Stevenage Borough 0 Rushden & Diamonds 2

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

27th January 2001 – Broadhall Way (Attendance:3,327)

Diamonds Scorers: Darby (2)

Webmaster’s MoM: The Team

Match Report by Chris

Two well-taken goals from Duane Darby gave Diamonds their first ever victory at Broadhall Way after a superb all round team performance. Darby struck twice during a clinical, professional first half performance that could have seen Diamonds going into the interval with a four-goal lead.

Early in the second half, Paul Underwood was sent off for a second bookable offence leaving Diamond fans to look anxiously at their watches but despite Stevenage throwing everything at Diamonds, the visitors defended brilliantly and restricted the home side to just a handful of chances.

Andy Burgess and Jim Rodwell were both suspended so Diamonds were forced to make two changes from the team that beat Hayes in the F.A. Umbro Trophy. Mark Peters and Gary Setchell came into the side while Roy Essandoh and youth team captain Brett Solkhon were named amongst the substitutes.

John Hamsher made his debut for Stevenage against his former teammates. Diamonds stormed into the lead after just five minutes when Darby, unmarked on the right hand edge of the penalty area, drilled home Setchell’s cross past a surprised Chris Taylor. From that moment on, Diamonds dominated the first half with some excellent, incisive football.

Indeed, on 10 minutes, Stevenage produced their only shot of note in the opening 45 minutes. David Phillips stepped up and hit a free kick that Billy Turley did well to parry. Débutante Jason Brissett followed up, but could only find the side netting.

Underwood had to receive treatment for a head injury before Diamonds created the move of the match after 14 minutes. Darby collected a pass from Garry Butterworth and played a clever back-heel into the path of Justin Jackson.

Although the striker’s shot was blocked, the ball fell to Jon Brady who unfortunately couldn’t finish the move off. Six minutes later, Darby was the provider again but this time Brady saw two efforts blocked. Underwood received a yellow card on 28 minutes for a foul on Richard Leadbeater before Diamonds scored a second a minute later. Darby ran onto Shaun Carey’s defence-splitting pass and punished the static Stevenage defence by finding the net at the second attempt.

Diamonds were posing all kinds of problems for the Stevenage defence and looked as though they would score every time they moved forward. Underwood was just wide of the post with a long-range effort while Mark Smith had to clear a Jackson effort off the line after he¹d beaten two defenders due to sheer pace.

As one would expect, Stevenage came out after the interval with renewed enthusiasm and Billy Turley turned a Dean Martin shot round the post after combining with Leadbeater. But the mood of the game changed after 49 minutes. Underwood upended Martin, as he moved down the right, leaving referee Brand with no option other than to show the red card for two bookable offences.

Diamonds switched Setchell to left back and moved Jackson out to the left as they prepared to defend their two-goal lead. After failing to make any real impression, the home side responded by bringing on leading scorer Darran Hay and moving to a three-man defence.

On 63 minutes, a bad back pass from Mark Smith almost presented a chance for Jackson but Taylor was off his line well to clear the danger. A few seconds later at the other end, Neil Illman headed over from a Martin cross. By this time, Phillips was beginning to spray passes all over the field as Stevenage enjoyed the majority of the possession. Turley saved a Brissett volley; and then, with the help of the bar, pulled off a brilliant save to deny a deflected shot from Martin. Brissett fired over while a 78th minute header from Illman cannoned back off the bar.

Diamonds made a change after 80 minutes when they took off Darby and handed a debut to Roy Essandoh. By this time, the Diamonds supporters were in good heart and willing their team home. There was a huge cheer when Jackson turned up in the left-back position and produced a great tackle to thwart Martin. Setchell repeated the feat a minute from time when he denied Leadbeater a scoring opportunity after the Stevenage striker had just Turley to beat.

In the dying seconds, Brady found himself all alone with only Taylor in front of him. The Australian went for glory but missed the target.

So a wonderful win for Diamonds who thoroughly deserved this crucial victory. They produced an excellent first half performance and then defended resolutely after being reduced to ten men early in the second period.

Diamonds Team: Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, Carey, Peters, Warburton, Butterworth, Brady, Jackson, Darby, Setchell. Subs: Essandoh, Solkhon, Butcher, Wormull, Naylor.

Hayes 0 Rushden & Diamonds 1

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

FA Umbro Trophy

6th January 2001 – Church Road (Attendance: 750)

Diamonds Scorers: Darby

Webmaster’s MoM: Turley

Match Report by Chris

Diamonds moved into the 4th round of the F.A. Umbro Trophy thanks to Duane Darby’s precise lob 5 minutes before the interval.

This was a typical example of a game of two halves and a tale of two goalkeepers who were in excellent form. With the wind at their backs, Diamonds dominated the first half while Hayes enjoyed more of the advantage in the second period on what was a bitterly cold afternoon.

This was a scrappy match played on a bumpy, unpredictable surface and certainly not one for the football purist. Manager Brian Talbot was able to name an unchanged team for the 4th consecutive match and used the same 16 players that were on duty at Southport last week.

Diamonds produced the first shot of the game when Tarkan Mustafa ended a fine run with a third minute effort that went over the bar. Six minutes later, Diamonds survived a double scare. Errol Telemaque intercepted Jim Rodwell’s back pass but Billy Turley was able to push the shot away. However, the ball fell to Lee Boylan whose cross came back off the bar.

That was the last real attacking threat from Hayes during the first half as Diamonds increased the tempo and began to dominate proceedings. After 19 minutes, the unmarked Darby headed Justin Jackson’s cross over the bar while ten minutes later keeper Paul Gothard made a fine diving save to deny Ray Warburton’s header from Jon Brady’s free kick.

Gothard was being kept busy throughout the opening period and the keeper had to be alert again on 35 minutes. Andy Burgess put in an excellent diagonal cross to Brady on the right and when the Australian cut in, Gothard did well to turn the shot away. Two minutes later, after Jackson was tripped on the edge of the penalty area, Gothard denied Brady again when he pushed the midfielder’s free kick away for a corner.

Diamonds did take the lead in the 40th minute. Gothard cleared the ball up field but only as far as Garry Butterworth. The midfielder played the ball back over the top of the Hayes static defence allowing Duane Darby to run on and coolly lob the advancing keeper from 20 yards for his 13th goal of the season.

Hayes replaced Telemaque with leading scorer Dave Stevens at half time and his introduction seemed to provide the spark that the Middlesex team was looking for. Turley turned Boylan’s 48th minute shot over the bar while six minutes later the same player latched onto Mark Molesley¹s pass but couldn¹t keep his shot down.

Stevens’ first real contribution was to pick up a yellow card after his late challenge on Mustafa but it wasn’t long before Hayes were forcing the pace again as they attacked with the wind in their favour. On the hour, Steve McKimm turned sharply and tested Turley with a long-range effort, which the keeper turned over the bar. From the resultant corner, Turley produced a superb save to claw away a Dean Coppard header.

The home side were having far more of the possession in the second half but were dealt a blow on 64 minutes. Following a wild challenge from Brendan Gallen, manager Terry Brown took exception to the award of a free kick. Referee Yerby tried to calm the situation with a pep talk but Brown continued to complain and was promptly despatched to the stands.

Diamonds had very few attacking opportunities in the second half but from one of them in the 67th minute they almost doubled their lead. Burgess and Paul Underwood combined down the left, Darby fed Jackson but the Hayes defence crowded out the Conference leading scorer as he prepared to shoot.

The remainder of the game belonged to the Diamonds defence as they thwarted any chance of an equaliser. Although Hayes forced ten corners in the second half, they never really created a clear chance at goal. It was, perhaps, ironic that in the dying seconds, Jim Rodwell made a fine saving tackle to deny substitute Dave Stevens as Hayes pressed in vain for an equaliser.

So Diamonds go into the hat for the fourth round and with 9 Conference sides already out of the running this might be Rushden & Diamonds year for the F.A. Umbro Trophy.

Diamonds Team: Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, Carey, Rodwell, Warburton, Butterworth, Brady, Jackson, Darby, Burgess. Subs: Sigere, Peters, Butcher, Setchell, Rogers.

Southport 1 Rushden & Diamonds 3

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

6th January 2001 – Haig Avenue (Attendance: 2,255)

Diamonds Scorers: Jackson (2), Burgess

Webmaster’s MoM: Jackson

Match Report by Andrew

Diamonds earned a vital three points and moved to within four points of Yeovil Town at the top of the Nationwide Conference after two goals from Justin Jackson and one from Andy Burgess earned a 3-1 win against third-placed Southport at Haig Avenue.

For this Conference Match of the Day, Brian Talbot named an unchanged starting line-up for the third consecutive game.

The first 45 minutes was a tale of two goalkeeping errors. Diamonds attempts to establish clear daylight between themselves and their hosts got off to the best possible start after just 13 minutes. The Southport keeper wanted too much time to clear his lines and Justin Jackson was left with an open goal to put Diamonds ahead. However, the lead lasted for just three minutes. Billy Turley failed to gather a cross from the left and Chris Lane was left with the easiest of chances to level the scores.

The most memorable incident of the half came just before the break when Dino Maamria launched himself into a tackle on Tarkan Mustafa that would have looked more at home in a Kung Fu video, but amazingly the referee only gave him a yellow card – see a video of the incident here.

That’s how it remained at half-time despite further chances for both sides, but Diamonds were quickest into their stride after the interval and were back in the lead after 55 minutes thanks to Andy Burgess’s header from a Jackson cross.

The lead was nearly wiped out on the hour mark but a superb goalline clearance from Garry Butterworth kept Diamonds noses in front.

The points were secured four minutes from time when Jackson grabbed his second of the afternoon. Diamonds had been under a bit of pressure but counter-attacked and when Jackson received Duane Darby’s pass he made no mistake.

Diamonds Team: Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, Carey, Rodwell, Warburton, Butterworth, Brady, Jackson, Darby, Burgess. Subs: Sigere, Peters, Butcher, Setchell, Rogers.

Rushden & Diamonds 2 Nuneaton Borough 1

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

1st January 2001 – Nene Park (Attendance: 4,080)

Diamonds Scorers: Brady, Darby

Webmasters MoM: Brady

Match Report by Chris

Diamonds earned three vital points when they overcame a plucky Nuneaton side at Nene Park thanks to a Duane Darby goal seven minutes from time. Diamonds kept the same side that earned a point at Manor Park on Boxing Day while the visitors were still without leading scorer Marc McGregor.

Nuneaton opened brightly and had the first shot of the game on 3 minutes when Shaun Wray shot across the face of the goal. Within a minute, Diamonds created their first chance when Darby’s pass sent Justin Jackson clear of the Nuneaton defence. However, as the striker tried to round the keeper, Chris MacKenzie got down to push the ball away.

A fine Rushden move almost brought a goal on 12 minutes. Jackson headed Brady’s right wing cross across the face of the goal but with the keeper beaten, Andy Burgess spooned the ball wide. An overhead kick from Lee Charles went over the bar while at the other end MacKenzie palmed Shaun Carey’s long range shot away for a corner.

On 24 minutes, there was a let off for Diamonds when Alex Sykes forced his way past Tarkan Mustafa but his shot hit the crossbar. Immediately, the game took a dramatic turn. Terry Angus and MacKenzie were involved in a defensive mix up which saw Nuneaton’s keeper handle the ball outside his own penalty area. A red card was the only option open to referee Williamson and the visitors were reduced to ten men. Nuneaton immediately took off Mark Taylor who was replaced by substitute goalkeeper Ryan Young.

Diamonds made Nuneaton pay dearly for MacKenzie’s error as Young’s first job was to pick the ball out of the net. The substitute keeper was well beaten by a spectacular Jon Brady free kick similar to the one the Australian struck against Hednesford three weeks ago.

On 34 minutes, Tarkan Mustafa’s cross gave Burgess the chance for a header which landed on the roof of the net while a minute later the teenager’s 20-yard shot went narrowly wide. The impressive Sykes flashed a header wide from Jason Peake’s cross. Sykes almost broke clear on 41 minutes but Brady was alert to the danger with a great challenge.

The game was somewhat similar to the Boxing Day match when Diamonds created several clear-cut chances. From one such chance on the stroke of half time, Jackson got clear of the defence again but Young was able to knock the ball off the striker’s feet. Peake was high and wide with a shot for Nuneaton early in the second half, Mustafa then shot into the goalkeeper¹s midriff before Jackson shot wide from Darby’s lay off.

Despite being down to ten men, the visitors attacked with purpose as they pulled out all the stops to get an equaliser. This duly arrived on 50 minutes with a well-taken goal. Shaun Wray won the ball midway inside Diamonds half and set Sykes free on the left. The former Forest Green Rovers man ran on and hit a strong drive into the left-hand corner of the net.

Brady was inches wide with a 25-yard shot on 56 minutes while seven minutes later the same player saw a free kick saved by Young. A minute later, Mustafa couldn’t quite get Garry Butterworth’s pass under control and shot wide from a good position. Diamonds were now dominating the game as the visitors tired. On 70 minutes, Brady headed over from Paul Underwood’s cross while Peake almost caught Turley out with a cross come lob.

Brady’s header from Burgess’ 73rd minute cross was cleared off the line by Angus before Mustafa was wide with a long range shot Ten minutes from time, Butterworth cut out a potential defence splitting pass from Charles but it wasn’t too long before Diamonds scored the winner. Brady’s right wing cross was headed across the face of the goal by Burgess leaving the unmarked Darby to poke the ball into the left-hand corner of the net from 6 yards.

So three important points at the start of the New Year, which extends Diamonds unbeaten run to four games. Full credit must go to the players for persevering against a dogged Nuneaton side who played for more than an hour with ten men. The next game is on Saturday 6th January when Diamonds visit Southport to face Mark Wright’s side in a crucial top of the table clash.

Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, Carey, Rodwell, Warburton, Butteworth, Brady, Jackson, Darby, Burgess. Subs: Sigere, Peters, Butcher, Setchell, Rogers.

%d bloggers like this: