AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Peaks revels in 'immense' performance

Diamonds secured a third win in a row and their eighth victory from their last 10 matches as they kicked off the new year in impressive fashion

Saturday, 1st January 2022, 9:59 pm
Updated Saturday, 1st January 2022, 10:02 pm
Nathan Tshikuna celebrates after scoring his second goal from the penalty spot in AFC Rushden & Diamonds' 4-0 victory over St Ives Town at Hayden Road. Pictures courtesy of Hawkins Images

Andy Peaks was left to reflect on an “immense” display from AFC Rushden & Diamonds as their fine form continued with a 4-0 success over St Ives Town at Hayden Road.

Diamonds kicked off the new year how they finished the last one as they secured a third win in a row and their eighth victory in their last 10 matches.

And it’s a run of form that is beginning to reflect in the Southern League Premier Central standings as Peaks’ team sit in sixth place and are now just four points behind Alvechurch who currently hold the final play-off position.

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A brilliant solo goal from Nathan Tshikuna set the ball rolling and Ty Deacon doubled the advantage just 90 seconds later as Diamonds took control early on.

Jesse Akubuine made it 3-0 before half-time and Tshikuna then saw a penalty saved by Lewis Patching after Deacon had been bundled over in front of goal by Callum Milne, who was sent-off as a result.

But Tshikuna did double his tally from the penalty spot when he made no mistake when trying again after he had been brought down by Patching after another driving run into the area.

It was a highly impressive all-round display from Peaks’ team, who are clearly bursting with confidence at the moment.

Fernando Bell-Toxtle took over the captain's armband in the absence of Alex Collard and produced an impressive display for Diamonds

“I thought the performance was immense,” the Diamonds manager said.

“There is a lot of confidence, we have found a formation, we have worked on stuff, there is lots of belief and we are just taking it game by game.

“I think the lads are enjoying it, there’s a good spirit in there.

“I would say everyone in the squad, the guys who started and the ones who came on did their jobs. The defenders defended, the attackers attacked and Sneds (goalkeeper Dean Snedker) made a couple of saves.

“Everyone did the job that was asked of them and when we perform like that, we are a good team.

“I thought we played some great stuff on a difficult pitch and overall, I am delighted because St Ives had been on a good run themselves and they are the only team to take points off (league leaders) Banbury recently so I am really happy.

“I watched them last week when they played Biggleswade and we knew they would try to play out from the back.

“I didn’t think it was a pitch to be playing out on so we worked on some things during the week, we set traps and we felt that we could nick the ball in good areas and capitalise on it.

“We had a couple of good chances before we scored and I knew we needed to score while we were on top but we got the goals and the game plan was pretty much executed perfectly.

“I thought the first half was as good as we have seen for a long time.

“I said to the boys at half-time that we could only lose it ourselves. I knew they wouldn’t roll over and it was up to us to manage the game and show lots of discipline.

“We still wanted to get forward but not take any risks and see the game out and I thought we did that well.”

Diamonds now have a two-week break from league action with their next game being at table-topping Banbury United on Saturday, January 15.