Season 2003-04

Rushden and Diamonds kicked off life in Division Two with a 3-1 opening day loss at Luton Town in season 2003/04. This defeat was followed by a 3-1 loss in the League Cup, at the hands of West Ham United, in front of a near 14,000 crowd at Upton Park. Rushden’s league form varied throughout the season, as the Diamonds could not manage more than two consecutive victories. Life in Division Two was proving to be a challenge. At Christmas, Rushden were placed 14th in the table, yet it was all very tight in the league at this time. Diamonds were only eight points above the drop zone, yet only six points behind Bristol City, who occupied the final play-off spot.

Off-the-field problems were beginning to mount, and clearly having an effect on the team’s performance. The beginning of March saw manager Brian Talbot resign from his post before heading to Oldham Athletic. Barry Hunter took charge of first team affairs on a Caretaker Manager basis. Hunter’s reign began with a 1-0 loss at Bristol City. A brace from centre-half Andy Edwards gave Rushden a victory against Notts County at Nene Park, a win that would prove to be Diamonds’ last victory of the season. Transfer deadline day saw four first team regulars leave Nene Park. Paul Underwood headed to Luton Town, while right full-back Marcus Bignot left for QPR. Jamaican duo Paul Hall and Onandi Lowe also departed, moving to Tranmere Rovers and Coventry City respectively. Lowe’s goals had been vital to Rushden and his departure was a major blow, as Rushden struggled for goals from then on.

As the club continued to slide down the league table, Ernie Tippett was appointed as manager to attempt to maintain Rushden’s Division 2 status with three games remaining. The task proved too much as Diamonds lost all three games 2-0, to Hartlepool, Colchester, and Port Vale, condemning Rushden to relegation after just one season in Division 2.

See below for a match summary as well as links to match reports. The final league table for the season can be seen here.

See here for a detailed summary of all the games during the season, including team-line up for each game and match timings.

Date V Lge Opponent Result Scorers Att
Sat 09/08/03 A D2 Luton Town Lost 1-3 Lowe 6878
Wed 13/08/03 A CC1 West Ham Utd Lost 1-3 Lowe 13715
Sat 16/08/03 H D2 Plymouth Argyle Won 2-1 Lowe, Jack 4045
Sat 23/08/03 A D2 Tranmere Rovers Won 2-1 Jack, Bell 7374
Mon 25/08/03 H D2 QPR Drew 3-3 Darby, Hall, Lowe (V) 5544
Sat 30/08/03 A D2 Oldham Athletic Lost 2-3 Lowe, Bignot 5469
Sat 06/09/03 H D2 Wycombe Wdrs Won 2-0 Jack, Lowe 4192
Sat 13/09/03 H D2 Brentford Lost 0-1 4396
Tue 16/09/03 A D2 Notts County Won 3-1 Lowe, Gray, Darby 4250
Sat 20/09/03 A D2 AFC Bournemouth Lost 1-2 Lowe 6464
Sat 27/09/03 H D2 Stockport Cty Drew 2-2 Gray, Edwards 4049
Tue 30/09/03 H D2 Brighton & HA Lost 1-3 Gray 4634
Sat 04/10/03 A D2 Barnsley Lost 0-2 8461
Sat 11/10/03 H D2 Chesterfield Won 2-1 Hunter, Jack 3817
Wed 15/10/03 A LDV1 Oxford Utd Won 1-0 Gray 2510
Sat 18/10/03 A D2 Sheffield Wed Drew 0-0 22599
Tue 21/10/03 A D2 Blackpool Won 3-2 Burgess, Jack, Kitson 5234
Sat 25/10/03 H D2 Wrexham Lost 2-3 Kitson/2 4117
Sat 01/11/03 H D2 Grimsby Town Won 3-1 Lowe/2, Hanlon 4185
Tue 04/11/03 H LDV2 Luton Town Lost 1-2 Jack 2746
Sat 08/11/03 A FAC1 Swansea City Lost 0-3 5031
Sat 15/11/03 A D2 Hartlepool Utd Lost 1-2 Jack 4944
Sat 22/11/03 H D2 Colchester Utd Won 4-0 Lowe, Gray, Burgess/2 4149
Sat 29/11/03 A D2 Port Vale Drew 1-1 Benjamin 4586
Sat 13/12/03 H D2 Bristol City Drew 1-1 Talbot 4340
Sat 20/12/03 A D2 Peterboro Utd Lost 1-3 Kitson 6176
Fri 26/12/03 H D2 Swindon Town Won 2-0 Lowe/2 4845
Sun 28/12/03 A D2 Wycombe Wdrs Won 2-0 Jack/2 5421
Sat 03/01/04 A D2 QPR Lost 0-1 14141
Sat 10/01/04 H D2 Luton Town Drew 2-2 Kitson, Hunter (V) 5823
Sat 17/01/04 A D2 Plymouth Argyle Lost 0-3 13021
Sat 31/01/04 H D2 Oldham Athletic Won 4-1 Jack, Lowe, Burgess, Hall 4591
Sat 07/02/04 A D2 Swindon Town Lost 2-4 og, Jack 7023
Sat 14/02/04 A D2 Chesterfield Lost 0-2 4361
Sat 21/02/04 H D2 Sheffield Wed Lost 1-2 Jack 5685
Tue 24/02/04 H D2 Tranmere Rovers Won 2-1 Lowe, Mills 3074
Sat 28/02/04 A D2 Wrexham Drew 1-1 Jack 3680
Tue 02/03/04 H D2 Blackpool Drew 0-0 3764
Sat 06/03/04 H D2 Peterborough Lost 0-1 4855
Fri 12/03/04 A D2 Bristol City Lost 0-1 12599
Tue 16/03/04 H D2 Notts County Won 2-1 Edwards/2 4030
Sat 20/03/04 A D2 Brentford Lost 2-3 Burgess, Lowe 4616
Sat 27/03/04 H D2 Bournemouth Lost 0-3 4500
Sat 03/04/04 A D2 Stockport Lost 1-2 Hunter 4717
Sat 10/04/04 H D2 Barnsley Lost 2-3 Gray, Hunter 4063
Mon 12/04/04 A D2 Brighton Drew 0-0 6320
Sat 17/04/04 A D2 Grimsby Lost 0-1 3890
Sat 24/04/04 H D2 Hartlepool Lost 0-2 4568
Sat 01/05/04 A D2 Colchester Lost 0-2 4618
Sat 08/05/04 H D2 Port Vale Lost 0-2 5240

Note – those games with a (P) in the scorers column will have match photos in the report, and those with a (V) will have a link to video highlights of the game.

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