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.

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