Rushden & Diamonds 2 Dover Athletic 1

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

28th April 2001 – Nene Park (Attendance: 5,482)

Diamonds Scorers: Darby, Peters

Webmaster’s MoM: Peters

Match Report by Chris

Diamonds stayed on course for the Conference title following a narrow 2-1 victory over Dover Athletic at Nene Park

Duane Darby put unchanged Diamonds one up with his 27th goal of the season before Joff Vansittart equalised. Mark Peters 38th minute header gave Rushden three more priceless points. Vansittart also hit a post while Darby missed a second half penalty.

With Yeovil winning at Telford, Diamonds stay 3 points clear at the top of the Conference and know that victory at Chester next weekend will see them promoted.

In front of the highest attendance of the season, it was Diamonds who started the better. After only 2 minutes of play, Jon Brady latched onto Jackson’s cross from the left but was denied by a fine save from Dover keeper Paul Hyde.

A succession of corners followed which put Dover under pressure. Paul Underwood’s 12th minute free-kick was punched out by Dover’s keeper but fortunately for Hyde, there were no Diamonds players following up.

Diamonds took the lead on 18 minutes after Tony Browne had been cautioned for a foul on Andy Burgess. Jon Brady whipped in the resultant free-kick; Darby’s header beat the keeper but came back off the underside of the bar. The Conference leading scorer was on hand to stab home from close range.

Two minutes later, Paul Underwood made a good run after collecting the ball near to the halfway line only to see his shot go wide of the post.

On 22 minutes, Dover almost equalised. After a goalmouth scramble, several shots were cleared but Vansittart saw his effort rebound off the post.

At the other end, Tarkan Mustafa’s through-ball found Darby but his shot was deflected away for a corner.

On 31 minutes, Dover produced an equaliser. Matt Carrothers made good ground before getting in an excellent cross which Vansittart poked home from 8 yards.

It took Diamonds just 7 minutes to re-gain the lead, Andy Burgess’ corner from the right was headed into the bottom corner of the net by Mark Peters for a very welcome first goal of the season.

Four minutes before the interval, Jon Brady’s free-kick was just wide.

On 53 minutes, the game should have been over. Jackson latched onto a superb pass from Garry Butterworth but as he tried to round the keeper, the striker was brought down in the penalty area by Stuart Munday who was shown the yellow card. Darby stepped up to take the penalty but Hyde denied him with a fine save diving to his left.

The home side tried to put the miss to one side and Mustafa ended a run with a 59th minute shot that went wide. Three minutes later, Peters climbed above the Dover defence only to see his header clear the bar.

Rushden had a scare on 67 minutes when Billy Turley dropped a Carruthers cross but the ball was scrambled away to safety. Peters headed over following a Brady free-kick while Hyde saved a Burgess shot 9 minutes from time.

In the final few minutes, Dover pushed for an equaliser but with Peters and Jim Rodwell in impressive form, Diamonds held firm to record a vital victory.

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

Click here for video highlights of this game (as well as preceding Telford game)

Rushden & Diamonds 3 Telford United 0

Tue 24.4 Home Telford United Won 3-0 Jackson(45), Brady(52),

Butterworth(72) 4107

Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, Mills, Peters, Rodwell, Butterworth, Brady, Jackson, Darby, Burgess.

Subs used: Gray for Underwood(80), Sigere for Jackson(85), Wormull for Darby(85).

Yeovil Town 0 Rushden & Diamonds 0

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

21st April 2001 – Huish Park (Attendance: 8,868)

Webmaster’s MoM: Warburton

Match Report by Andrew

Diamonds earned a valuable point at Huish Park on Saturday afternoon in front of a ground record crowd of 8,868. The result keeps Diamonds three points clear of Yeovil at the top of the Nationwide Conference. Both teams are in action again on Tuesday night – Diamonds at home to Telford, Yeovil away at Leigh RMI.

Brian Talbot made one change from the side which started against Doncaster Rovers on Monday, Gary Mills replacing Shaun Carey. Paul Underwood made a welcome return to the substitutes’ bench.

Diamonds had an early chance to take the lead when Duane Darby just failed to connect with a Jon Brady cross, Terry Skiverton doing well to put the striker under pressure.

Captain Ray Warburton then saw a header cleared off the line, Skiverton again the thorn in the Diamonds side.

Skiverton himself then had the first chance for Yeovil, his header clearing Billy Turley’s bar. Justin Jackson had a shot on goal saved by Tony Pennock before the Welsh goalkeeper had to be alert to tip a Burgess piledriver over the bar.

Yeovil’s chances suffered a setback on 28 minutes when Warren Patmore limped out of the action, but his replacement James Bent almost made an immediate impact forcing Turley into a point-blank save. Jon Brady then had a chance at the other end but his shot went over the bar. Before the half-time break Gary Mills shot over from distance before Barrington Belgrave did likewise for Yeovil.

The home side were quickest out of the blocks for the second half and put Diamonds under extensive pressure. Skiverton fired a header straight at Turley, Michael McInode fired over from 25 yards out and Nick Crittenden’s effort went inches wide of the post.

Diamonds weathered the storm though and almost took the lead on the hour mark, but Pennock produced a wonder save to keep out Duane Darby’s header. Burgess then saw a header just clear Pennock’s crossbar after a great cross from Brady.

Diamonds continued to press forward and when Stuart Gray’s shot was blocked, Gary Mills also saw his follow-up kept out by the Yeovil defence.

The visitors suffered a double blow when in the space of a couple of minutes Ray Warburton and Duane Darby both left the action, the captain on a stretcher. Paul Underwood replaced Darby to play the final moments in a striking role.

In the dying seconds of six minutes of stoppage time, Turley produced a magnificent save to keep out Tom White and Yeovil knew their last chance had gone.

This game was never going to be a title decider, and the result maintains the status quo at the top of the table, but with two home games to come next week, Diamonds will feel that they are firmly in the driving seat.

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

Rushden & Diamonds 0 Doncaster Rovers 0

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

16th April 2001 – Nene Park (Attendance 4036)

Webmaster’s MoM: Butterworth

Match Report by Chris

Rushden & Diamonds suffered a frustrating afternoon at Nene Park when they were held to a goalless draw by Doncaster Rovers.

The game was a credit to the Conference with fast flowing football and plenty of goalmouth incidents. The visitors had Barry Richardson to thank after the former Cobblers goalkeeper produced a string of fine saves in a first half that ranked amongst the best seen at Nene Park this season. Despite the loss of two home points, Diamonds extended their lead at the top following Yeovil’s defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge.

Brian Talbot made just the one change from the side that lost at Hereford United on Saturday, Tarkan Mustafa returning from suspension in place of Brett Solkhon.

Diamonds had the first chance of the game after four minutes when Justin Jackson ran onto Jon Brady’s long ball and forced a good save from Richardson. Garry Butterworth then had a long range effort deflected for a corner before the visitors responded with a move that saw Neil Campbell inches away from getting a touch to Michael Turner’s cross.

On 10 minutes,  Andy Burgess’ cross found its way to the unmarked Duane Darby but Richardson brilliantly turned the shot round the post. Two minutes later Shaun Carey and Tarkan Mustafa combined to set up Jackson with a chance but the Diamonds striker shot over from eight yards.

Brady’s cross was headed out as far as Burgess but the teenager could only shoot across the face of the goal. At the other end, a great run from Campbell ended with a shot, which Billy Turley blocked with his legs.

Richardson was proving to be a thorn in Diamonds side and he produced another superb save to thwart Jackson’s cross shot.

On 26 minutes, Diamonds had a let off when Campbell ran onto Francis Tierney’s pass but hooked the ball over the bar from close range. Two minutes later, Richardson touched over Jackson’s shot after Darby had headed on Turley’s clearance.

Six minutes from the interval, Richardson produced his best save of the match. Burgess swung in the cross and Darby’s looping header had “goal” written all over it before the Doncaster ‘keeper leapt to his right and somehow clawed the ball from the top corner. The visitors were slightly more fortunate on 43 minutes when from Jackson’s cross, Darby directed his header straight at the ‘keeper.

The second half maintained its frenetic pace even if the play didn’t quite reach the level of the opening 45 minutes. It was a period of constant pressure from Diamonds but they were unable to make their possession count. Doncaster’s Jamie Paterson was off target with two early efforts before Mark Peters headed over Burgess’ 56 minute cross.

Darby saw a header clear Richardson’s crossbar on 67 minutes before ten minutes later Dean Barrick was wide with a 25 yard effort. A minute later, Jackson had a glorious chance to take the points but his shot missed the target after a super cross from Burgess.

Ten minutes from time, Shaun Carey shot wide after a frantic goalmouth scramble while there was a scare with a few minutes remaining. Diamonds were grateful to see the assistant referee’s flag disallow a ‘goal’ from the visitors.

So no joy for Diamonds but after the disappointment of Hereford, there could be no complaint about the commitment and attitude of the players who tried their hardest to break the deadlock. The scene is now set for a battle royal at Huish Park next Saturday when the top two meet.

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

Hereford United 3 Rushden & Diamonds 1

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

14th April 2001 – Edgar Street (Attendance: 2,005)

Diamonds Scorers: Own Goal

Webmaster’s MoM: Butterworth

Match Report by Chris

Diamonds slumped to a disappointing defeat at Edgar Street.

An own goal from the Diamonds skipper and two from Rob Elmes meant that Diamonds put an end to their 16 match unbeaten run.

Diamonds were forced to make one change from the side that beat Morecambe last week. Brett Solkhon replaced the suspended Tarkan Mustafa at right back.

Hereford took the lead on 7 minutes, after Ray Warburton was penalised for obstruction on Matt Clarke just outside the area. The free-kick taken by Gavin Williams and Warburton headed past Billy Turley into the back of his own net.

Hereford dominated the first half. Warburton had to be alert to get in a vital tackle on Gavin Williams. On 24 minutes, John Shirley saw a 25 yard effort go just wide. A minute later Diamonds had their first attempt on goal, when Jackson’s attempted lob fell just wide of the far post.

Jimmy Quiggin shot weakly with only Turley to beat, while a minute later the same player saw a long range effort easily saved.

A minute later, Turley escaped with just a cautioned with having been adjudged to have brought down Quiggin.

On 33 minutes, Hereford extended their lead when Rob Elmes’ header was brilliantly touched onto the bar by Turley but the big striker was on hand to head the rebound home from close range.

8 minutes from the interval, the home side made it 3 when Elmes turned in Clarke’s cross from 12 yards.

On the stroke of half time, Diamonds almost pulled a goal back when Duane Darby shot across the face of the goal after Burgess’ flick-on.

A double substitution was made at half time, Gary Mills came on for Shaun Carey, and Simon Wormull replaced Brett Solkhon.

On 54 minutes, Darby was high and wide with a shot, but seven minutes later Diamonds pulled a goal back thanks to an own goal by Tony James.

On 66 minutes, Darby was inches wide following a pass from Jackson, while a minute later Darby headed over from Brady’s cross.

Manager Brian Talbot’s last throw of the dice was to send on Jean-Michel Sigere for Andy Burgess but to no avail.

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

Rushden & Diamonds 1 Kettering Town 3

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

Northants Senior Cup Final

10th April 2001 – Nene Park (Attendance: 1,038)

Diamonds Scorer: Sale

Webmasters MoM: Butcher

Match Report by Andrew

Diamonds suffered a disappointing night on Tuesday at Nene Park when their local rivals recorded a 3-1 victory to lift the Northants F.A. Senior Cup.

Brian Talbot used the game as an opporunity to give some of his fringe first-team players a run-out, although there was a place in the starting line-up for Jon Brady at right-back. This is a position Diamonds will have to fill at Hereford on Saturday when Tarkan Mustafa serves a one-match suspension.

The visitors started the game brightest and stunned Diamonds with two goals in the space of two first-half minutes. On 8 minutes Chris Perkins headed home a Shaun Murray corner, and 60 seconds later Bertrand Bossu could only parry a fierce shot from Brett McNamara and Steve Wilkinson was on hand to fire home from close range.

Daniel Talbot was booked for a late tackle on McNamara before Mark Sale’s effort was well tipped round the post by Steve Wilson, but Kettering increased their lead on 19 minutes when a poor clearance from Jim Rodwell was fired home from 15 yards by Carl Fothergill.

Jon Brady’s work for the night was completed on 27 minutes when he was replaced by Luke Rowlett with Steve Spooner taking over in the right-back berth.

Diamonds best effort of the half came on 29 minutes when a free-kick from Talbot went just wide of the left hand post, and in stoppage time Sale’s shot on the turn was saved by Wilson at the second attempt.

Brett Solkhon moved to right-back for the second half with Steve Spooner moving across to centre-half.

McNamara almost increased the visitors’ lead on 58 minutes but his header flashed across the face of Bossu’s goal. Diamonds almost got back into the game on the hour mark but Wilson was quick off the mark to smother at the feet of Simon Wormull.

Jean-Michel Sigere and Richard Butcher both saw efforts go just wide before Mark Sale reduced the arrears by turning in a Talbot free-kick from close range on 78 minutes, but try as they might Diamonds couldn’t make any more inroads into the Kettering advantage.

Diamonds: Bossu, Butcher, Talbot, Mills, Rodwell, Solkhon, Wormull, Brady, Sale, Sigere, Spooner. Subs: Duffy, Rowlett, Bell, Dempster, Naylor.

Rushden & Diamonds 4 Morecambe 1

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

7th April 2001 – Nene Park (Attendance: 3,778)

Diamonds Scorers: Darby 3 (1 pen), Brady

Webmasters MoM: Darby

Match Report by Andrew

A Duane Darby hat-trick helped Diamonds extend their unbeaten run to 16 games with a comprehensive victory over Morecambe at Nene Park.

Darby took his tally for the season to 26 but Diamonds were also indebted to Billy Turley who produced a fantastic double save from a penalty in the first half. Jon Brady hit the fourth while John Norman’s header proved to be no more than a consolation goal for the visitors.

Brian Talbot made two changes from the side that had started against Leigh RMI last Saturday. Justin Jackson returned from suspension in place of Jean-Michel Sigere, and Stuart Gray made his debut after Gary Setchell reported in on Saturday morning suffering with a virus.

The visitors had the first chance of the game and Turley had to be alert to tip a John Norman chip over the bar. The keeper was then relieved to see a Stewart Drummond shot curl wide. Diamonds¹ first chance came on 5 minutes when a Jon Brady free-kick was turned over by former Rushden ‘keeper Mark Smith.

Darby almost got on the score sheet when he charged down an attempted clearance from Smith but the visiting keeper redeemed himself and got to the rebound first. In driving rain, the game then settled down into an entertaining affair with plenty of good touches from both sides although a number of attacks broke down just outside the respective penalty areas.

However, the deadlock was broken on 22 minutes. Darby latched on to a Shaun Carey through ball and drew Smith before coolly lobbing the ball into the net.

Just two minutes later though, Morecambe had a golden opportunity to level matters when a rash tackle from Jon Brady on Mark Quayle presented the visitors with a penalty. Turley, diving to his left, produced a magnificent double save to deny Dave McKearney.

Undeniably, that turned out to be a costly miss for Morecambe as with 9 minutes of the half remaining Diamonds were awarded a spot-kick of their own. As Jackson tried to lob a pass to the unmarked Darby, Jamie Murphy was adjudged to have handled and after he was cautioned, Darby made no mistake from the spot to increase the lead.

After that Diamonds never looked back. Brady hit a free kick just over the bar while Andy Burgess over hit a lob after a typical mazy run. Carey then missed the target after Jackson laid the ball back into his path.

On the stroke of half-time, Diamonds almost snatched a third when Jackson raced onto a great through ball from Garry Butterworth only to see his effort come back off the crossbar.

Two minutes after the interval, there was a nasty clash of heads between Quayle and Mark Peters with the Morecambe striker having to leave the field for a short time to receive treatment. However, it wasn’t too long before Diamonds increased their lead. Darby was quickest to Peters’ through pass and after Smith had made a hash of his attempted interception, the Conference’s leading scorer was left with the simple task of rolling the ball into an empty net as he notched up his first Diamonds hat-trick on 54 minutes.

Morecambe briefly gave themselves hope four minutes later when John Norman headed home Ryan-Zico Black’s free-kick but the three-goal advantage was restored on 63 minutes. Not for the first time, Smith flapped at a cross from Jackson before Jon Brady turned the ball in from close range after a cross from Andy Burgess.

Diamonds thought they had a good claim for another penalty when Jackson was pulled down in the area but the referee waved away the protests. Morecambe were then reduced to ten men after 71 minutes when Murphy pulled back Darby and received his second caution of the afternoon.

Debutant Stuart Gray shot over the bar following another good lay off from Jackson while Darby almost made it five after he picked himself up in the penalty area and fired just over the bar. Three minutes from time, Smith fumbled a Darby effort but was perfectly placed to gather substitute Jean-Michel Sigere’s follow up.

So a comfortable victory for Diamonds who extended their unbeaten run to 16 games. Darby made it 12 in 13 games and took his tally for the season to 23 Conference goals. The only disappointing news was that Yeovil had come from behind to snatch a late winner at Kingstonian.

Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Gray, Carey (Mills 65), Peters, Warburton (Rodwell 86), Butterworth, Brady, Jackson (Sigere 80), Darby, Burgess. Subs not used: Wormull, Bossu.

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