Battling Diamonds' league survival fight is going to the wire

AFC Rushden & Diamonds moved back out of the Pitching-In Northern Premier League Midlands Division relegation zone after a hard-fought 2-2 draw at Boldmere St Michael’s last Saturday.
Jacob Scott is all smiles after firing home AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ late leveller at Boldmere (Picture: Shaun Frankham)​Jacob Scott is all smiles after firing home AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ late leveller at Boldmere (Picture: Shaun Frankham)​
Jacob Scott is all smiles after firing home AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ late leveller at Boldmere (Picture: Shaun Frankham)​

But the drop zone situation couldn’t be closer, with a three-cornered relegation fight now set to be decided on the final Saturday of the season.

Diamonds are third-from-bottom, but level on points with the bottom two Gresley Rovers and Rugby Town.

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Their heads are above the survival line by virtue of their goal difference being just one better than second-from-bottom Rugby.

Gresley missed the chance to get out of the bottom two on Tuesday when they were beaten 2-0 at Shepshed Dynamo – with both goals coming in the final seven minutes.

Looking back on last weekend, assistant manager Tom Lorraine was unhappy with the match officials, but pleased with the point at the west midlands outfit.

Diamonds had flown out of the blocks to take a first minute lead through Ethan Johnston, only for Boldmere to hit back with goals either side of the interval to lead 2-1.

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With 12 minutes remaining, Diamonds' persistence and hard work paid off as they scored an equaliser through Jacob Scott.

"A draw was a fair result," said Lorraine. "We had a great start with the early goal but after that they took control of the game and were the better team in the first half.

"The two goals conceded either side of half time was a cruel blow and came from questionable decisions. But our response was fantastic and we were the better team in the second half.

"If the game had continued for another 10 minutes or so, then I think we might have had a winner."

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Lorraine had challenged Diamonds to go unbeaten in the final three games of the season, and was pleased with the character shown to get a third of the job done.

"We are becoming hard to beat and yet again we ‘ve had to come from behind," said the assistant boss.

"I think four points might be enough to stay up, but we will obviously be looking to take maximum points from our last two games."

Diamonds' penultimate match is at home to mid-table Shepshed on Saturday (ko 3pm).

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It will be tough for Diamonds to overcome a Dynamo side who may have little to play for but who have been in good form away from home.

They’ve won four and scored 17 goals in their past six games.

Gresley don’t have a game at the weekend, while Rugby Town are at home to Walsall Wood.

On the final Saturday of the campaign, Diamonds travel to mid-table Walsall Wood, Rugby Town go to Boldmere while Gresley are in Northamptonshire as they travel to in-form Corby Town.​

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DIAMONDS midfielder and Northampton Town loanee Reuben Wyatt has been named League One Apprentice of the Season at the EFL Awards.

The 18-year-old has been a regular for the Diamonds since the turn of the year, and also made four appearances for the Cobblers first-team.

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