the match, Jon Brady, volleyed home from close range from a Gary Butterworth cross but was deemed off side.

In probably their only good footballing attack of the game after half an hour, the Diamonds worked the ball well down the right hand side through Mustafa, Darby and Jackson before Jackson found Mills in space on the edge of the area, but he blasted his effort well over.

The game lacked any sort of rhythm and the referee’s constant use of the whistle did not help in any way. The Diamonds were further hindered on 62 minutes when top scorer Duane Darby was sent off for Violent conduct in an off the ball incident. From this point on the Diamonds offered very little in terms of pressure or goal mouth chances. Jackson worked tirelessly as a lone striker but was restricted to one telling shot all afternoon.

However in injury time, Boston should have snatched all three points as Charlery turned the Diamonds defence, his cross shot parried by Billy Turley but somehow, through a combination of poor finishing, Gary Setchell heroics and his own player, ex-Diamonds Mark Rawle failed to put the ball into the empty net.

Manager Brian Talbot commented afterwards, “I am not disappointed with my team today. Although the performance was not the most attractive they battled well in a hard fought game”

1.Turley 2. Mustafa 3. Setchell 4. Mills 5. Rodwell 6. Warburton 7. Butterworth 8. Brady 9. Jackson 10. Darby 11. Burgess [Collins]

Rushden & Diamonds 1 Hereford United 0

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

8rd October 2000 – Nene Park (Attendance: 4188)

Diamonds Scorers: Jackson

Webmasters MoM: Jackson

Match Report by Stefan

A second red card in as many games for striker Duane Darby took the shine off a wonderful 1-0 win for the Diamonds in this top-of-the-table clash.

Darby can consider himself very hard done by as he was dismissed for two yellow cards, one for jumping in front of a thrower and the other for a challenge in which he seemed to win the ball fairly. Even so the Diamonds battled on and produced one of their best performances so far this season.

In a fervent atmosphere exacerbated by a pre-game call for increased encouragement from midfield hero Michael McElhatton, the Diamonds started impressively. Duane Darby, determined to go out in style before serving a suspension, volleyed over from a Setchell cross and then penetrated well down the left, breaking through a couple of challenges, before having his cross to strike partner Jackson cleared for a corner.

Jacko played his own part in the Diamonds next incisive attack, holding the ball up well on the right, he switched play magnificently, driving a 40 yard pass to Burgess on the other wing. The young winger bore down on goal before rifling a left foot shot inches wide of Simon Cooksey’s right hand post.

Hereford offered very little in terms of goal mouth chances in this very tight affair but in all honesty chances were a priceless commodity for both sides. Youngsters Michael McIndoe and Gavin Williams were lively and full of pace while Striker Robin Elmes needed to be kept under guard especially in aerial situations. And it was one such situation, after 25 minutes, from which Hereford had their best chance, McIndoe delivering a beautifully flighted free-kick into the box and finding Elmes whose downward header was well saved by Turley and the ball cleared.

After a half time marriage proposal in which the Home support added their blessings, humorously chanting,’you don’t know what your doing’ it was Hereford who started the brighter. McIndoe and Williams were at the heart of all things good that came from the Hereford offensive yet still, clear cut chances were hard to come by.

Finally at the other end the Diamonds created a scoring chance. Burgess with a moment of brilliance, switched the ball inside to Jackson, who found himself surprisingly unmarked. Jackson with only the keeper to beat rounded him and just squeezed the ball past defender Ian Wright who thought he had the goal covered.

Minutes later Jackson nearly sent the boisterous crowd delirious again, this time being put through by an equally exquisite ball from Gary Mills, Jackson blasted the ball goalwards rattling the cross bar after Keeper Cooksey got the slightest and most important of touches.

Darby left the field after 68 minutes to a round of applause but the Diamonds’ 10 men refused to buckle under the pressure which inevitably came their way. The excitement increased ten-fold as Hereford tried to make their advantage pay and Diamonds tried to hit them on the break as Hereford over-committed in attack.

Mills, breaking from the half-way line, broke through 2 or 3 challenges but after composing himself with just Cooksey to beat, he gave the keeper a relatively simple save. This was a shame as a goal would have capped a very fine performance from the youngster. With 2 minutes left Hereford had a corner and with nearly all 22 men in the Diamonds box or around it the ball dropped into a melee of players. Striker Williams reacted quickest and acrobatically directed a shot goalwards from 6 yards. Heading for the top corner Keeper Billy Turley undoubtedly saved his side 2 points with an amazing and instinctive save, tipping the ball over to the Delight of the Nene Park faithful.

Manager Brian Talbot commented afterwards, “I thought the lads were magnificent today. They battled well and out-fought a very good side. The crowd were brilliant and lifted the team superbly. All-in-all a satisfying afternoon.”

Team: 1.Turley 2.Mustafa 3.Setchell 4.Mills 5.Rodwell 6.Warburton 7.Butterworth 8.Brady 9.jackson 10.Darby 11.Burgess

Leigh RMI 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

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

3rd October 2000

Webmasters MoM:

Match Report by Conference News

Last night, In a blustery northern rugby league stadium, Diamonds surrendered their unbeaten start to the season to a battling Leigh RMI side. Many pundits predicted pre-game that this would be the Diamonds sternest test so far due to the weather conditions, the character of the side and comparatively mediocre facilities to what the away side are accustomed to and it proved to be just that.

The Diamonds should have been behind in the first minute as the ball dropped to Ridings in acres of space on the edge of the area but he volleyed his effort skywards after the ball was poorly cleared. Set up by young winger Steve Jones it was clear from the outset that he would be the dangerman due to his pace and ability to run at the Diamonds defence.

In a poor footballing encounter it was 15 minutes before the Diamonds offered any form of attack, being restricted to two dangerous but unconverted crosses from each winger. Surprisingly it was Leigh who played the better football and when not in possession they hurried and harrassed the Diamonds midfield into many uncharacteristic mistakes. However on 26 minutes the Diamonds had their only chance of the first half, Jacko being put through down the left hand side in space. With strike partner Darby arriving in the centre a goal looked a certainty but Jacko’s cross was far too close to keeper Felgate and the opportunity had gone. Sadly for Diamonds fans this was probably the keepers solitary involvement in this non-event.

Although Leigh were restricted to a wayward shot from Black and a deflected Setchell header dropping onto the roof of the net they were by far the better side. On the stroke of halftime the Diamonds put together their only passing move of the game culminating in Butterworth shooting fractionally over.

Second half Leigh again failed to take their chances, Black forcing Turley to tip over within a minute of the restart. Fans expecting Diamonds to come out an improved package in the second half were disappointed as they gave the ball away time after time under intense pressure from the home team. Leigh in fact had even more of the game second half and Turley saved with his legs instinctively from Scott and Kielty shot wide with just the keeper to beat. With 20 minutes to go the Diamonds goal was under siege and unable to clear on several occasions the Diamonds left Jones unmarked in the box and when the ball fell to him he finished well, calmly slotting the ball into the bottom corner from 8 yards.

Towards the end the Sigere replaced Burgess but even a three man attack could do no damage. The Diamonds were poor in too many areas and so the service just wasn’t there. Sigere did head a good chance over from a Setchell cross under pressure, but if they had equalised it would have been a grave injustice to Leigh indeed, who battled all night and basically out-fought the Diamonds.

Manager Brian Talbot commented afterwards, “We were poor and got what we deserved tonight. In the second half we didn’t force the keeper to make a save and were out-battled which is very disappointing. This is the worst performance this season by far.”

Diamonds Team: 1. Turley 2. Mustafa 3. Setchell 4. Carey [Mills] 5. Rodwell 6. Warburton 7. Butterworth 8. Brady 9. Jackson 11. Burgess [Sigere]

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