Rushden & Diamonds 1 Leigh RMI 1

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

31st March 2001 – Nene Park (Attendance: 3,882)

Diamonds Scorers: Sigere

Webmasters MoM: Warburton

Match Report by Chris

Rushden & Diamonds had to settle for a point after enduring a frustrating afternoon against Leigh RMI at Nene Park on Saturday.

Jean-Michel Sigere opened the scoring for Diamonds before Tony Black bundled home an equaliser shortly after the break. To add to Rushden’s misery, Tarkan Mustafa was sent off for two bookable offences.

Brian Talbot made the one expected change from the side that started at Northwich on Sunday, Sigere replacing the suspended Justin Jackson. Mark Sale and new signing Stuart Gray were handed a place on the substitutes’ bench.

The visitors soon demonstrated that they hadn’t come to Nene Park to purely defend. After 3 minutes, Tony Black saw a long-range effort comfortably saved by Billy Turley while two minutes later the same player planted a header wide after a good cross from Steve Jones. The Diamonds keeper then had to deal with a Dave Ridings free kick.

Diamonds forced a couple of corners before Ray Warburton made a last ditch tackle on Black after the forward threatened to break clear.

Diamonds were gradually getting into the game with Andy Burgess in the thick of the action. The teenage winger saw one shot saved by the keeper while another flew wide of the post after good work by Sigere and Mustafa. On 17 minutes, Burgess finished off a good run from the halfway line with another shot at Craig Dootson but the visiting keeper saved at the second attempt.

The breakthrough came on 34 minutes. Jon Brady won a tackle in the penalty area and released Duane Darby down the right. The Conference’ leading scorer sent the ball across the face of goal and Sigere accepted the easiest of chances to head home at the far post.

The second half was just two minutes old when Leigh scored the equaliser. The Diamonds defence were caught napping down the Leigh left allowing Dave Gorman the chance to cut in and produce a stinging shot. Turley did well to parry the ball but only as far as Black who bundled the ball into an empty net.

Brilliant trickery from Darby almost brought an instant response for Diamonds as the tempo increased but with both teams searching for the crucial second goal it was referee Coffey who moved centre stage. “He didn’t have a very good day at the office” was the diplomatic response of Manager Brian Talbot and how right he was. On 56 minutes, Mustafa was unfortunate to receive a yellow card for a foul before a farcical situation occurred on the hour. Darby, who’d received no protection from the referee throughout the game, sustained a cut head while undergoing a challenge. He was ordered off the field for treatment but had to wait a full two minutes to return!

There was more controversy on 61 minutes when Diamonds were convinced that a cross from Gary Setchell had been handled in the penalty area but the referee waved away appeals.

Three minutes later a Brady corner was cleared to Burgess on the edge of the penalty area and German did well to clear a tremendous volley off the line.

The bad news continued for the home side. Following a rash challenge by Mustafa on Monk, the defender was shown a second yellow card on 65 minutes and Diamonds were reduced to ten men.

Diamonds quickly reorganised. Sigere was taken off, Brady moved to right back and Simon Wormull came on to play on the right hand side of midfield.

Dootson saved a shot from Burgess before Leigh gave the home fans a scare on 72 minutes. Jones beat the offside trap and it needed a good covering tackle from Brady to clear the danger. Warburton, Setchell and Mark Peters all made good blocks as the visitors tried to make the extra man pay while a jinxing run from Black ended with a shot that sailed over the bar.

Carey, Burgess and Wormull all went close towards the end and in the dying seconds Dootson produced a great save when he tipped a Warburton header over the bar.

So a point apiece and on the balance of play a fair result. Leigh deserve credit for employing two wingers and carrying out their intention to play football. They will be a hard nut to crack for the rest of the season.

For Diamonds, it may appear to be a case of two points dropped but with Yeovil failing to win at Dover, the Conference title remains in their hands. The draw extends Diamonds unbeaten run to 15 games, a season best for the Conference.

Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Setchell, Carey, Peters, Warburton, Butterworth, Brady, Sigere, Darby, Burgess. Subs: Sale, Rodwell, Gray, Wormull, Bossu.

Rushden & Diamonds 2 Kingstonian 1

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

17th March 2001 – Nene Park (Attendance: 3,842)

Diamonds Scorers: Darby (2)

Webmaster’s MoM: Darby

Match Report

by Andrew

Two goals from Duane Darby gave Diamonds a narrow victory over a battling Kingstonian side at Nene Park.

Darby’s brace was his second consecutive double following his two goals against Kettering Town on Tuesday. It not only gave Diamonds three more precious points but also took his goal tally to 23 for the season. With Yeovil only drawing at Morecambe, Diamonds’ lead at the top is now seven points.

Brian Talbot named an unchanged side from that which had won the ‘derby’ at Rockingham Road, with Jean-Michel Sigere and Gary Mills both making welcome returns to the substitutes bench.

Diamonds started the game the brightest with Shaun Carey’s 20-yard shot forcing a diving save from Jimmy Glass. Andy Burgess then rose above the Kingstonian defence and headed Jon Brady’s cross over the bar.

Great skill from Burgess on the left allowed the midfielder to mystify Mark Boyce but Darby’s header from the cross was too high.

Against the run of play, the visitors took the lead with their first attack of the match on 9 minutes. Ronnie Green headed Eddie Akuamoah’s cross against the right hand upright and Ian Duerden followed up to side foot the ball home.

Billy Turley got down well to save a shot from Boyce before Diamonds settled back into their rhythm and equalised on 18 minutes.

Mark Peters headed the ball goalwards after Glass had flapped at Burgess’ corner but the visiting defence could only clear as far as Darby who hooked the ball into the roof of the net from two yards.

Diamonds attempted to take the game by the scruff of its neck in the remaining minutes of the first half and created some good chances, especially from set pieces. Jon Brady curled a shot narrowly wide after a great lay off from Darby while another teasing Burgess corner saw Glass rather nonchalantly turn Ray Warburton’s header away.

Glass produced another fine save to touch over a delicate flick from Peters while Darby was unlucky to hook Justin Jackson’s cross into the crowd. Five minutes from the interval, Diamonds almost took the lead for the first time. Darby produced a superb dummy to Jackson’s cross allowing Shaun Carey the chance to shoot but Gary Patterson was on hand to get in the block.

On the stroke of half-time, Darby got in a telling low cross from the left but Garry Butterworth¹s flick was just inches wide of the right hand post.

Early in the second half, Carey’s sharp pass almost put Jackson in the clear while at the other end, Akuamoah found space to run on and shoot over from 20 yards.

Jackson missed a good chance for Diamonds to go in front after 58 minutes but shot wide when put through by Garry Butterworth. Darby missed the target with a long-range effort before Burgess¹ curling effort from 25 yards out was well saved by Glass.

Diamonds were close to scoring three times in quick succession on 70 minutes. Jackson got in a cross from the left and Glass somehow parried Darby’s bullet header. The striker picked himself up but the keeper denied him again before falling on a shot from Brady.

But the points were sealed on 73 minutes. Darby raced into the penalty area from the left only for Patterson to bring him down in front of the referee. Jackson and Colin Luckett were both cautioned for their part in the ensuing melee before Darby stepped up to send Glass the wrong way. That brought the striker’s tally to five goals in his last four games.

Sigere replaced Jackson and received a rapturous welcome on his return to competitive action.

In the dying minutes, Kingstonian tried very hard to get back on level terms but failed to test Turley although Geoff Pitcher should have done better a minute from the end.

So Diamonds made it six consecutive home wins and extended their unbeaten run to 13 games, their best run of the season. Next week they travel to Northwich on Sunday.

Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Setchell, Carey, Peters, Warburton, Butterworth, Brady, Jackson, Darby, Burgess. Subs: Sigere, Rodwell, Mills, Wormull, Bossu.

Kettering Town 0 Rushden & Diamonds 2

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

13th March 2001 – Rockingham Road (Attendance: 4,750)

Diamonds Scorers: Darby (2)

Webmaster’s MoM: Darby

Match Report by Andrew

A second half double from Duane Darby gave Diamonds three crucial points at Rockingham Road in a game filled with action and controversy.

Darby struck with a 56th minute penalty and then clinched the points 13 minutes from time. All this, after Justin Jackson had been controversially sent off after 36 minutes for a second bookable offence. However, rather than sit back and soak up the pressure, Diamonds took the game to their opponents after the interval and ran out worthy winners. To make it a great night for the visitors, Yeovil’s poor run continued when they were held to a goalless draw at Huish Park. A result, which allowed Diamonds to extend their lead at the top of the Conference to five points.

Mark Peters passed a late fitness test on his injured neck so Diamonds were able to keep the same side that drew with Boston at the weekend. Kettering included former Diamonds players Darren Collins, Dale Watkins and Carl Alford in their squad.

The Poppies enjoyed the better of the opening 20 minutes and almost took the lead after 11 minutes. Dale Watkins battled his way through the Diamonds defence and the ball found its way to Darren Collins. His shot beat Billy Turley, but came back into play via the left-hand post.

Shortly after, Jackson got free from Martin Matthews but was denied by the same player when shaping to shoot. Mark Peters then had to head over his own bar from a dangerous looking cross from Watkins.

After 20 minutes, Diamonds themselves were unlucky when Jackson’s pace got the better of Colin Vowden only to see his shot beat Steve Wilson and then hit the left hand upright.

Jackson took exception to Craig Norman’s crude challenge and both were booked after an off the ball scuffle. Gary Setchell soon followed into the referee’s notebook as tempers flared following a corner.

But worse was to follow after 36 minutes. Not for the first time, Jackson’s turn of pace took him clear of the Kettering defence and as he rounded Wilson, he seemed to be impeded by the keeper. The referee pointed to the spot but then reversed his decision after consulting his referee’s assistant. Jackson was promptly shown a second yellow card for presumably diving and was sent off.

A minute later there was another incident this time involving Darby. The referee stopped play after the Diamonds striker complained of being struck by a coin. Referee Crossley disappeared down the tunnel for a while but no further action seemed to be taken.

As six minutes of injury time drew to a close, Setchell drove a shot wide of the left-hand upright after a flowing move.

The second half started in much the same way as the first. Turley produced a great save to deny Collins after a Wayne Diuk cross while the Kettering defender saw a 25 yard shot go wide of the post.

On 53 minutes, Tarkan Mustafa set up Darby whose sweet turn and shot forced a good reaction save from Wilson. Ray Warburton did very well to block a Watkins shot after Phil Brown nodded down Lee Cowling’s cross.

However, a minute later the game turned in Diamonds favour. Darby superbly shielded the ball after it had been played up field and the laid a pass to Brady. As the Australian entered the penalty area, Dick tripped him and Darby coolly put away the penalty to the keepers left.

Kettering huffed and puffed after that but never seemed able to conjure up anything to penetrate Diamonds defence. Indeed, it was Diamonds that seemed the more likely to score as they continued to cut through the home side’s midfield with apparent ease.

It was, therefore, no real surprise when Diamonds clinched the points 13 minutes from time. Brady’s low cross from the right was turned in at the far post by Darby.

Victory was no more than Diamonds deserved after an impressive second half performance played against the odds. More of the same passion and togetherness might just have their rewards come the end of the season.

Final Score: Kettering Town 0 Rushden & Diamonds 2

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

See here for a Video highlight of Duane Darby’s first goal.

See here for a Video highlight of Duane Darby’s second goal.

See here for a Video highlight of the post-match celebration.

Kettering Town 0 Rushden & Diamonds 2

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

Diamonds Match Report – 13th March 2001 (Attendance: 4,750)

Diamonds Scorers: Darby (2)

Webmaster’s MoM: Darby

Match Report by Andrew

A second half double from Duane Darby gave Diamonds three crucial points at Rockingham Road in a game filled with action and controversy.

Darby struck with a 56th minute penalty and then clinched the points 13 minutes from time. All this, after Justin Jackson had been controversially sent off after 36 minutes for a second bookable offence. However, rather than sit back and soak up the pressure, Diamonds took the game to their opponents after the interval and ran out worthy winners. To make it a great night for the visitors, Yeovil’s poor run continued when they were held to a goalless draw at Huish Park. A result, which allowed Diamonds to extend their lead at the top of the Conference to five points.

Mark Peters passed a late fitness test on his injured neck so Diamonds were able to keep the same side that drew with Boston at the weekend. Kettering included former Diamonds players Darren Collins, Dale Watkins and Carl Alford in their squad.

The Poppies enjoyed the better of the opening 20 minutes and almost took the lead after 11 minutes. Dale Watkins battled his way through the Diamonds defence and the ball found its way to Darren Collins. His shot beat Billy Turley, but came back into play via the left-hand post.

Shortly after, Jackson got free from Martin Matthews but was denied by the same player when shaping to shoot. Mark Peters then had to head over his own bar from a dangerous looking cross from Watkins.

After 20 minutes, Diamonds themselves were unlucky when Jackson’s pace got the better of Colin Vowden only to see his shot beat Steve Wilson and then hit the left hand upright.

Jackson took exception to Craig Norman’s crude challenge and both were booked after an off the ball scuffle. Gary Setchell soon followed into the referee’s notebook as tempers flared following a corner.

But worse was to follow after 36 minutes. Not for the first time, Jackson’s turn of pace took him clear of the Kettering defence and as he rounded Wilson, he seemed to be impeded by the keeper. The referee pointed to the spot but then reversed his decision after consulting his referee’s assistant. Jackson was promptly shown a second yellow card for presumably diving and was sent off.

A minute later there was another incident this time involving Darby. The referee stopped play after the Diamonds striker complained of being struck by a coin. Referee Crossley disappeared down the tunnel for a while but no further action seemed to be taken.

As six minutes of injury time drew to a close, Setchell drove a shot wide of the left-hand upright after a flowing move.

The second half started in much the same way as the first. Turley produced a great save to deny Collins after a Wayne Diuk cross while the Kettering defender saw a 25 yard shot go wide of the post.

On 53 minutes, Tarkan Mustafa set up Darby whose sweet turn and shot forced a good reaction save from Wilson. Ray Warburton did very well to block a Watkins shot after Phil Brown nodded down Lee Cowling’s cross.

However, a minute later the game turned in Diamonds favour. Darby superbly shielded the ball after it had been played up field and the laid a pass to Brady. As the Australian entered the penalty area, Dick tripped him and Darby coolly put away the penalty to the keepers left.

Kettering huffed and puffed after that but never seemed able to conjure up anything to penetrate Diamonds defence. Indeed, it was Diamonds that seemed the more likely to score as they continued to cut through the home side’s midfield with apparent ease.

It was, therefore, no real surprise when Diamonds clinched the points 13 minutes from time. Brady’s low cross from the right was turned in at the far post by Darby.

Victory was no more than Diamonds deserved after an impressive second half performance played against the odds. More of the same passion and togetherness might just have their rewards come the end of the season.

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

Boston United 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

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

10th March 2001 – York Street (Attendance: 3,434)

Diamonds Scorers: Jackson

Webmaster’s MoM: Peters

Match Report by Andrew

A late equaliser denied Diamonds maximum points in an enthralling game at York Street on Saturday.

However, it was a case of ‘a point gained’ as news came through of Yeovil’s surprise away defeat at Kettering, a result which allowed Diamonds to extend their lead at the top of the Conference.

Justin Jackson gave Diamonds a deserved lead after 61 minutes but Ken Charlery hit a dramatic injury 3 minutes from time.

Diamonds kept the same side that beat Woking a week earlier. New goalkeeper Bertrand Bossu replaced Stuart Naylor on the bench.

There was a heavy downpour prior to the game, which left the York Street surface looking more like a quagmire than a football pitch. Any passing moves were confined to the flanks of a dreadful surface.

Diamonds enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and indeed the first half. In the third minute, Ross Weatherstone fed Paul Bastock a short backpass which saw the Pilgrims keeper’s clearance hit Jackson on the head before being put out for a throw-in.

Duane Darby forced the first corner of the game a minute later from which Andy Burgess’ inswinging flag kick was clawed away by Bastock as Mark Peters lurked at the far post.

On 11 minutes, Jackson’s curling shot from 20 yards went wide of the goal, before Simon Weatherstone’s low shot was blocked by Turley’s outstretched leg.

Home keeper Bastock saved Burgess’ low shot at the second attempt on the quarter of an hour while at the other end, Jamie Cook headed wide of the right hand upright.

The big talking point of the game came on 20 minutes. Burgess went on a surging run before being flattened by a crude challenge by Mark Clifford. The former Ilkeston player was extremely lucky to get away with just a yellow card.

Shaun Carey’s fine run in the 26th minute was ended when Clifford’s attempted clearance struck teammate Joby Gowshall in the face. The ball fell nicely to Jackson but Bastock superbly turned the shot round the post. Peters headed wide from the resultant corner taken by Brady.

In the 40th minute, Ross Weatherstone’s centre was punched away by Turley as Mickey Nuttell threatened but Rushden immediately broke away and Jackson saw his shot turned aside again by the impressive Bastock.

In time added on, Jamie Cook’s free-kick from the right was nodded back across goal by Nuttell, and Ross Weatherstone headed over.

Two minutes after the restart, Peters blocked Simon Weatherstone’s shot as United started to put pressure on Diamonds. Four minutes later, the same player tried a long-range effort that went wide of the right hand post.

Diamonds took the lead on 61 minutes. Brady started the move and found Darby out on the right. Although Bastock managed to parry Darby’s shot, Brady turned the ball left to Jackson who scored his 17th Conference goal from close range.

Simon Weatherstone drilled a long-range effort wide of the target in the 65th minute after Cook’s corner had been cleared out to him while brother Ross had a 20 yard shot saved by Turley in the mud.

There was more drama in the 80th minute after appeals for a penalty against Setchell were waved away. Boston manager Steve Evans continued to argue with the referee and was duly sent to the stands.

In the 82nd minute, Gowshall headed down Cook’s corner and Ross Weatherstone fired over. Two minutes later, Charlery missed a sitter when from Cook’s cross, he somehow put his header the wrong side of the post.

Three minutes from time, Boston equalised. Nuttell headed on Jim Dick’s free kick and Charlery, with his back to goal, lobbed the ball over Turley and into the net.

The disappointment in the visitors end was visually, if not verbally, apparent, but all that changed moments later as word got round that Kettering had come from behind to defeat Yeovil.

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

Rushden & Diamonds 2 Woking 0

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

3rd March 2001 – Nene Park (Attendance: 3,680)

Diamonds Scorers: Darby, Carey

Webmaster’s MoM: Darby

Match Report by Andrew

Diamonds moved two points clear at the top of the Conference following a comprehensive victory over in form Woking at Nene Park.

Duane Darby scored his 16th Conference goal of the season as the home side dominated the game from start to finish. They produced 25 goal attempts and but for an inspired performance from visiting keeper Vince Matassa, Diamonds advantage would have been far greater. Shaun Carey scored his first ever league goal to seal the points.

Brian Talbot named an unchanged side from that which started last Saturday’s F.A. Umbro Trophy game at Forest Green. There was one change on the substitutes bench with a welcome return for Mark Sale at the expense of teenager Robert Duffy.

Darby had an early chance for Diamonds but could only spoon the ball over the bar after a fine run from Tarkan Mustafa. Jon Brady had a shot well saved by Matassa after 8 minutes before Justin Jackson was inches away from getting a touch to Andy Burgess’ inswinging corner.

On 15 minutes Burgess was wide of the left-hand upright with a free kick while 11 minutes later Brady fired wide. Diamonds were creating plenty of chances via some slick passing moves. From Brady’s cross, Garry Butterworth sent a header just wide before the same player missed the target after being teed up by Jackson.

On the half-hour, Duane Darby directed a header straight at the ‘keeper after good work by Tarkan Mustafa. At the other end, Mat Davies saw a rare Woking shot fly over the bar from 30 yards.

The deadlock was almost broken three minutes from the interval. From another Brady cross, Matassa parried Darby’s header; Burgess saw a follow up shot blocked by a defender before Justin Jackson shot wide.

Some of the Nene Park crowd were still taking their seats for the second half when Diamonds took the lead. Darby latched onto Brady’s overhead kick and sold Steve West a dummy before sending the visiting keeper the wrong way with a deflected shot.

Diamonds went into overdrive and started stroking the ball around with ease. Shaun Carey’s long range effort was headed away by West before Woking had their first real attempt on goal on 54 minutes. Steve Perkins’ effort had Billy Turley scrambling to his right to gather the ball.

Jackson nearly increased the lead a minute later when he ran clear of the Woking defence but was denied by Matassa who dived bravely at the striker’s feet. On the hour, Gary Setchell headed Burgess’ left wing corner towards goal but once again Matassa kept Woking in contention when he cut out Jackson’s header.

Woking went close to an equaliser two minutes later when Billy Turley failed to collect a free kick only to redeem himself by flinging himself into the path of Chris Sharpling’s goal bound shot. Setchell put a free header over the bar following a cross from Burgess.

The second goal arrived on 65 minutes. Jackson put in a deep cross from the right, Darby headed back across the face of the goal and there was Carey to head home his first goal for Diamonds.

Woking’s misery was completed on 75 minutes when Jamie Pitman was dismissed for a second bookable offence following a foul on Brady.

There were further Diamonds chances to extend their lead but Matassa denied Darby before pulling off a superb save to tip a Brady free kick over the bar.

The afternoon finished on an emotional note when Mark Sale returned to first-team action at Nene Park as a late substitute for Jackson.

Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Setchell, Carey, Peters, Warburton, Butterworth, Brady, Jackson, Darby, Burgess. Subs: Sale (for Jackson – 90), Rodwell, Butcher, Wormull, Naylor.

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