Rushden & Diamonds 5 Hednesford Town 1

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

16th December 2000 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2,906)

Diamonds Scorers: Brady, Sigere (2), Darby (2)

Webmasters MoM: Sigere

Match Report by Chris

Two goals apiece from Duane Darby and Jean-Michel Sigere helped Diamonds to an easy victory over Hednesford Town at Nene Park on Saturday afternoon. Diamonds made three changes from the team that beat Hayes. Goalkeeper Billy Turley, skipper Ray Warburton and striker Justin Jackson were all suspended so Mark Peters and Sigere were recalled while on-loan keeper Kristian Rogers made his debut in goal. Jim Rodwell passed a late fitness test. Hednesford included former Diamond midfielder Mark Cooper while Goalkeeper Mark Gayle was serving the last of his three game suspension. A minute’s silence was held before the game in memory of three Nuneaton fans tragically killed on their way back from an F.A. Cup game at Bournemouth. The silence was immaculately observed by both sets of supporters.

The visitors produced the first real attack of the game in the second minute when Jim Rodwell was forced to head behind for a corner following a move between player-manager Neil Pointon and Micky Norbury.

Indecision at the other end between Mark Haran and keeper Stuart Ford ended with the defender hooking the ball away for a throw in. Moments later, referee Steve Chittenden began the first of a series of discussions with Norbury after the striker made a comment too many. Diamonds engineered a superb move on 6 minutes, which almost produced a goal. Darby controlled and shielded the ball well in the middle of the park before laying the ball off to Jon Brady. The Australian galloped forward before getting in a cross which Sigere headed just over the bar. Ten minutes later, Diamonds were in front. Darby was fouled 20 yards out by Russell Bradley and Brady stepped up to hit a spectacular free kick into the left-hand top corner of the net.

Sigere broke clear of the Hednesford defence moments later but his attempted lob over the keeper went narrowly wide. On 19 minutes, Andy Burgess found Shaun Carey in space and his long-range effort was deflected for a corner. From the resultant flag kick, Gary Mills’ shot went high over the bar.

Five minutes later, Diamonds were awarded another free kick in a dangerous position. Up stepped Brady again but this time his 25-yard effort dipped just over the bar. By this time, the visitors had rarely threatened Rogers’ goal and the young keeper was only forced into his first real save after 27 minutes. Norbury’s pass beat the offside trap but Neil Davis shot weakly at the target. Six minutes later Norbury headed a corner wide.

The game was starting to overheat with tempers beginning to fray. Norbury received a yellow card for a bad challenge on Peters, while referee Chittendon handed out several lectures in response to dissent from the visitors. Bradley received a final warning for talking out of turn. Norbury and Mills were then spoken to after the two tangled. Right on the stroke of half – time, Sigere made a great run only to produce a tame shot.

The second half was only four minutes old when Diamonds went two goals ahead. Carey received a throw in on the left from Brady and Sigere expertly controlled the cross with his chest before side footing the ball home.

After 56 minutes, Bradley blocked Rodwell’s diving header, from Brady’s corner. However, two minutes later the home side scored again. Darby put Ford under pressure and he attempted to deal with yet another good cross from Brady. The keeper’s attempted punch went only as far as Burgess and the youngster instinctively picked out Sigere who headed over a defender and into the roof of the net. Hednesford pulled a goal back on 61 minutes when Norbury headed home Cooper’s left wing corner but it wasn’t long before Diamonds were on the score sheet again. Darby raced onto Sigere’s 70th minute flick header and coolly lobbed the advancing keeper from 25 yards.

Five minutes later, Darby picked up his second and Diamonds fifth. Brady found Sigere in acres of space just inside the penalty area and although the Frenchman completely sliced his shot with a hat trick beckoning, the ball fell invitingly to Darby who side footed the ball into the empty net.

Diamonds made three substitutions near the end. Darren Bradshaw and Gary Setchell replaced Rodwell and Darby on 81 minutes while 5 minutes later Gary Butterworth came on for Sigere. At the death, the visitors could have pulled a goal back through Scott Bonsall but the substitute missed an absolute sitter.

This was an emphatic victory for Diamonds who next travel to Kingstonian on Tuesday for the Quarter Finals of the Nationwide Variety Club Trophy. Over the festive period, Diamonds have back to back games against Nuneaton.

Diamonds Team: Rogers, Mustafa, Underwood, Mills, Rodwell, Peters, Carey, Brady, Sigere, Darby, Burgess. Subs: Town, Bradshaw (for Rodwell), Butterworth (for Sigere), Setchell (for Darby), Iga.

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