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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