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Kingstonian 0-1 Rushden & Diamonds
OGGY OGGY OGGY - 01 01 01 !

Rushden came to Kingsmeadow seeking a repeat of their performance in this fixture last year - when they won by five goals to one. Three points might have taken them back to the top of the table, but at 4.45 they were still in second, although the three points had been secured.

With Simon Stewart injured and Gary Patterson suspended there were chances for Mark Harris and Robin Taylor to stake their claim for a place in the quarter-final line-up. The fact that neither of the two first-choices were missed is, of course, a testament to the incredible strength in depth at Kingsmeadow.

The match began in bright sunshine, with the visitors cheered on by five coach loads of supporters. Well, watched by five coach loads of supporters anyway. Bit quiet for potential league champions aren't they?

Mustafa and Pitcher combined to create the first chance for K's, when the former passed to the latter on the right, who then crossed towards Leworthy. The striker was close to connecting, and had he done so might have given K's the lead. He didn't though, and the ball rolled wide. Ex-K Paul "damn hippie" Underwood handballed the ball to Miguel DeSouza who then had a shot from the left which wasn't far away from Farrelly's post.

Eddie Akuamoah took off on a good run from his own half, after Derek Allan had cleared a dangerous looking cross, which ended with his shot being headed up and over his own bar by Jim Rodwell. But it was then that Rushden started to show their championship credentials. A cross from Underwood on the left was heading towards DeSouza, who was stood on the penalty spot and would surely have scored, when Colin Luckett whipped in to clear for a corner. From this the visitors hopes were dashed when Matt Crossley headed off to give them another chance.

This corner created a few problems in the box for K's, and led to several more crosses from the right. The last one was sent in by Hamsher and aimed towards Rodwell. Crossley though rose highest, but managed only to plant his header just inside the right-hand post with Farrelly rooted to the spot. Well, he couldn't have expected that, could he? It was slightly unfortunate for the skipper, but it had been a good spell of pressure from Rushden, and they probably got what they deserved from it.

Before the break DeSouza went close himself after beating Robin Taylor to an Underwood cross, Pitcher sent in a volleyed shot which caused few problems for Turley after good work from Wingfield and then followed this with a right-footed shot just wide of the left-hand upright.

The second half saw the two teams attacking their respective supporters and although K's never managed to break down the stubborn visiting defence it can't be said that it was through a lack of trying. Boylan had been introduced for Leworthy during the break, and at least looked to be trying this time.

Wingfield had one shot which went close, after deflecting off of McElhatton, but crept just past the post for a corner. Wingfield had another effort from the left, which he struck with great power, but which was fairly easy for the goalkeeper to deal with. For some reason though, instead of catching the shot, Turley two-fisted it out for a throw, volley ball style. From the throw, Pitcher received the ball and sent in a wicked cross which flew across the face of goal. Nobody connected until it got to Cramman on the left who conceded a corner kick.

But K's spell of pressure was over, and the they had won no reward. After that it was Rushden who came closest to extending their lead, when Butterworth had an effort cleared off the line by Harris and when Underwood hit the left post late on.

The game ended, as it had at Nene Park, with Rushden celebrating a well-earned three points. The same problem which has affected K's so much of late was the reason for the loss - lack of goals. Having said that, for potential league champions, Rushden really didn't impress that much. If K's are to meet them later on this season in the Trophy then they have little to fear. And as somebody pointed out - Forest Green beat K's one-nil home and away last year, and look what happened to them in May.

Sat 4th Mar 2000
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Football Conference
Rushden & Diamonds1
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Colin Luckett
4Matt Crossley
5Derek Allan
6Mark Harris12
7Robin Taylor
8Geoff Pitcher
9Eddie Akuamoah
10David Leworthy14
11Phil Wingfield
12Joe O'Connor6
13Richard Hurst
14Lee Boylan10
15Mike Lester
16Luke Basford
Man of the Match
Colin Luckett
Colin Luckett
Match Report By
Gary Ekins