Peaks delighted as 10-man Diamonds hit back for a fine success

Nabil Shariff takes the congratulations after scoring AFC Rushden & Diamonds' winner from the penalty spot. Pictures by Alison Bagley

Nabil Shariff takes the congratulations after scoring AFC Rushden & Diamonds' winner from the penalty spot. Pictures by Alison Bagley

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Andy Peaks was full of praise for his AFC Rushden & Diamonds players as they battled back with 10 men to pick up a 2-1 success over Sheffield FC at the Dog & Duck.

Diamonds fell behind early on when Alec Denton converted a penalty for the visitors after home defender Rory Winters was sent off for a foul.

The ball connects with a Sheffield FC defender's hand in the incident that led to Diamonds' late penalty

The ball connects with a Sheffield FC defender's hand in the incident that led to Diamonds' late penalty

But Peaks’ side hit back through Nabil Shariff and then they claimed a fine win when the frontman scored from the penalty spot himself with just two minutes remaining.

And Peaks, who gave striker Lewis Wilson a debut from the substitutes’ bench after he signed for the club this week, believes such a victory will only enhance the spirit within his squad.

“We started the game pretty well but then we had the sending-off, which was debateable,” the Diamonds boss said.

“But we got straight back into the game, which was really important.

The Diamonds players appeal for the penalty, which was awarded and then scored by Nabil Shariff

The Diamonds players appeal for the penalty, which was awarded and then scored by Nabil Shariff

“We decided to keep two up front and hope that we could defend well enough and to get the goal so soon after conceding was really important to how the game went.

“We felt at half-time that if we did defend well then we would have a chance and it worked out well for us.

“I think the lads felt a bit aggrieved by the sending-off and I know there was a lot of sympathy for Rory, because he has been fantastic for us in recent weeks.

“The players dug deep, they worked their socks off and when you get performances like that it really goes a long way to building the spirit.

Nabil Shariff celebrates with the Diamonds fans after scoring their late winner in the 2-1 success over Sheffield FC

Nabil Shariff celebrates with the Diamonds fans after scoring their late winner in the 2-1 success over Sheffield FC

“I didn’t think the goal was going to come and if it hadn’t then, with 10 men, we probably would have taken the point.

“But it was a stonewall penalty for handball and Nabil has put it away to get us three very good points.”

The victory made it six league games without defeat for Diamonds, who are back in action with a trip to Belper Town on Tuesday night before they host Basford United next weekend.

And Peaks is hoping more positive results will follow.

“The aim, as it always is, was to try to get maximum points from the three games,” he added.

“We have made a great start with the win against Sheffield but it will be tough again on Tuesday night.

“Belper are in the bottom half but they have good players. But we will go there and try to build on what we did against Sheffield.”