Forest Green Rovers 2 Rushden & Diamonds 0

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

FA Umbro Trophy, Fifth Round

24th February 2001 – The Lawn (Attendance: 1,018)

Webmaster / Reporters MOM: Ray Warburton

Match Report by Chris

Diamonds can now concentrate on the Conference after they crashed out of the F.A. Umbro Trophy at The Lawn.

Two first-half goals from Nathan Lightbody and Martin Foster, later described by Brian Talbot as “2 strikes good enough to win any game”, sealed the win for a Forest Green side that had already held Diamonds to two draws in the Conference meetings this season.

As expected, Brian Talbot named the same team that beat Northwich Victoria on Tuesday night. There was one change on the substitutes bench with 18-year-old Robert Duffy replacing Roy Essandoh.

Diamonds started the game the brightest and after Duane Darby and Justin Jackson missed half chances, the visitors had a couple of good early opportunities. A fine five-man move ended with Duane Darby turning his marker but his right-foot shot on 10 minutes was superbly palmed away by Steve Perrin.

The ‘keeper had been the thorn in Diamonds side in the recent league match and he denied Darby again five minutes later from an almost identical position. Leon Cort missed Ray Warburton’s punt up field but Perrin again parried Darby’s shot although only into the path of Justin Jackson. However the striker was unable to capitalise and a clear chance went begging.

A Jackson lob beat the keeper but lacked direction before Forest Green broke the deadlock with their first real shot on target. Referee Castle cautioned Garry Butterworth for dissent and the resultant free kick led to a Rovers corner in the 25th minute. Billy Turley failed to pick up the flight of the ball in the sun and his attempted punch fell to Nathan Lightbody who shot home from the edge of the penalty area.

The lead was doubled nine minutes later when Stuart Slater slipped the ball to Martin Foster, and from 25 yards out he struck a fine shot past Turley.

The only other incident of note prior to the interval was on 35 minutes when Gary Setchell and Chris Burns were booked after the Diamonds defender was penalised for a foul.

The second half was just seconds old when Garry Butterworth fired a volley just inches wide from a Jon Brady cross. That was the last action for the Australian who was substituted after 53 minutes and replaced by Simon Wormull.

Tony Daley cut inside and shot over while Gary Setchell was off target with a header on the hour.

There was very little action of note in the middle part of the half. Brian Talbot took off Garry Butterworth after 68 minutes and introduced Robert Duffy. Richard Butcher came on for Jackson 5 minutes from time but it was all to no avail. Diamonds went for broke and finished the game playing Mustafa, Warburton and Butcher in defence with Mark Peters pushed into an emergency striker role.

Indeed it was the home side who were more likely to extend their lead as they exploited the large holes in the Diamonds rearguard. On three occasions just before the final whistle, Turley had to spread himself to deny Meechan.

So, to use an old footballing phrase, Diamonds can now concentrate on the league, but they will be disappointed to have seen their F.A. Umbro Trophy campaign come to such a conclusion after such a disappointing performance.

Indeed, Brian Talbot pulled no punches after the game. “It was a poor performance from us. On the day we got what we deserved. There are some broken reputations and as I said to the players, they set their own standards over the past two months and we’ve been first class. Today they’ve let themselves down and the club. We haven’t played well as a team and certain individuals haven’t played well and that’s why we’re out of the cup. We’ve got to pick ourselves up from this and it will be interesting to see how we go about our business next Saturday”.

Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Setchell, Carey, Peters, Warburton, Butterworth, Brady, Jackson, Darby, Burgess. Subs: Duffy (for Butterworth-68), Rodwell, Butcher (for Jackson-85), Wormull (for Brady-53), Naylor. Full match report on-line Monday.

Corby Town 2 Rushden & Diamonds 4

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

Northants F.A. Hillier Senior Cup Semi-Final

21st February 2001 – Rockingham Triangle (Attendance: 154)

Diamonds: Bertocchi, Solkhon, Talbot, Duffy, Rodwell, Dempster, Wormull, Butcher, Sale, Essandoh, Rowlett. Subs: Gordon, Pilgrim, Haughton.

Diamonds Scorers: Duffy, Sale & Wormull (2)

Webmaster MoM: Butcher

Match Report

Diamonds moved into the final of this season’s Northants F.A. Hillier Senior Cup when they defeated Corby Town 4-2 at Rockingham Triangle on Wednesday night.

Robert Duffy and Mark Sale gave Diamonds a two-goal advantage but the home side reduced the arrears before the interval.

Simon Wormull extended the lead again early in the second half but a resolute Corby side made it 3-2 eight minutes from time. However, in the 90th minute, and just seconds after Corby had appeals for a penalty of their own turned down by the referee, Luke Rowlett was upended in the Corby area and Wormull made no mistake from the penalty spot to seal the win.

Diamonds now face the winners of the other semi-final between Kettering Town and S&L Corby, which is being played next Tuesday (27th).

Rushden & Diamonds 2 Northwich Victoria 1

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

20th February 2001 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2820)

Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Setchell, Carey, Peters, Warburton, Butterworth, Brady, Jackson, Darby, Burgess. Subs: Essandoh, Rodwell, Butcher, Wormull, Naylor.

Diamonds Scorers: Darby, Jackson.

Webmaster MoM: Darby

Match Report by Chris

Diamonds returned to the top of the Conference following a narrow win over battling Northwich Victoria.

As the fans saluted another fine team performance, there were good news to cheer as the electronic scoreboard confirmed that Yeovil had gone down at home to Dagenham & Redbridge.

Brian Talbot made the one expected change to the side that started against Scarborough on Saturday with Gary Setchell replacing the injured Paul Underwood. Richard Butcher regained his place on the substitutes’ bench.

Jon Brady got in a testing cross early on before Justin Jackson tested Lance Key in the 13th minute after making good ground on the left. Northwich replied with a Richard Norris free kick that skidded off Ray Warburton¹s head and away for a corner.

It was a game of few clear-cut chances and Diamonds had to wait until midway through the first half before making the breakthrough. A neat one-two between Jackson and Darby allowed Jackson the chance to shoot from the edge of the area. Key could only fumble the shot and Darby pounced to fire home the rebound for his 18th goal of the season.

To the delight of the 60 travelling supporters, the lead lasted just three minutes though as Mark Bailey rose above the Diamonds defence to power home Mark Devlin’s cross.

On 28 minutes, Diamonds came within inches of regaining the lead when Jackson hit the bar after easing round a defender. Eight minutes later, Garry Butterworth saw a long range shot saved at the second attempt by Key but the midfielder defence splitting pass did set up Diamonds second goal moments later. Jackson was able race clear of the Northwich defence and, after rounding the keeper, he slid the ball home to restore the lead.

Gary Setchell had a shot well saved after being fed by Andy Burgess before Jackson couldn’t get any direction on a header following an excellent cross from Darby. As the first half came to a close, Butterworth found Darby in space but the striker’s shot was wide of the left-hand upright.

The second half was as tight as the first with the visitors pushing forward at every opportunity. Northwich almost got back on level terms when Devlin headed over following a teasing cross from Bailey. At the other end, Burgess’ instinctive volley was superbly turned away by key diving to his left.

Unmarked Adie Mike missed a golden chance for Northwich on 61 minutes when his bullet header was directed straight into Billy Turley’s arms. Darby nearly got his second of the night when he fired over after a neat turn. By the middle of the half, Diamonds were in control and while another goal would have put the game beyond doubt, they never really looked in trouble as the defence kept up their impressive recent form. Chances were at a premium and the only other real shot of note came in the dying minutes when Jackson¹s curling shot was well tipped around the post by Key.

So as Darby and Jackson both helped themselves to their 18th goal of the season, Diamonds maintained their unbeaten run in 2001 and have now gone 9 games undefeated. On Saturday, Rushden take a break from Conference league action when they visit Forest Green Rovers in the last 16 of the F A Umbro Trophy.

Speaking after the game, Brian Talbot agreed that it was a good end to a day that had started with the news about Paul Underwood’s enforced lay-off. “It’s always disappointing when one of your best players gets injured and is going to be out for six weeks, but that is part of football and you have to accept it and get on with it. Gary Setchell came in tonight and did a good job for us. Tonight has been a difficult match for us, but we battled hard and defended their bombardment of long balls very well. I think our good spell, which we had in the first half for about 20 minutes, has won us the match.” The manager was also pleased to see his twin strikeforce of Duane Darby and Justin Jackson on the scoresheet..

“Both of the main strikers are carrying little niggling injuries, but we want them on the pitch. We need them playing, they’re an asset to us, and they lead us very well. They work hard and complement each other. All we want to do is keep players fit and healthy get them back on the pitch week-in, week-out.

“It was a sloppy goal that we conceded, but I can’t be too critical because we’ve gone 6 games now and only conceded the one goal. But the manner of the goal was disappointing. They put it into the box and we stopped playing for a fraction because we thought that the ball had gone out of play, but you’ve got to play to the referee’s whistle. They got the cross in and we were a little bit asleep. It means then that we’ve got to work hard again to get back in front, and all credit to the players because they did.

“It was a tremendous ball from Garry Butterworth and Jackson was on it like a flash. I thought the keeper didn’t realise how quick Jackson is, especially when he took it round him pretty easily and stuck it into the back of the net.” Yet despite Diamonds’ return to the Conference summit, Brian is keeping everyone’s feet firmly on the ground.
“We can’t get carried away after gaining three points and Yeovil losing three. We are top of the league but there’s a long way to go yet and it’s going to be hard. We’ve got 13 games left and we’ve got to win a lot more games yet to get the required points we think we need to win it. At the moment they’re still favourites, they’ve got two games in hand, but looking back to a few weeks ago, if they’d have won their two games in hand, we would have gone 13 points behind. Now if they win their games in hand, they will only be six points ahead, but we’ve still got to play them. So it’s getting closer and closer and the sooner they get their two extra games played and we’re still above them, the better.”

Rushden & Diamonds 1 Scarborough United 0

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

17th February 2001 – Nene Park (Attendance:3,553)

Diamonds Scorers: Burgess

Webmaster’s MoM: Burgess

Match Report by Andrew

Andy Burgess’s eighth goal of the season gave Diamonds three hard-earned points against a resolute Scarborough at Nene Park on Saturday afternoon.

Victory was no more than Diamonds deserved as they completely dominated the match from start to finish. Indeed, had Andy Woods not performed such heroics in the Scarborough goal, the game may have been out of sight before the interval.

Brian Talbot made the one expected change to the Diamonds line-up with Paul Underwood returning in place of Gary Setchell. Setchell dropped down to the bench with Richard Butcher missing out.

Referee Ian Williamson was first into action when he cautioned Denny Ingram inside two minutes after the visiting skipper had been beaten for pace by Andy Burgess. In fact it was Burgess who had the first real shot of the game on 13 minutes when he tried to chip Woods from 25 yards.

Ten minutes later, Mark Peters glanced a header wide from a Burgess corner before Ray Warburton, on the edge of the penalty area, saw a volley deflected wide by Woods.

The game was now being played almost entirely in the Scarborough half as the North Yorkshire side failed to deal with the pace and trickery of Diamonds. Burgess saw an effort blocked while moments later Paul Underwood’s shot was deflected wide.

On 29 minutes, Woods produced a superb save to deny Diamonds. Burgess stretched and managed to get a foot to Justin Jackson’s left wing cross. Somehow a wrong-footed Woods was able to change direction and made the save look easy. Shaun Carey had a 30 yard shot deflected wide of goal by Di Lella while Burgess’s spectacular overhead kick just cleared the woodwork.

As the half drew to a close, it was Duane Darby’s turn to be denied. Peters headed a Burgess corner back across goal and Woods produced a point blank save to palm away Darby’s bullet header. Six minutes from the interval, Jackson’s pace took him clear of the Scarborough’s defence but he was thwarted by Woods who recovered to catch the deflected cross under his own crossbar.

The second half carried on in much the same vein as the first with Scarborough offering little threat up front. Burgess saw a header go over and just before the hour; Jackson fired over from a Darby knockdown.

It took the visitors 61 minutes to test Billy Turley but such was the speed of the break that it almost caught Diamonds cold. Impressive teenager David Pounder made excellent ground up the middle of the park and laid the ball to on-loan Gerrard Robinson but with just the keeper to beat, Billy Turley made a fine block.

Seconds later Woods and Ingram got in each others way from Jackson’s cross and gave away a corner. Darby had a chance but headed over from a Brady free-kick. It was the last piece of action for the Australian with Simon Wormull put into the fray by Brian Talbot on 65 minutes.

On 69 minutes, Carey’s 18 yard shot was deflected for a corner by Gareth Stoker but 3 minutes later the breakthrough finally arrived. Peters found Garry Butterworth on the right and when the cross came in, Burgess pounced on defensive frailty to volley home superbly.

Gary Setchell replaced the injured Paul Underwood on 77 minutes while Roy Essandoh came on for his home debut 5 minutes later. But try as Scarborough did, they couldn¹t make any impression on the Diamonds defence.

So it’s 8 games unbeaten as Diamonds preserved their undefeated start to the New Year and maintained their challenge for the Conference title. On Tuesday, its another home game and another battle with struggling Northwich Victoria the visitors. If Diamonds can create the same number of chances as they did on Saturday then they won’t go far wrong!

Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, Carey, Peters, Warburton, Butterworth, Brady, Jackson, Darby, Burgess. Subs: Essandoh (for Darby), Rodwell, Setchell (for Underwood), Wormull (for Brady), Naylor.

Forest Green Rovers 0 Rushden & Diamonds 0

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

10th February 2001 – The Lawn (Attendance: 1,144)

Webmaster’s MoM: Warburton

Match Report by Andrew

If, come the end of the season, Diamonds clinch promotion to the Nationwide League by the slenderest of margins, then the point earned at The Lawn will be seen in a altogether different light than it was when the referee blew the final whistle on a wind-swept, rain-lashed afternoon.

For the initial reaction as the players and management headed back to Northamptonshire was one of disappointment and frustration. It is unlikely that so many goalscoring opportunities will present themselves again in a 90-minute period, and the chances of facing an opposing goalkeeper in such inspired form is equally slim.

Make no mistake, whatever match fee Forest Green’s Steve Perrin received for his performance between the posts was hugely deserved. In particular, with 10 minutes of the game remaining, and Diamonds throwing everything bar the proverbial kitchen sink at the home goal, he pulled off three stunning saves in a crazy 30-second period to keep the scoresheet blank. Duane Darby, Andy Burgess and Justin Jackson all looked on in disbelief as Perrin spread himself in front of goalbound shots.

Forest Green’s ground may be called The Lawn, but it hardly fitted its idyllic description for the visit of Rushden. Their F.A. Umbro Trophy replay against Matlock Town had been postponed earlier in the week and more rain in the following days had left the ground very heavy. Not as much as at Marine, but playing conditions were still difficult.

Brian Talbot was forced into one change from the side that won comfortably on Merseyside seven days earlier, the suspended Paul Underwood replaced by Gary Setchell.

Rovers, perhaps more used to the conditions, started the game strongest. Yet for all their pressure, which forced a number of goalmouth scrambles and consecutive corners, Billy Turley wasn’t forced into a real save in anger until the half-hour mark when he was alert to a through-ball from midfield. He was grateful though for Tarkan Mustafa’s superb last-ditch tackle on an advancing forward after a back pass slowed more than it would have done on a better surface. In the meanwhile, Diamonds could point to a number of first-half chances that went begging. Perrin showed an early example of what was to come in abundance later when he blocked Justin Jackson’s shot with his legs and the danger was cleared before Jon Brady could pounce on the loose ball. Then it was the Australian who came within inches of opening the scoring when a trademark free-kick from 25 yards out was superbly palmed away for a corner. Duane Darby saw a shot pulled wide after Garry Butterworth’s lob had left the home defence flat-footed, and Jackson then shot just past the post after escaping his marker, before seeing another effort blocked by the goalkeeper. Andy Burgess also shot just over before the half-time whistle sounded.

The second half started in a similar fashion to the first, with Forest Green putting the Diamonds goal under considerable pressure. Mark Peters bravely deflected a goalbound effort away for a corner before Turley was called into action twice in a matter of minutes, first turning behind a Nathan Lightbody effort and then positioning himself perfectly to deal comfortably with a Leon Cort header.

However, as the game entered its final quarter Diamonds’ extra fitness and stamina began to shine through. Jackson saw another shot deflected over the bar, Darby sent a header wide under pressure from the defence and was then involved in a moment of controversy. Through on goal, he took the ball round Perrin falling in the area under a challenge. Penalty? Not according to the referee who promptly booked the striker for ‘diving’. Still the visitors surged forward.

Jackson, not for the first time, saw an effort rebound off the keeper’s legs and then captain Ray Warburton headed just wide after perfectly meeting a Brady corner. There then followed the ‘triple’ save, and Mustafa, Jackson and Peters all saw last-gasp efforts either saved or elude the woodwork.

The sign of a really good goalkeeper though is one who can react at a second’s notice even when he’s not been called into action for a lengthy period, and that’s exactly what Billy Turley did in the dying minutes. He was quickly out to dive at a forward’s feet and deflect the ball away for a corner, despite home protests that a foul had been committed and a penalty should be awarded.

Initial disappointment was slightly lifted when news of Yeovil’s defeat at Chester filtered through to Gloucestershire – two points dropped or one point gained? Only time will tell.

Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Setchell, Carey, Peters, Warburton, Butterworth, Brady, Jackson, Darby, and Burgess. Subs (none used): Essandoh, Rodwell, Butcher, Wormull, Naylor.

BOSS ON FOREST GREEN POINT

Brian Talbot was in a philosophical frame of mind after Saturday’s draw at Forest Green Rovers, insisting that his team couldn’t have done more to try and break down the home defence.

“I couldn’t have asked anymore from my players,” he declared. “People will look at the scoreline and be disappointed but we couldn’t have done anymore with our performance. It was difficult afternoon in terms of conditions, but we matched them every inch of the way and as the game went on we got hold of it and got on top.

“Their goalkeeper was magnificent. How he save the three shots from Darby, Burgess and Jackson, goodness only knows, and the saves he made from Brady and Jackson in the first half were magnificent. And then you look at what Billy’s had to do – he’s not really had any saves to make, He’s come out and made a good save at the finish at somebody’s feet. The referee actually said it was a tremendous touch that he got, although some people were calling for penalty.

“Obviously you want to win every game, but it’s impossible, so you just have to say “well done” but “bad luck” today in terms of the three points. “People look at results, but I have to look at performances. We’ve played Forest Green twice now this season and both times we should have won. On the other hand they could have nicked both games. From both games we should have got six points, but we’ve only got two. But that’s football and you have to take the rough with the smooth.”

Marine 0 Rushden & Diamonds 6

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

FA Umbro Trophy 4th Round

3rd February 2001 (Attendance: 954)

Diamonds Scorers: Darby (2), Jackson, Burgess, Rodwell, Essandoh

Webmaster’s MoM: The Team

Match Report by Andrew

Don’t mention the old adage league form counts for nothing in the Cup to supporters of Scarborough or Boston United over the next few days. Both Conference sides were surprise losers in Saturday’s F.A. Umbro Trophy Fourth Round to opponents from lower leagues, Burton Albion and Tiverton Town respectively. And Forest Green Rovers and Morecambe must both win replays (against Matlock Town and Evesham United) to progress into the last 16.

No such problems for Rushden and Diamonds however after a comfortable 6-0 win against Unibond League side Marine on a rain-swept Merseyside.

Brian Talbot made just the one change from the side which won at Stevenage, Andy Burgess replacing Gary Setchell who had stayed behind in Northamptonshire for family reasons. Mark Peters retained his place from the Broadhall Way match.

Goals from Duane Darby (2), Justin Jackson, Andy Burgess, Jim Rodwell and Roy Essandoh secured the passage into Mondays Fifth Round draw, and for Darby it was six goals in the last five games, taking his tally for the season to 17.

It was the former Notts County striker who set up the Fourth Round tie against Marine after he scored the only goal of the Third Round visit to Hayes, and he followed that up with both goals in the vital win at Stevenage in the Nationwide Conference.

His first goal at Marine came midway through a first-half which had been dominated by the visitors. Meeting a Burgess corner perfectly he thundered a header home to the delight of the travelling supporters who had made the long journey north.

Yet for all their possession Diamonds couldnt add to their lead on a heavy pitch not helped by the wet conditions.

The second half saw the full-timers take full control. After weathering an early Marine onslaught Justin Jackson’s goal on the hour mark put the result beyond any reasonable doubt. Latching on to Burgess’s through ball, Jackson rounded Chris Clarke in the home goal and slotted the ball home.

The final outcome could have been worse for Marine had Clarke not pulled off two terrific saves, one from a trademark Jon Brady free-kick, the other denying Darby his second of the afternoon.

But Clarke couldn’t prevent Darby from making it 3-0 with 20 minutes remaining, and Diamonds then looked as if they could score with every attack.

As it was, they had to settle for three more goals. Burgess fired home from the edge of the area on 82 minutes before two of the substitutes got in on the act as well.

Jim Rodwell had only been on the pitch for a couple of minutes after replacing Darby before heading home a cross from Brady, and then Roy Essandoh completed the rout in the dying seconds after being sent clear of the home defence.

Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, Carey, Peters, Warburton, Butterworth, Brady, Jackson, Darby, Burgess. Subs: Rodwell, Essandoh, Butcher, Wormull, Naylor.

See here for video highlights of the game

%d bloggers like this: