Peaks wants the same again from Diamonds in play-off final

Dan Quigley in action for AFC Rushden & Diamonds during their play-off semi-final success at Royston Town. Picture by Kevin Richards
Dan Quigley in action for AFC Rushden & Diamonds during their play-off semi-final success at Royston Town. Picture by Kevin Richards

AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Andy Peaks will ask his players for the same again when they battle it out with St Ives Town in Monday’s Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central play-off final.

Diamonds produced their best performance of the season so far as they claimed a superb 2-1 victory at Royston Town, who finished as runners-up in the regular season, in Tuesday night’s semi-final.

They will now make the short trip to St Ives Town, who have home advantage after finishing higher than Diamonds in the league table, after they beat Egham Town in a penalty shoot-out after the two teams had shared a 2-2 draw.

The winners of the bank holiday showdown will be promoted to the Premier Division.

Diamonds, who had Jack Bowen and Liam Dolman on target but also had Claudiu Hoban sent-off meaning he will miss Monday’s final, are seeking a second successive promotion.

And Peaks believes they will be in with a great chance of taking a “massive opportunity” if they are able to repeat their heroics from Tuesday evening as they beat a Royston team they had lost twice to during the league campaign.

“It’s going to be tough, of course,” the Diamonds manager said as he looked ahead to Monday’s showdown.

“It’s a cup final against a team who have finished higher than us in the league.

“All I can ask for is the same commitment, desire, work-rate and quality on the ball we had on Tuesday night.

“If we produce that again we won’t be too far short.

“There will always be pressure in football. But, for me, it’s another game and I want us to play like we did on Tuesday.

“We are in a position we would have dreamt of a few weeks ago so we are still on the right road.

“It’s a massive opportunity. We are one game away from getting to where we want to be.”