Switch of leagues not to blame for slow start, says Diamonds boss Peaks

AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Andy Peaks was concerned with his team's defending during the 3-1 defeat to Chasetown on Tuesday
AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Andy Peaks was concerned with his team's defending during the 3-1 defeat to Chasetown on Tuesday

Andy Peaks insists AFC Rushden & Diamonds can’t use the switch to a new division as an excuse for their stuttering start to the new season.

Diamonds were moved from the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central, in which they reach the play-off final last season, to the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South during the summer.

And they have endured a tricky start as last weekend’s 1-0 opening-day defeat at Newcastle Town was followed by a 3-1 loss to Chasetown at the Dog & Duck on Tuesday night.

And Peaks admitted there were areas for concern, particularly from a defensive point of view, following that midweek loss.

Asked whether his team were struggling to adjust to a new division, the Diamonds boss said: “No I don’t think so.

“Saturday was a game we should have won and then on Tuesday they were just better than us at set-pieces.

“It’s got nothing to do with what league we are in. If you don’t take your chances you don’t win games and if you don’t defend set-pieces you lose games and that’s what happened on Tuesday.

“It was a disappointing night. I was frustrated on Saturday but I am disappointed now, I didn’t think we were good enough.

“The biggest concern was our defending and, in particular, from set-pieces.

“Chasetown are a good team but they didn’t really cut us open from general play and we didn’t help ourselves by defending badly from set-pieces.

“I thought the penalty (given against Liam Dolman for handball to put Chasetown 2-1 up) was a bit harsh but we have given them a couple of goals to give them a lift and then we couldn’t get back into the game.

“We got our noses in front just before half-time and it was a good finish from Bully (Dolman) but then we have given a sloppy goal away where they have won the first header and then the second.

“We didn’t win enough headers in either box and they are the key areas of the pitch.”

Diamonds are now preparing to get their FA Cup campaign under way when they host United Counties League side Sileby Rangers on Saturday.