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.

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