Season 2004-05

The pre-season of 2004/05 was a busy period for the club, as Ernie Tippett and Stewart Robson looked to effectively rebuild the squad for the forthcoming campaign. New signings included defenders Sean Connelly, Graham Allen (both from Tranmere Rovers), Peter Hawkins and Rob Gier (from MK Dons). Phil Gulliver also arrived along with Craig Dove (a winger) from Middlesbrough. Alex Hay and Gareth Seddon were also brought in to provide more attacking options. Before the fixtures for the 2004 / 05 campaign were announced, there was a great air of anticipation around Nene Park, in fact, around Northamptonshire. Everyone was eager to find out when Rushden and Northampton Town would lock horns, having missed each other the previous season, after Rushden won Division 3, and Northampton were relegated from Division 2.

The two sides would not have to wait long to meet. Rushden would travel to the Sixfields Stadium after an opening day home tie against Kidderminster Harriers. After drawing the opener with Kidderminster 0-0, Rushden went down 1-0 to Northampton, after Eric Sabin struck late on in the game. Injury and illness denied Gareth Seddon the opportunity to pull on a Diamonds shirt, so Ernie Tippett and Stewart Robson would utilise the loan system. Kevin Braniff arrived from Millwall on a three-month loan, and he scored vital goals in 1-0 wins against Grimsby and Cheltenham. The highlight of the opening half of the season was Rushden’s 5-1 thumping of Notts County at Nene Park. New loan signing Drewe Broughton scored a hat trick, the first of the three coming after just ten seconds. However, a run of 13 league games without a win would ultimately spell the end of Ernie Tippett and Stewart Robson’s reign at Nene Park. Barry Hunter took charge for his second spell as Caretaker Manager, and got off to the best possible start, with a 2-0 win over Leyton Orient.

Hunter had reignited the passion and determination that Rushden had missed for so long, and he also made some excellent loan signings to strengthen the squad for the battle ahead. Scott Shearer was brought in from Coventry City, to fill the troublesome Goalkeeper slot following Billy Turley’s departure. Hunter also brought in Neil McCafferty , a young Irish midfielder from Charlton, and Mark Williams, a Northern Ireland international, loaned in from MK Dons at centre-half. Drewe Broughton returned for a second spell at Nene Park, to forge an strike partnership with Billy Sharp, an eighteen year old from Sheffield United. Rushden were becoming quite a force at home under Hunter, and the highlight of the season would be March 12th, 2005. Rushden played Northampton at Nene Park, and with the game level at 2-2 in injury time, Luke Chambers misjudged a clearance-come-pass from Rob Gier, allowing Sharp to steal in and slot the ball past the Cobblers’ goalkeeper as the Rushden fans went wild.

Safety was guaranteed despite the loss of the final two matches of the season to already relegated Cambridge, and promotion chasing Macclesfield. Kidderminster were the other relegated side. In Summer 2005 Max Griggs stepped down as Chairman and owner of the club after announcing his intention to sell the club in October 2003. The Rushden and Diamonds Supporters Trust, made up of supporters of the club, were formed in order to protect the club. In January 2005 Griggs announced his plans to hand over the Football Club, the Nene Park stadium and 22 acres of land – except the sports and exhibition centre – to the Trust. The Griggs family also provided a cash injection to the Trust of £500,000 for the 2005/06 season, and £250,000 for the 2006/07 season.

The game at home to Oxford United on 26th December 2004 was the 700th in the Diamonds History – see here for a reflection on that milestone.

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 07/08/04 H CCL2 Kidderminster H Drew 0-0 2699
Tue 10/08/04 A CCL2 Northampton Town Lost 0-1 7107
Sat 14/08/04 A CCL2 Lincoln City Won 3-1 Braniff, Hay, Dove 4127
Sat 21/08/04 H CCL2 Grimsby Town Won 1-0 Braniff 2924
Tue 24/08/04 H CC1 Swindon Town Lost 0-1 1672
Sat 28/08/04 A CCL2 Yeovil Town Lost 1-3 Mills 5088
Mon 30/08/04 H CCL2 Bristol Rovers Drew 0-0 3367
Sat 04/09/04 H CCL2 Southend Utd Lost 1-4 Burgess 2804
Sat 11/09/04 A CCL2 Oxford Utd Drew 0-0 4756
Tue 14/09/04 H MCSF Northampton Town Lost 0-2 484
Sat 18/09/04 H CCL2 Cheltenham Town Won 1-0 Braniff 2601
Sat 25/09/04 A CCL2 Swansea City Lost 0-1 7410
Tue 28/09/04 A LDV1 Walsall Lost 0-1 2987
Sat 02/10/04 H CCL2 Rochdale Drew 0-0 2619
Fri 08/10/04 A CCL2 Shrewsbury Town Won 1-0 Dove 3882
Sat 16/10/04 H CCL2 Chester City Lost 0-1 2735
Tue 19/10/04 A CCL2 Wycombe Wdrs Drew 1-1 Mulligan 3844
Sat 23/10/04 A CCL2 Bury Drew 1-1 Hay 2672
Sat 30/10/04 H CCL2 Notts County Won 5-1 Broughton/3, Dove/2 3504
Sat 06/11/04 H CCL2 Darlington Lost 1-2 Mulligan 3036
Sat 13/11/04 A FAC1 Bradford City Won 1-0 Robinson 4171
Sat 20/11/04 A CCL2 Cambridge Utd Lost 1-3 Broughton 3466
Sat 27/11/04 H CCL2 Macclesfield Lost 0-2 2643
Sat 04/12/04 H FAC2 Colchester Utd Lost 2-5 Broughton, Gray 3077
Wed 08/12/04 A CCL2 Boston Utd Lost 0-1 2334
Sat 11/12/04 A CCL2 Mansfield Town Drew 0-0 3776
Sat 18/12/04 H CCL2 Scunthorpe Utd Lost 1-3 Mulligan 3198
Sun 26/12/04 H CCL2 Oxford Utd Drew 3-3 Dove, Bell, Taylor 4140
Tue 28/12/04 A CCL2 Leyton Orient Drew 2-2 Hay, Dove 3777
Sat 01/01/05 A CCL2 Southend Utd Lost 0-3 5930
Mon 03/01/05 H CCL2 Swansea City Lost 0-2 3382
Sat 08/01/05 H CCL2 Shrewsbury Town Drew 0-0 2829
Sat 15/01/05 A CCL2 Cheltenham Town Lost 1-4 Taylor 3160
Sat 22/01/05 H CCL2 Leyton Orient Won 2-0 Gier, Bell 3288
Sat 29/01/05 A CCL2 Rochdale Lost 0-2 2664
Sat 05/02/05 A CCL2 Chester City Lost 1-3 Sharp 2340
Sat 12/02/05 H CCL2 Wycombe Wandrs Lost 1-2 Allen 3490
Sat 19/02/05 A CCL2 Notts County Drew 1-1 Sharp 4556
Tue 22/02/05 H CCL2 Bury Won 3-0 Sharp, Gier, Bell 1803
Sat 26/02/05 H CCL2 Mansfield Town Drew 0-0 3096
Sat 05/03/05 A CCL2 Scunthorpe Utd Lost 0-1 4932
Sat 12/03/05 H CCL2 Northampton Town Won 3-2 Hawkins, Broughton, Sharp (V) 5520
Sat 19/03/05 A CCL2 Kidderminster Hrs Drew 0-0 3860
Fri 25/03/05 H CCL2 Lincoln City Lost 1-4 Sharp 4213
Mon 28/03/05 A CCL2 Grimsby Town Drew 0-0 4566
Sat 02/04/05 H CCL2 Yeovil Town Won 2-0 Gray, Sharp (P) 3726
Sat 09/04/05 A CCL2 Bristol Rovers Lost 0-3 5740
Sat 16/04/05 H CCL2 Boston Utd Won 4-2 Broughton, Sharp/3 3671
Sat 23/04/05 A CCL2 Darlington Lost 0-2 4579
Sat 30/04/05 H CCL2 Cambridge Utd Lost 0-1 5104
Sat 07/05/05 A CCL2 Macclesfield Town Lost 0-1 2658

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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