Rushden University of Football. Third & Final Lesson

NATIONWIDE CONFERENCE

Att: 2749



RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS – 4  [Butterworth 5, Burgess 39, Peters 51, Lowe 83]

SUTTON UNITED – 0

Well, that’s more like it eh? Just 4 days after dumping ol’ Rushden out of the FA Trophy on their own patch, we return to eek out our now familiar 90 minute long 3-points-surrendering ceremony.

Yes you got it. Rushden gave us another fucking good hiding. For the 3rd time this season, the Conference’s richest club stuck 4 goals past us. Arse.

Earlier Bob & I depart from St Pancras and once more head for Wellingborough. Chalmers is attending today, but he’s coming from Sheffield! Having spent the week drinking and gambling at the Cheltenham festival, he somehow ends up at the Rotherham – Mansfield game. Thus his trip from Sheffield. Strange boy! We hit Wellingborough at about the same time and tab down into the town to The Cannon pub Bob and I had located earlier in the week. On arrival, we discover Tanglefoot is on offer and set about getting nicely beered up.

Some chips and a cab ride later, we arrive at Nene Park. Scene of our famous victory. It’s no less impressive in the daylight and we decide to have a quick squizz in their club shop. It’s huge! I’ve been in shops sited at 1st division clubs that are smaller than this! It’s another thing to point out that everything but the footy team (at the moment) is definately League material.

For some reason, despite only Newhouse being unavailable, JR makes a few changes. The outstanding Riley is replaced by the suspect Berry and Rowlands comes into midfield to give us a more conventional 4-4-2 formation from tuesdays sort of 4-3-1-1-1 affair. We’re not convinced of our chances.

 Our fears are well founded as in the first couple of minutes we return to our familiar playing pattern of shit 1st touch, poor passing and not closing the opposition down. Gone is the hard work and effective direct style of play from tuesday. It’s to have a swift affect on the match.

5 minutes in and our defence is already backpedalling for the umpteenth time. Rushden midfielder Butterworth goes straight at the heart of the back four and goes past Berry like he’s not there. Howells comes out bravely and blocks the intial effort at the attackers feet. Sadly for our ‘keeper, the ball breaks loose and Butterworth rolls it into the net with our defence stood by watching. Well reacted lads. 5 bloody minutes. Yep, we’re gonna get slaughtered.

Rushden continue to push forwards, clearly looking to finish us off early. They have a few close efforts, keeping Howells and his leaky rearguard on their toes. It amazingly takes the home side until the 39th minute to effectively end our participation in the fixture. The midfield stands and watches as the ball is worked wide to De’Souza. He runs into the box and Berry comes across to challenge. Our aged centre back stays with the striker for about 2 strides before seemingly giving up the chase and allowing him to pull the ball back for the unmarked Burgess to stroke the ball home. Not bad lads. Yet ANOTHER goal right on half time.

 Half time brings the scoffing of a cheeseburger and the news that Southport are 3-0 up (ARSE!) and Woking are 2-0 down (Yay….). Still, it does’nt matter. We’re plainly going to get shag all out of this game.

We actually come out and make a bit of a game of it at the start of the second half and we have our one and only meaningful shot on goal. Jimmy Dack collects a loose ball in midfield and goes past his opposite number. He then steps inside the next man and looses off a low shot from the edge of the box, which catches Turley a bit flat footed. The expensive ‘keeper is rather relieved to see our midfielders strike ping off the base of his left hand post. The danger is then swiftly dealt with.

Our resistance is lasts a couple more minutes before we concede another soft goal. A corner is swung in and Paul Harford outjumps his man to the ball. Unfortunately his header goes straight up in the air and the Rushden player then outjumps the lumbering number 8 to nod the ball in. A completely crap goal to give away.

We toil away, but rarely trouble the Rushden back four whilst most home attacks carry plenty of menace. De’Souza is in particular being a major pain in the arse. He’s big, strong and holds the ball up well, which natrually means he’s got way more than our defence can deal with.

The rout is completed 7 minutes from time when De’Souza collects a long ball forwards. He turns and plays the ball through our by now non-exsistant defence to the utterly unmarked Lowe, who has time to have a cup of tea, have a dump, wash and iron his shirt and comb his hair before slotting the ball under Howells.

 So, another bloody good tonking at the hands of Rushden. I would’nt have minded losing so much if we’d actually put up a fight for more than about 5 minutes of the game. What got me most was the team just really did’nt seem to give a shit about the result. Well, I suppose with Wembley a 2-legged Semi away, they’ve got other things on their minds.

Still, I hear Canvey is lovely in Mid-December.

We head back to the Cannon for a another couple of pints before heading off to find a rumoured Wetherspoons pub. We locate the hostelry and snatch a quick beer before heading back to the station. Here we wait and wait until we discover that the train that is 15 minutes late, isn’t coming at all. Bollocks. Back in London we nip to the Flintlock and Firkin in Euston for another beer, purely medicinal you understand, before heading off home.

MAN OF THE MATCH : Nko Ekoku. Subbed, but still our most attacking player.

ENTERTAINMENT : 3. Not much fun watching your team surrender.

TEAM : Howells, Berry, Laker, Harford, Skelly, Brooker, Rowlands, Dack, Harlow, Winston, Ekoku

SUBS : Forrester, Hutchinson, Watson, Brodrick

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