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)

Dover Athletic 4 Rushden & Diamonds 1

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

2nd December 2000 – The Crabble Athletic Ground (Attendance: 1,407)

Diamonds Scorers: Underwood

Webmasters MoM: Jackson

Match Report by Chris

Rushden & Diamonds slipped to their sixth consecutive away defeat as they suffered their first ever Conference defeat at The Crabble.

Diamonds made 6 changes from the side that lost in midweek at Barnet. Billy Turley and Jon Brady both returned from suspension and replaced Stuart Naylor and John Hamsher while David Town replaced the injured Jean ­ Michel Sigere up front. Wholesale changes were made to the midfield with only Tarkan Mustafa retaining his place. Gary Butterworth and Sean Carey returned from injury while Paul Underwood slotted into the left-hand side of midfield. Andy Burgess and Gary Mills dropped down to the substitute bench while Gary Setchell was omitted. Darren Bradshaw and Mark Sale joined on loan keeper Andy Iga on the substitute bench.

Dover had the first main attack of the game when debutant Danny Hockton beat two defenders and shot past Turley but the heavy goalmouth stopped the ball from going over the line.

Diamonds first chance came in the fourth minute when Dover keeper Paul Hyde fumbled Brady¹s free kick but Lee Shearer was on hand to clear.

Minutes later Justin Jackson was sent clear down the right but his cross-missed everyone and the ball bounced out for a throw-in.

Diamonds missed a great chance to take the lead in the 19th minute. Brady¹s free kick was cleared to Mark Peters who shot over over from close range.

In the 28th minute, Jackson was fouled by Danny Chapman on the edge of the penalty area but Brady¹s free kick sailed over the top. One-minute later Dover were ahead. Joss Vansittart found himself in a wide position on the left and then delivered a fine cross that Jimmy Strouts headed home from six yards.

In the 36th minute Rushden came close to equalising. Mustafa outpaced Steve Norman and when the cross came into the penalty area, nobody was available to put the ball away.

The home side doubled their advantage just before the half-time whistle with a goal from new signing Hockton. The former Stevenage player beat Carey and Mustafa before unleashing a right foot shot that bounced off the heavily sanded penalty area and into the roof of the net.

Diamonds pulled a goal back in the 53rd minute. New boy Colin Pluck upended Jackson in the area and Underwood sent Hyde the wrong way.

Le Bihan came close to making it 3-1 to Dover on the hour with a spectacular 35-yard chip that dipped over Turley and hit the bar. Sale came on for his first senior appearance in 12 months when he replaced Town.

Five minutes later, Diamonds were reduced to ten men. Vansittart outpaced Jim Rodwell and collided with Turley just outside Rushden¹s penalty area. After both players received several minutes of medical treatment, Turley was stretchered off with a serious looking ankle injury. To add insult to injury, the goalkeeper was shown the red card.

Ray Warburton was sacrificed in defence allowing on loan keeper Iga to make an unexpected debut. Iga was on non­contract terms with Dover last season.

Butterworth made way for Mills on 75 minutes before Dover consolidated their position from another set piece move. From Norman¹s 82nd minute corner, defender Shearer rose to head home at the far post.

Three minutes from time, Hockton made it four for Dover with a fine goal. He collected the ball in the middle of the park and after moving forward, fired a 25-yard shot that gave Iga no chance.

Diamonds team: – Turley, Peters, Rodwell, Warburton, Mustafa, Brady, Carey, Butterworth, Underwood, Town, Jackson

Dover Athletic 0 Rushden & Diamonds 4

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

12th February 2000 – The Crabble Athletic Ground (Attendance: 2950)

Rushden Team: Turley, Wooding, Cramman, McElhatton, Rodwell, Warburton, Butterworth, Hamsher, Lowe, De Souza, Underwood.
Substitutes: Collins, Burgess, Mills, Peters, Bertocchi

Diamonds Scorers: De Souza 45 mins,71 mins, Hamsher 64 mins (Pen) and Rodwell 73 mins.

Webmasters MoM: “THE TEAM”

Diamonds came to the Crabble full of confidence. Past results had been favourable here, and with an early look at the pitch meeting with BTs approval for our preferred style of play, the stage was set for a thrilling top of the table class. Macca had passed himself fit after an 11.00am fitness test and the boost to the squad was obvious to see. But preparations just before the start of the game, caused some confusion and led to Diamonds last minute preparations going awry. Because of the numbers turning up to watch the game and the relatively small number of available turnstiles the game was delayed ten minutes. Unfortunately no-one told the Diamonds dressing room, so as Diamonds players started the exit from the dressing room to the pitch they were then told of the delay. This undoubtedly led to a slow start for Diamonds in the first ten minutes of the match as the pre-match warm up and preparation was wasted.

For the first ten minutes Diamonds were pegged back in their own half, having to give away corners as they tried to settle down and psyche themselves up again. Pressure was not helped by giving away some poor possession, especially from Billy in goal whose kicking had gone awry, although some of the back passes to him were awful. Then it clicked for Diamonds, the rhythm was suddenly there, they were able to put their foot on the ball, create time and space, the movement upfront and from the flanks moved into gear and they never looked back. John Hamsher was causing all sorts of problems to the Dover defence on the right, jinking past players, cutting inside, putting superb ball into the box. Lowey was magnificent, holding the ball and laying off superb flicks for Migs and Unders to run on to. In the middle Butts and Macca started to boss it, and win all the second ball, all the lose Dover possession, and all of the 50/50s. Diamonds were playing class, top quality football, that we all know they are capable of in the right conditions. It was beautiful to watch and the chances to open the scoring inevitably came. Hamsher was the main provider, as a header from Migs was saved, a shot from Tim was heading inside the post but got a deflection for a corner, a great ball to Unders in the box but his header went wide as his shirt was blatantly tugged as he tried to jump to meet the ball, and a Razor header that the keeper almost fumbled on the goal-line. Diamonds were breaking sharp and fast, building the moves so skillfully it was a joy to watch. When Migs put them into the lead just on half time heading in from an Unders cross, it was no more than they deserved, in fact two nil would have been a more realistic result on the first half performance. As for Dover other than the first ten minutes they did very little, a few half chances where the finishing was well wide was all that they could muster. The only disappointing point for Diamonds was a couple of bookings, one to Macca that was probaly due to lack of fitness and one to Lowey for arguing to the linesman after an offside decision went against him.

The second half started as you would expect with Dover trying to regain some initiative and for a while they achieved that, working well down the right and putting in some quality crosses that unfortunately their forwards were too slow to latch on to in the box. Those that were connected with skimmed agonisingly wide of Billy’s post. Then probably the turning point of the game happened as a Dover forward cut across the outside of the Diamonds box. He unleashed a superb shot that somehow Billy got a finger to and pushed onto the post. The ball ricocheted out across the goal and was cleared away to safety. That was a save that you would not see bettered anywhere, in any Division or League. You could almost visibly see the Dover heads drop, as they knew this was to be Diamonds day. Diamonds stepped up a gear again, cutting open the Dover defence at will. Migs and Lowey were running the defence ragged, and Hamster and Unders causing trouble down the flanks. Migs was put in with a chance on 64 minutes working his way superbly into the box, unselfishly he cut the ball back to Macca whose goalward bound shot was saved well with the defenders hand and Diamonds were awarded the penalty. The penalty king himself, Hamster, slotted it away with ease showing no nerves at all – just another day at the office. Dover were down and out but still Diamonds pushed forward with flowing football and Migs grabbed his second on 71 minutes and Rodders planted a header past the keeper on 73 minutes to end the rout! In fact it should have been five as Macca weaved his way into the box with ten minutes to go and shot across the keeper but the ball went just wide of the post. If he had looked up he would have spotted Migs un-marked and ready to accept his hat-trick. But this was not a day to ponder on missed chances, but a day to remember that those Diamonds supporters who had made the journey to Dover had witnessed one of the most accomplished performances from a Diamonds team for many a season. It ranks with the second half at Kingstonian when we won 5-1, or Woking at home over the Xmas period in 1998, or Halifax at home when we won 4-0. But this was away from home at a title contender, and the superb football was sustained over the 90 minutes – it was a joy to watch!

It would be unfair to pull anyone out of the team for special praise this afternoon – they were all superb to a man. Billy has without doubt won over any few stragglers about his confidence in goal. He made saves, collected crosses and his positioning was faultless. Tim and Kenny worked non stop, Rodders and Razor were giants out there – not winning all in the air but fighting for every second ball, not playing it fancy but doing a job for the team. Macca and Butts were a world apart – running the midfield with strength, vision and flair. Hamster was a revelation out on the right, and will now be giving BT enormous selection problems, Unders looked sharp and incisive, and the front men were pure class with Migs pace and skil on the ball, the sharp turns, and Lowey just oozes sheer class. The ball seems to stick to his feet, he lays off deft little touches, brings others into play, is a goal maker and a goal taker. A magnificent performance and now we look forward to Forest Green and hopefully some revenge this Tuesday, and then the prospect of a mouth watering game up at Donny next Saturday. Lets hope we take the same if not more support with us next week and get another result to remember.

Rushden & Diamonds 1 Dover Athletic 1

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

6th November 1999 – Nene Park (Attendance: 3037)

Rushden Team: Turley, Brady, Wooding, Peters, Warburton, Butterworth, McElhatton, Hamsher, De Souza, Collins, Underwood.
Substitutes: Mills, Cramman, Bertocchi, Town, Rodwell.

Dover Team: Hyde, Browne, Virgo, Leberl, Beard, Dunne, Clark, Wormull, Vansittart, Brown, Le Bihan.

Diamonds Scorers: Underwood 87 mins.

Webmasters MoM: De Souza

After the excitement of games played during October, a string of great results and then a scintillating performance at Nuneaton, then we can maybe excuse a lack lustre performance from Diamonds today. The two current form teams came head to head at Nene Park so it was always likely to be a closely fought game. Dover had come to secure a point and as it turned out very nearly came away with three – which would have been unfair to Diamonds.

Dover had the best of the first five minutes, and had a great chance to take the lead after just one minute, Mark Peters failed to clear in his own corner by the bye-line, Clark managed to get in a cross that flew across the box with no-one able to get a touch. This fright seemed to spur Diamonds to life, and on 4 minutes Collins was through on goal but a last ditch tackle managed to clear the ball off his toes for a corner. We were then treated to an exhibition from both teams of two minutes heading tennis – a strange situation because in the very blustery conditions at Nene Park, with a swirling wind, I would have imagined it would be far easier to keep the ball on the grass. On 8 minutes indecision in the Dover defence let De Souza bustle his way clear but the ball seemed to stick at his feet and the chance was gone. Collins had a half chance on 17 minutes, taking a shot on the turn that the Dover keeper saved well, parried the ball but there was no in-coming Diamonds player to take on the rebound. Dover had their first shot of the half on 21 minutes, a long range effort that went high and wide causing Turley no problems. Jon Brady was causing trouble down the flanks and he picked up a loose ball just outside the box on 23 minutes but shot wide of the keepers far post. Just two minutes later De Souza had the best chance yet to put Diamonds into the lead. He brought the ball down well just inside the box, struggled to get in a shot which was blocked, he regained his composure and swung another shot goalwards, not a lot of power but the ball beat the keeper and hit the post. The rebound off the post fell straight to the keeper who couldn’t believe his luck. Darren Collins, who was having great trouble coping with the bright low sun and the strong gusts of wind had a header saved on 30 minutes, managing to connect to a Jon Brady cross but unfortunately unable to get much power behind the header. Three minutes later great work from Underwood put a ball into the box finding Collins with a bit of space. He cushioned a header into the path of Brady but the keeper saved well at his feet. Diamonds had a further two half chances falling to Macca and Collins but the first half ended all square. Dover seemed loathe to risk any sort of adventurous play, and some of their “diving” tactics resembled those of another team not too far away who also play in similar colour shirts!

If the first half lacked sparkle and high entertainment value then first thirty minutes of the second half was even less inspiring. There were enough chances in the first half for Diamonds to have been well in command had they been taken, but chances in the first thirty of the second half were very few. Even worse for Diamonds was that they fell behind on 56 minutes. Brown found his way easily down the left, got to the line and cut back a delicious ball leaving Clarke totally unmarked for a simple tap in for a one goal lead. For the next twenty minutes Diamonds worked hard in midfield to create an opening but the final ball was just not good enough. Darren Collins first touch had deserted him, the crosses into the box were not finding Diamonds players, and De Souza was finding that as soon as he got the ball he suddenly had three markers climbing all over him. Such is the new found confidence of De Souza that they did not stop him. Time and time again he wriggled free, held the ball well for support, and got into dangerous areas. But the support was not sharp enough today. Butts and Macca were running midfield, but found the Dover defence hard to pull apart and out of shape. Kenny Cramman was brought on for Tim Wooding, and on 76 minutes Town came on for Brady, changing the formation from a 3-5-2 to a 4-4-2. This gave Underwood much more room to get forward. Diamonds were so unlucky not to equalize after 80 minutes. Paul Underwood picked up a loose ball well into his own half. He set off on a run, turning defenders first left and then right. He moved towards the middle of the Dover half towards the area, and unleashed a superb shot that was bending into the top left of the keepers goal. Somehow the keeper got a touch and turned it behind for a corner. But this Diamonds team does not give in and were turning the screws, looking for a break, and it came on 87 minutes. The constant pressure was causing Dover to start giving away silly fouls around their area. Unders stepped up to take a free kick and hit a superb shot, maybe getting a very slight deflection, past Hyde in the Dover goal. Diamonds now pushed forward again looking for the goal that would give them the three points. From another free kick Razor climbed head and shoulders above the Dover defence but could not direct his header on target as he did against Scunthorpe. Injury time, probably five minutes of it, was solid Diamonds pressure but the goal would not come and the points were shared.

So the current un-beaten run continues, but it was a case of two points lost today. Dover were a hard team to break down, but the threat of Wormull and Vansittart never materialized. So Diamonds lose top spot to Kingstonian and now look forward to the long trip to Yeovil next Saturday. With other results going for Diamonds today there was little damage in dropping the home points, but a win next Saturday would surely put the train back on the rails.

Rushden & Diamonds 2 Dover Athletic 2

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

16th March 1999 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2734)

Rushden Team: Smith, Heggs, Whyte, Rodwell, Wooding, Brady, McElhatton, Cooper, Foster, Collins, Underwood.

Subs: Hamsher, West, De Souza.

Diamonds Scorers: Cooper, Heggs.

Webmasters MoM: None

Match Report:

A disappointing result and performance from Diamonds, who let slip a two goal lead when they were cruising through the first half. Injuries to Razor and Brads meant BT having to shuffle his defence and bring in Chris Whyte and Tim Wooding. The first thirty minutes saw Dover in disarray and Diamonds attacking at will. A beautiful free kick from Coops and then a scrambled goal off his knee by Heggs, and you could be forgiven for assuming a rout was on the way. But Dover were brought back into the game by a superb 35 yard goal from Wormull. Diamonds still pressed forward and when Collins was through with only the keeper to beat, and three defenders trailing in his wake, an outstretched leg up-ended him. Never has there been a more blatant foul , but somehow the referee only booked the offender and the chance to increase the lead gone. A header that hit the bar seconds from the end of the first half would have made it a realistic scoreline, but it was not to be.

The second half was a totally different ball game. The Dover manager made tactical changes that limited the ball to Collins and Foster from midfield, and suddenly there was no width and no midfield. Coops who had an excellent first half drifted out of the game, Unders and Brady were kept playing towards their own goal, and Heggs failed to make any impression. The defence then showed that they had not played together for a while and looked jittery, and it was no surprise when Chris Whyte fluffed a clearance, was left trailing as the attacker steered the ball into the net past Smudger.

For the next twenty minutes Dover looked by far the better team, and had the better chances to take the match. The jitters crept into the team, who started arguing amongst themselves. De Souza was brought on to add some pace upfront replacing Fossy, and in the last five minutes Hamsher was brought on to replace Heggs, who showed his disgust at the decision by storming past the dug-out and down the tunnel. In those last five minutes and injury time Diamonds should have taken all three points as shots rained in, were cleared off the line, and De Souza had two great chances to secure the points but wasted them.

So two points dropped, but Cheltenham and Kettering only picked up a point a piece as well. The Robins must be even more disappointed than Diamonds as there point at home to bottom of the table Farnborough ended up with Farnborough only having ten men on the pitch. The Poppies would normally be pleased with a point at Woking, but they probably needed three to sustain their title aspirations with games now running out for them. I think the title will be won and lost over the next two weeks, when Cheltenham play the Poppies, Diamonds then play the Poppies and Diamonds then play Cheltenham. Exciting games ahead!

With Razor probably out for the rest of the season, BT desperately needs Brads to play on Saturday at Morecambe, though he looks extremely doubtful at the moment. As for new signings before the transfer deadline – forget Tillson from Bristol, its a non starter. He is a friend of Andy Collett, lives in Sawtree, and was being shown the facilities. With Wycombe and other Nationwide Clubs after his services he is not willing to drop out of the League, and Diamonds would not break their pay structure.

Dover Athletic 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

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

08.09.98 – The Crabble

Diamonds Team…Gayle, Wooding, Bradshaw, Mison, Wilson, Whyte, Brady, Vandervalden, Foster, Collins, Underwood. Subs Archer, McElhatton, Hanlon.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Foster 26 mins.

Webmasters Man of the Match award : Vandervalden

Match Report :

Table-topping Rushden & Diamonds were denied a record-breaking eighth straight Conference win by a Dover performance as good as any against the title favourites this season.

Adrian Foster’s 26th minute equaliser earned them a share of the spoils. The goal came after neat work through midfield and a telling flick from striking partner Darren Collins which allowed Foster to shoot home on the turn from the edge of the box.

Diamonds had the better of the opening exchanges with Carel van de Velden setting Collins up within a minute for a weak effort which barely troubled the Dover keeper and Paul Underwood crossing for Michael Mison to head wide.

Dover forced three consecutive corners and belief grew that they could stop the Diamonds bandwagon.

Giant pair Joff Vansittart and Ricky Reina caused the visiting back-four trouble in the air. But the opening goal came via a passing move down the right flank when Jimmy Strouts sent Jason Moore clear and his pin-point pass met the inrushing James Virgo to unleash a venomous drive which flew past Mark Gayle’s dive to his left.

But, stunned by finding themselves behind for the first time this season, Diamonds noticeably stepped up a gear with van de Velden playing a major part and soon got back on level terms.

Paul Underwood was guilty of spurning a golden chance to put the visitors in front at the interval when he fired high from close range after the ever-lively Foster set him up.

And with the Diamonds fans arriving during the break after being delayed on the M25 the second half proved noisier if not more entertaining.

Dover continued to press forward while Diamonds were content to retain possession and work their way out of defence.

Substitute Stuart Adams hit a 20-yard volley and Vansttart went close with a header to keep Gayle on his toes while two mazy runs by Mison ended without a telling pass.

A late opportunity fell to Collins, making an all-time high 212th club appearance, but a brave save at his feet snuffed out the danger.

The winning run, perhaps, had to end sometime. But against such hard-working opponents Diamonds can still claim to be unbeaten.

Dover Athletic 0 Rushden & Diamonds 3

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

Vauxhall Conference

24.01.98 – The Crabble

Diamonds Team : Smith, Wooding, Bradshaw, Cramman, Hamsher, Whyte, Mison, Butterworth, West, Alford, Underwood, Subs: Kelly, Capone and Alford.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Underwood 23 mins Alford 37 and 88 minutes

Webmaster Diamonds Man of the Match : Carl Alford

Match Report :

Dover started off the brighter of the two sides, and in fact could have gone ahead in the first minute but Chris Whyte cleared off his line following initial pressure from Dover. The team of Diamonds was slightly changed from previous weeks as Michael Mison replaced Brendan Hackett, and Carl Alford replaced the suspended Collins. On four minutes Diamonds had their first opportunity as Michael Mison wasted a great opportunity when heading wide and high into the crowd behind the goal. Other than the opening chances, there was very little other action causing concern to the keepers in the first fifteen minutes.

As the half wore on Diamonds started to come more into the game. On 22 minutes following pressure from Diamonds, Gary Butterworth crossed for Paul Underwood to head in Diamonds opening goal. Dover attempted to hit back immediately forcing a couple of corners which Diamonds managed to deal with quite adequately. As the half continued Diamonds passing skills came into their own and a header from West on 30 minutes nearly put Diamonds further in front. Dover looked great on the break and on 35 minutes Smith made a marvellous save from a Sammy Ayorinde header. Then on 37 minutes West picked up the ball just outside the area, he was pushed back so passed to Alford. Alford saw Martin Davies off his line and he chipped the keeper beautifully for his first goal of the season. A great goal by Alford which must have impressed Brian Talbot.

Dover then put on more pressure, forcing Smith to another great save, and then a shot from fully 30 yards whistled past the woodwork with Smith beaten. Dover were creating the chances but failing to take them, the difference between the two sides. Bradshaw had a very shaky first half against the pace of Adams, probably his worst 45 minutes since making the team. Luckily Wooding was having a good game and managed to mop up any slack tackling from Bradshaw. Chris Whyte also had problems with his marking in the first half.In fact he took a knock at the end of the 1st half which left him hobbling and looking as though he may have problems for the second half

Dover as you might expect, started the second half in the ascendancy as they pushed forward to try and get back into the game. Ayorinde had a couple of chances but his accuracy in shooting left much to be desired. Cramman made a great saving tackle on 7 minutes from Dempsey, and on the break Diamonds put the ball forward to Alford who passed back to Mison who hit a good shot just past the post. The first ten minutes saw the Diamonds defence lacking in some way, and looking un-balanced.

The attack for Diamonds lacked support from midfield, and one must say the pace of Collins. Too often West found himself holding up the ball and waiting for support that did not come. On 57 minutes the referee made his first booking of the afternoon, Bradshaw going into the book for a foul on Adams. Gary Butterworth had his appetite back today and found himself getting forward much more than he has done in previous games. Hamsher, though playing well, was obviously playing in a position that was a bit alien to him, and maybe Capone should have been picked for his ability to play wide. Sixteen minutes into the second half Cramman put Underwood in who put across a great delivery to Alford who had his shot blocked by Martin Davies on the line, who hastened a clearance.

Ayorinde picked up on a poor clearance from Mison who fortunately for Diamonds again managed to fluff his shot. Dover started to pile on the pressure, pegging Diamonds back in their own half for long periods. Cramman continued to take the goal kicks for Smith, who is still suffering with his hernia problem. It must be a serious worry for Talbot that Smith may not see out the season, and Darren Watts will have to be drafted in. Carl Alford put in a lot of work both up front and helping out in defence. On 67 minutes Diamonds were again lucky to escape as Dover squandered yet another great chance. Diamonds seemed to have no-one who could hang on to the ball and relieve pressure on the defence. Diamonds were also unable to put any quality balls into the Dover area and put the home team under pressure. Dempsey, who plays wide on the left put Wooding under constant pressure in the second half. In attack for Diamonds both West and Alford, who are similar players, found themselves making the same runs.

As the game moved into the last 15 minutes Diamonds attempted to push Dover back. Whyte looked very slow to recover from his runs forward, obviously troubled by his first half injury. As the game continued Bradshaw seemed to settle down and get back a bit of form. With Whyte struggling it was imperative that Bradshaw and Mison were covering better. Dover made a substitution on 82 minutes in an attempt to provide a couple of killer blows and bring Dover back on terms. With 9 minutes to go Dover fired another couple of great shots at the Diamonds goal that fizzed past the post, much to the relief of the shaky Diamonds defence. On 85 minutes Underwood was put through and fired a weak cross to a Diamonds player, and then Alford climbed way above the Dover defence to waste a golden opportunity by heading way over the bar.

West’s work rate was very impressive today up front, but he seemed to lack the presence of Collins, with whom he had made a close partnership over the last half dozen games. For many games at the beginning of the season Diamonds were criticised for not taking their chances, while the opposition took theirs. The recent form of Diamonds can be put down to Diamonds now taking their chances. On 88 minutes Carl Alford put the game beyond all doubt with another great goal, reminiscent of the Carl Alford of old. A great finish and all credit to Carl who has proved that maybe his future is still rosy at Nene Park. Certainly he has proved a point to Brian Talbot, who himself must be congratulated for bringing Carl back to the team, when his future looked bleak. A U-turn by Talbot, but showing what a strong character he is.

In the last couple of minutes Capone came on for Underwood and Butterworth got booked for putting the ball into the net after the whistle had gone. A senseless booking by the referee but Butterworth should have known better, as this referee has a poor reputation when it comes to bookings. On 90 minutes Alford had a half chance to complete his hatrick, but missed his shot.

So three points for the Diamonds, but unfortunately as in previous weeks all of the top teams won, so limiting the jump up the table for Diamonds.

Rushden & Diamonds 4 Dover Athletic 1

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

Vauxhall Conference

Date: 13.12.97 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2254)

Diamonds Team : Smith, Wooding, Bradshaw, Mison, Branston, Whyte, Butterworth, Capone, West, Collins, Hackett, Subs: Hamsher, Kelly and Ndekwe.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Collins 28 and 83 mins, West 31 and 65 minutes.

Webmaster Diamonds Man of the Match : Darren Collins

Match Report : At last a couple of back to back inspiring performances from the Diamonds. Following last weeks great win at Northwich, Dover were today played off the park by a strong and inventive Diamonds team. Brian Talbot kept faith with last weeks team and he was rewarded with an emphatic win, albeit against very poor opposition.

Diamonds started the match at a charge, and it was some surprise that they had to wait until the 28th minute to take the lead through Darren Collins. Diamonds controlled midfield superbly with Gary Butterworth orchestrating every move forward, with Bradshaw supporting. The front men could have had a brace at least each before half time but chances were missed. Martin Davies in goal for Dover looked as shaky as he used to last season for the Diamonds, and it was no surprise when Colin West headed a superb goal after a neat cross in from the right, his first goal for Diamonds. Mison looked impressive and Whyte controlled any threat from Diamonds ex loan player Sammy Ayorinde.

The second half started as the first finished, with Diamonds exerting all of the pressure. They went further ahead on 65 minutes with a superb goal from West. What was so pleasing was the confidence in which Diamonds played the ball around leading up to Wests strike. Indeed Collins had a couple of chances to increase the lead further as on one occasion he pressured Davies from a back pass, collected the shot that rebounded from him and then proceeded to lob the ball over the empty goal. He also put the ball in the back of the net a few minutes later only for Mison to be ruled offside. Dover pulled a goal back on 76 minutes after a deliberate handball was missed by the referee, with the Dover striker proceeding to put away a great strike. Whyte got himself boked for contesting the decision, and then Mison got himself booked for a late tackle after a bit of “afters” from a Dover midfielder. Collins scored his second, and advanced into the record books as Diamonds all time highest scorer with a goal on 83 minutes which killed off the game.

So a good game and a great performance that keeps Diamonds in fifth and in with the pack who are chasing Halifax who lost today. With Halifax still to meet Diamonds both home and away it could be an interesting season ahead. Diamonds now need to put up a good performance next week against bogey team Hayes to keep up the pressure on the leaders. After todays performance they should be well up for the game. Incidentally the atmosphere at Nene Park was better today, due mainly to a group of school children filling one part of the North Stand and making themselves heard all game. Maybe the management should get them along more often as it certainly gave some thing to the atmosphere that has been lacking. Well done lads.

 

Simon Evans

Simon Evans

Born 28 January 1988 (Age 22 at debut)

Position: Goalkeeper

(Diamonds player #362)

Total appearances 7

(6 League, 1 Hillier Senior Cup)

Debut:

12 January 2011 (Home Brackley Town)

Final game:

30 April 2011 (Away Darlington)

Born in Reading, Simon began his career with Weymouth and graduated from their Youth Scheme. After a brief spell with Andover, he joined Dorchester Town at the start of the 2006/2007 season, making 46 appearances before leaving the Magpies in April 2008. After an injury layoff, he re-joined Weymouth in February 2009, shortly after the Diamonds 9-0 victory at the Wessex Stadium. He moved to Western League Division One side Bridport for the start of the 2009/2010 season, but made the switch back to Dorchester Town in early 2010. After a year with the Magpies, he was allowed to sign non-contract terms at Nene Park on 10 January 2011. After playing in the Hillier Cup game against Brackley Town on 12 January on non contract terms, his signed was completed on 17 January.

He went on to make his Conference debut for the Diamonds on 9 April 2011 in the 2-2 draw with Wrexham at Nene Park following Joe Day’s transfer to Peterborough United. He was released in May 2011, and re-joined his former club Dorchester Town in early July 2011. After being an unused substitute on several occasions, he went on loan to Wessex Premier side Hamworthy United on 16 September 2011, and signed dual registration forms with them the following week. Simon left the Magpies at the end of the season and agreed a deal to return to Weymouth on 21 July 2012, extending his contract for a further year in June 2013. After a serious injury he moved to Dorchester Town as their reserve team manager at the end of 2015.

Appearances

2010/2011 – squad number 32

HSC2

12.1.11

Brackley Town (H)

Conf

9.4.11

Wrexham (H)

Conf

13.4.11

Grimsby Town (A)

Conf

16.4.11

Gateshead (A)

Conf

22.4.11

Crawley Town (A)

Conf

25.4.11

Kidderminster (H)

Conf

30.4.11

Darlington (A)

Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson

Born 15 April 1990 (Age 20 at debut)

Position: Midfielder

(Diamonds player #346)

Total appearances 47 – 3 goals

(44 League, 1 FA Cup, 2 FA Trophy)

Debut:

14 August 2010 (Home Fleetwood Town)

Final game:

30 April 2011 (Away Darlington)

Matt began his career with Harlow Town as a 15 year old, making 11 appearances for the Southern League Division One East club. He moved on to Erith & Belvedere before helping Isthmian Division One North side Aveley to promotion to the Premier Division for the first time in their history during the 2008/2009 season. The following season, they made the play-offs, narrowly losing to Boreham Wood. Manager Justin Edinburgh brought the tall strong midfielder to Nene Park on 9 June 2010, and he made his debut as a substitute in the opening game of the season, at home to Fleetwood Town.

Matt Johnson Kidderminster

He went on to play in all but two of the Conference games during the season. With the uncertainty about the future of the club, he was allowed to leave at the end of the season, and joined Conference South side Dover Athletic on 7 June 2011. Matt failed to gain a regular place in the side however, and was released by mutual consent in mid September, joining Conference newcomers Braintree Town on 23 September 2011. On 19 January 2012, Matt joined Conference North side Bishop’s Stortford. He spent the following two seasons with the Bishops, becoming captain and winning Player of the Year awards  before signing for Conference South side Ebbsfleet United on 30 May 3014. He left Ebbsfleet after 3 years to join Chelmsford City ahead of the 2017-18 season. In March 2018 he joined Enfield Town. He moved to AFC Hornchurch ahead of the 2019-20 season, but left there in October 2020, prior to returning to Braintree Town.

Matt Johnson Tamworth

Appearances

2010/2011 – squad number 18

Conf

14.8.10

Fleetwood Tn (H)

as sub

Conf

17.8.10

Bath City (A)

as sub

Conf

21.8.10

Barrow (A)

Conf

24.8.10

Wimbledon (H)

Conf

28.8.10

Grimsby Town (H)

Conf

30.8.10

Kettering Town (A)

Conf

4.9.10

York City (A)

Conf

11.9.10

Newport Co (H)

as sub

Conf

18.9.10

Southport (A)

as sub

1 goal

Conf

21.9.10

Histon (H)

as sub

Conf

26.9.10

Crawley Town (H)

as sub

Conf

29.9.10

Eastbourne B (A)

Conf

2.10.10

Altrincham (A)

Conf

5.10.10

Darlington (H)

Conf

9.10.10

Mansfield Tn (H)

Conf

16.10.10

Tamworth (A)

FAC4q

23.10.10

Kettering Town (A)

Conf

30.10.10

Barrow (H)

Conf

9.11.10

Kidderminster (A)

as sub

Conf

13.11.10

Fleetwood Tn (A)

Conf

20.11.10

York City (H)

as sub

Conf

27.11.10

Forest Green (A)

as sub

FAT1

11.12.10

Eastwood Tn (H)

Conf

1.1.11

Luton Town (A)

Conf

8.1.11

Altrincham (H)

as sub

FAT1r

11.1.11

Eastwood Tn (A)

Conf

18.1.11

Hayes&Yeading(A)

as sub

Conf

22.1.11

Newport Co (A)

as sub

1 goal

Conf

29.1.11

Tamworth (H)

as sub

Conf

5.2.11

Cambridge U (A)

as sub

Conf

12.2.11

Gateshead (H)

as sub

Conf

22.2.11

Eastbourne B (H)

as sub

Conf

1.3.11

Bath City (H)

as sub

Conf

5.3.11

Hayes&Yeading(H)

Conf

8.3.11

Forest Green (H)

Conf

12.3.11

Wrexham (A)

as sub

Conf

19.3.11

Southport (H)

1 goal

Conf

22.3.11

Luton Town (H)

Conf

26.3.11

AFC Wimbledon(A)

Conf

2.4.11

Mansfield Town (A)

as sub

Conf

5.4.11

Histon (A)

Conf

9.4.11

Wrexham (H)

Conf

13.4.11

Grimsby Town (A)

as sub

Conf

16.4.11

Gateshead (A)

as sub

Conf

22.4.11

Crawley Town (A)

Conf

25.4.11

Kidderminster H (H)

Conf

30.4.11

Darlington (A)

as sub

%d bloggers like this: