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)

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