Peaks so proud as Diamonds earn a replay

The AFC Rushden & Diamonds players celebrate Nabil Shariff's goal, which put them 2-0 up at Alfreton Town. Pictures courtesy of B&O PRESS PHOTO
The AFC Rushden & Diamonds players celebrate Nabil Shariff's goal, which put them 2-0 up at Alfreton Town. Pictures courtesy of B&O PRESS PHOTO

Andy Peaks was bursting with pride after AFC Rushden & Diamonds earned an Emirates FA Cup replay after a 2-2 draw at Alfreton Town.

A two-division gap between the two sides proved to be no issue as Diamonds stormed into a 2-0 lead thanks to Joel Gyasi and top scorer Nabil Shariff at the Impact Arena.

Assistant-manager Paul Lamb shows his delight after one of Diamonds' goals in the 2-2 draw at Alfreton

Assistant-manager Paul Lamb shows his delight after one of Diamonds' goals in the 2-2 draw at Alfreton

But the Vanarama National League North side hit back with a goal from Brody Robertson before the break and then Billy Priestley headed home the equaliser with seven minutes to go.

The two teams will now battle it out at Hayden Road on Tuesday night by which time they will know who awaits them with the third qualifying round draw being made tomorrow (Monday).

And, even though they let a 2-0 lead slip, boss Peaks was delighted with his players after they produced a perfect response to their first defeat of the Evo-Stik South League East season at the hands of Beaconsfield Town last weekend.

“I am very happy and I said that to the lads at the end, it was important to make sure they weren’t too down,” the Diamonds manager said.

Nabil Shariff is congratulated by Luke Fairlamb after his goal

Nabil Shariff is congratulated by Luke Fairlamb after his goal

“We can look at the fact that we were 2-0 up but to go there and get a draw and have another chance in a replay is fantastic.

“The first thing you want is to be in the hat and we are so I am delighted.

“We went 2-0 up, we could have gone 3-0 up but there was still a long way to go at that stage.

“To concede a goal before half-time was a real whammy but we defended well in the second half and I thought we played the better football overall, we didn’t just sit back.

“It was disappointing to concede the second but we didn’t fold and we could have won it at the death when Nabil went through again.

“But overall, I am just really proud of the players. We were so disappointed with the defeat to Beaconsfield last weekend and I got the reaction I wanted.

“We worked hard, we passed the ball so well and we got a result we deserved and another opportunity at them.”