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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