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.

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