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.


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