Dover Athletic 4 Rushden & Diamonds 1

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

2nd December 2000 – The Crabble Athletic Ground (Attendance: 1,407)

Diamonds Scorers: Underwood

Webmasters MoM: Jackson

Match Report by Chris

Rushden & Diamonds slipped to their sixth consecutive away defeat as they suffered their first ever Conference defeat at The Crabble.

Diamonds made 6 changes from the side that lost in midweek at Barnet. Billy Turley and Jon Brady both returned from suspension and replaced Stuart Naylor and John Hamsher while David Town replaced the injured Jean ­ Michel Sigere up front. Wholesale changes were made to the midfield with only Tarkan Mustafa retaining his place. Gary Butterworth and Sean Carey returned from injury while Paul Underwood slotted into the left-hand side of midfield. Andy Burgess and Gary Mills dropped down to the substitute bench while Gary Setchell was omitted. Darren Bradshaw and Mark Sale joined on loan keeper Andy Iga on the substitute bench.

Dover had the first main attack of the game when debutant Danny Hockton beat two defenders and shot past Turley but the heavy goalmouth stopped the ball from going over the line.

Diamonds first chance came in the fourth minute when Dover keeper Paul Hyde fumbled Brady¹s free kick but Lee Shearer was on hand to clear.

Minutes later Justin Jackson was sent clear down the right but his cross-missed everyone and the ball bounced out for a throw-in.

Diamonds missed a great chance to take the lead in the 19th minute. Brady¹s free kick was cleared to Mark Peters who shot over over from close range.

In the 28th minute, Jackson was fouled by Danny Chapman on the edge of the penalty area but Brady¹s free kick sailed over the top. One-minute later Dover were ahead. Joss Vansittart found himself in a wide position on the left and then delivered a fine cross that Jimmy Strouts headed home from six yards.

In the 36th minute Rushden came close to equalising. Mustafa outpaced Steve Norman and when the cross came into the penalty area, nobody was available to put the ball away.

The home side doubled their advantage just before the half-time whistle with a goal from new signing Hockton. The former Stevenage player beat Carey and Mustafa before unleashing a right foot shot that bounced off the heavily sanded penalty area and into the roof of the net.

Diamonds pulled a goal back in the 53rd minute. New boy Colin Pluck upended Jackson in the area and Underwood sent Hyde the wrong way.

Le Bihan came close to making it 3-1 to Dover on the hour with a spectacular 35-yard chip that dipped over Turley and hit the bar. Sale came on for his first senior appearance in 12 months when he replaced Town.

Five minutes later, Diamonds were reduced to ten men. Vansittart outpaced Jim Rodwell and collided with Turley just outside Rushden¹s penalty area. After both players received several minutes of medical treatment, Turley was stretchered off with a serious looking ankle injury. To add insult to injury, the goalkeeper was shown the red card.

Ray Warburton was sacrificed in defence allowing on loan keeper Iga to make an unexpected debut. Iga was on non­contract terms with Dover last season.

Butterworth made way for Mills on 75 minutes before Dover consolidated their position from another set piece move. From Norman¹s 82nd minute corner, defender Shearer rose to head home at the far post.

Three minutes from time, Hockton made it four for Dover with a fine goal. He collected the ball in the middle of the park and after moving forward, fired a 25-yard shot that gave Iga no chance.

Diamonds team: – Turley, Peters, Rodwell, Warburton, Mustafa, Brady, Carey, Butterworth, Underwood, Town, Jackson

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