Andy Peaks was left to reflect on a “good evening” as AFC Rushden & Diamonds edged out Corby Town in the first round of the BetVictor Southern League Challenge Cup.
The two local rivals served up an entertaining encounter with Diamonds going 2-0 up in the first half thanks to a Jack Bowen goal and Jesse Akubuine’s fine free-kick.
The Steelmen hit back after the break with Elliot Sandy on target but young midfielder Matthew Slinn capped a man-of-the-match display to make it 3-1 from a free-kick and Diamonds saw it out to claim a 3-2 success after Sandy pulled another one back.
Peaks made a number of changes following the 1-1 draw at Hednesford Town in the Premier Central at the weekend.
And he was left impressed by the performances of the club’s youngsters with the likes of Slinn, defender Patrick Casey and Akubuine all impressing while academy products Rhys Kelly and Will Jones made appearances as second-half substitutes.
“I was delighted with the night to be honest, it was a local derby so we wanted to do well,” Peaks said.
“We had a few players missing so it was good to get a few of the younger lads involved and have a look at some others.
“It was a good evening. I think it was an exciting game but we made things harder for ourselves than we needed to at times.
“We passed the ball well but we were a bit naive at times in the second half.
“They have some good players so it was never going to be easy but, overall, I am delighted.”
Diamonds are back on home soil on Saturday when they resume their league programme with a clash against Bromsgrove Sporting.