Doncaster Rovers 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

19.09.98 – Belle Vue (Attendance: 3800)
Diamonds Team…Gayle, Wooding, Bradshaw, McElhatton, Wilson, Whyte, Brady, Vandervalden, Foster, Collins, Underwood. Subs West, Rodwell, Hanlon.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Foster
Webmasters Man of the Match award : Chris Whyte

Match Report :

Whilst driving back home after this one various words spring to mind. Cheat, Inept, Embarrassing, Un-Professional, Biased – and all would have been directed at the poor imitation of a referee that was witnessed at Doncaster today. I have never openly criticised a referee before because we all know the general standard seen at Conference games in normally low, so it evens itself out over a season. But this was the pits! Today we saw senseless bookings, being conned by the clever antics of the Doncaster players. Weird one-sided decisions always in favour of Donny. Numerous players booked for Diamonds (Five or six at least) but not one for Donny players using elbows. It was a disgrace!

Right – that’s off my chest so what about the match. A very poor first half performance from Diamonds, where they were outplayed for long periods of the game by a skilful Doncaster team. The game unfortunately was not allowed to flow, due to you know who, and his lack of control often caused players to get close to boiling point as the senseless decisions disrupted the flow of the game. Steve Nicol at the back for Donny still looks a class players, and obviously still has a lot to offer the game. Diamonds were unable to unlock the offside trap with Collins and Foster both falling foul time and time again. At the back we looked jittery, other than Chalky who was in total command. Macca gives the side a strength and commitment which is unfortunately lacking from the side when Mison is playing. I also felt Darren Bradshaw is not playing to his usual standard, as too many passes are going astray. There was really little to talk about of note in the first half, other than Diamonds could feel lucky to be going in all square.

The second half though was totally different from a Diamonds perspective. They played the ball about well, looked sharper upfront, and started to gain space down the flanks. It was from a lack of concentration from Mark Gayle in goal that led to Diamonds goal. Gayle decided to try and dribble his way around an approaching Donny forward, but got tackled, the ball bobbled about and was finally cleared down the line to a chasing Darren Collins. A shot blocked, a second chance and he looped the ball across the goal and there was Fossy hanging in the air to nod it home. On a couple of more occasions a one on one with the keeper was thwarted and as the time ebbed on Diamonds looked comfortable to gain three points. Enter the scene again our friendly man in black. A free kick given outside the area for a non-foul.( Conned again ref). By this time we were so far into injury time – there had been no injury stoppages- that I was about to ring the wife and tell her I would be stopping over. A neatly taken free kick, slack marking from Diamonds, a simple cross, an even simpler tap in, and Donny get an un-deserved equaliser. Where the man in black got all that injury time from I will never know! Yet we saw the same at Southport a few weeks ago. The referee playing on for an in-exhaustible amount of time – apparently willing the home side to equalise. Today he got his wish.

So what about Diamonds team performance! Well it certainly was not Championship material. But to be honest there has only been one match this season where for 90 minutes we have looked Championship, against Kingstonian. Brady had a poor game today by his standards, but was helped whenever he was in trouble by the ever willing Vandervalden. Upfront Fossy and Collins had good games, but the crossing from Unders and Brady was again abysmal. Every corner that was taken fell straight into the un-challenged arms of the keeper. Wilson and Wooding were steady although Tim was often beaten for pace down the flank, and allowed the attackers to get in good telling crosses.

This leaves us still perched on top – just – but having picked up just two points out of nine for the last three games. Certainly not good enough but if you look overall, by the time we have played Leek Town on Tuesday, we will have played 11 games this season of which seven will have been away games. I think if we are still on top after Tuesday/Wednesdays games BT will be very happy. If we are on top and not playing yet to our true potential then the future looks rosy. Lets hope we turn on the style against Leek, and get some goalscoring practice to wipe the smiles off the visitors next Saturday.

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