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

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