Andy Peaks was delighted to see his much-changed AFC Rushden & Diamonds side book a place in the quarter-finals of the Integro League Cup..
Diamonds shared a goalless draw with fellow Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South high-flyers Spalding United at the Dog & Duck but then held their nerve to win the resulting penalty shoot-out 6-5.
Peaks made good on his promise to make changes following last Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Loughborough Dynamo as only three players kept their places in the starting line-up.
But Diamonds held their own before triumphing in the shoot-out to move into the last eight.
“I am delighted to be honest,” Peaks said.
“It’s a competition we have used the squad in and to get through another round against a strong Spalding team is very pleasing.
“They had the better chances in the first half but I thought we were better in the second half.
“We made eight changes and I thought the attitude of the boys coming in was first class.
“They have been waiting for minutes and are probably frustrated they are not in the first team but they have turned up on a cold, wet Tuesday night and their attitude was fantastic.
“And that’s why I have got them at the club to be honest because I know I can call of them as and when and they will put in a performance for me.
“By the end of the game, they deserved the reward of going through.
“I wanted everyone to be there and the lads who played have watched enough games.
“The whole squad were there and that says a lot about the group.
“It keeps the good run going and it shows we are in it together.”
There were 10 perfect penalties in the shoot-out before Ben Heath saved Jordan Lemon’s spot-kick and that presented former Spalding man Jake Newman with the chance to finish the job, which he duly did.
“They were all good penalties and that is a credit to the players from both sides because the conditions were very heavy,” Peaks added.
“To be fair, the penalty from the lad who missed wasn’t bad. It was a good save from Ben.”
Diamonds return to league action with a trip to Sheffield FC on Saturday.
Don’t miss more Diamonds news in Thursday’s Northamptonshire Telegraph