Starmer sees no reason why Diamonds can’t progress

Action from the FA Vase clash between AFC Dunstable and AFC Rushden & Diamonds last weekend. It ended in a 1-1 draw before Diamonds won the replay 3-1 in midweek
Action from the FA Vase clash between AFC Dunstable and AFC Rushden & Diamonds last weekend. It ended in a 1-1 draw before Diamonds won the replay 3-1 in midweek
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Mark Starmer sees no reason why AFC Rushden & Diamonds can’t join the Skrill North and South clubs in Monday’s FA Cup second qualifying round draw.

The in-form ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division side head to Cockfosters on Saturday as they look to extend their run in the world’s most famous club knockout competition.

Once again, Diamonds find themselves up against a Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division outfit, although their record against teams from that league has been impressive.

The latest to fall victim to Starmer’s side were AFC Dunstable as Diamonds, despite being reduced to 10 men late in the first half, claimed a fine 3-1 success at the Dog & Duck in Tuesday’s FA Vase first qualifying round replay.

Cockfosters are next on the list and while Starmer will be taking nothing for granted, he and his players now know what to expect when they head to north London.

“There is no reason why we can’t progress,” the Diamonds boss said.

“I have said all along that if we play to our potential then we will give anyone at our level a game.

“We will go down there looking to win the game, although we would fancy ourselves to get a result in a replay if we need to bring them back here on Tuesday.

“The confidence is high and we just have to keep maintaining the level of performance we have shown recently.

“We know what they are all about and we know it will be very tough down there.

“But there is no reason why we can’t continue this run.”

Starmer was delighted with the way his team finished the job on Tuesday, although he admitted he was frustrated at half-time.

“We were in control from the first whistle and then we had a man sent off and conceded a soft goal from the free-kick that followed,” he added.

“We made a comfortable evening a bit harder for ourselves.

“So I was really, really frustrated at half-time but I just asked the boys to get together and try to carry on playing how we did for the first 40 minutes.

“We went for it. We played three at the back, four in midfield and kept two up front.

“The lads worked their socks off, scored two quick goals and that has won it for us.

“It was a great result and now we want a similar one this weekend.”