Changes and decisions paying off for Diamonds boss Peaks

Goalkeeper Ben Heath catches a cross during his debut for AFC Rushden & Diamonds at Spalding on Tuesday. Picture by Tim Wilson
Goalkeeper Ben Heath catches a cross during his debut for AFC Rushden & Diamonds at Spalding on Tuesday. Picture by Tim Wilson
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Andy Peaks admits he is having a “good spell” when it comes to making selection decisions for AFC Rushden & Diamonds at the moment.

Diamonds were forced into a reshuffle for Tuesday’s fine 2-1 success at high-flying Spalding United as they made it nine games without defeat in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South.

Goalkeeper Matt Finlay was ruled out after dislocating his finger during the 1-0 Buildbase FA Trophy win over Coalville Town last weekend and that meant a debut for new signing Ben Heath.

Then Sam Brown suffered a foot injury in the warm-up and was replaced by Jason Lee while substitutes Jake Newman and Lewis Wilson both made key contributions from the bench.

The changes didn’t cause any major problems as, despite having Rory Winters sent-off, Diamonds fought back to sink Spalding to continue their march up the table.

“Ben is a goalkeeper we have spoken with in the past and he has come in for pre-season with us before,” Peaks said.

“It’s a difficult position because we have been fortunate to have someone like Finners (Finlay) who has been so good for us.

“We have wanted to have another goalkeeper and Ben did fit the bill but he probably thought it was a bit of a closed shop with Finners already in there and I can understand that.

“But he was the first one we looked at when it became obvious that Finners was struggling with his finger.

“Rugby Town waived the seven days, which was a massive help and he came in and let absolutely no-one down.

“It was a change we had to make and it came off for us.

“You have spells like this as a manager when things seem to go for you and every change we make at the moment, whether it is for team selection or during matches, seems to be paying off.”

Peaks, meanwhile, was pleased with what iamonds were given in Monday’s draw for the second qualifying round of Trophy.

Diamonds will host Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South rivals Lincoln United at the Dog & Duck a week on Saturday.

And while the manager is expecting another tricky test for his team, he was content with another home tie.

“Lincoln are similar to us in that they have got some league matches to catch up on because they have performed well in the cups this season,” he said.

“I know they are a decent team, they have good players and they work really hard.

“It will be another tough game for us to get through.

“But before the draw was made, all I really wanted was a home tie.

“We have been given that against a team from the same league in a competition that doesn’t involve sides from any levels lower than this.

“So, from that point of view, we have to be happy and we will look forward to it.”