Diamonds all set for a trip to Hitchin

Andy Peaks watches on during AFC Rushden & Diamonds' 1-1 draw with Royston Town at Hayden Road on Saturday. Picture by Alison Bagley
Andy Peaks watches on during AFC Rushden & Diamonds' 1-1 draw with Royston Town at Hayden Road on Saturday. Picture by Alison Bagley

There’s no rest for the wicked as AFC Rushden & Diamonds get straight back into action at Hitchin Town tonight (Monday).

Diamonds maintained their impressive early-season form in the BetVictor Southern League Premier Central with a 1-1 draw against a strong Royston Town side at Hayden Road on Saturday.

Having fallen behind to a Matt Bateman header on the stroke of half-time, Alex Collard’s second-half header earned Andy Peaks’ side a share of the spoils.

A victory at Hitchin this evening will send Diamonds to the top of the table, at least until the other teams around them play tomorrow night.

Hitchin are without a win after a tough start to the campaign but Peaks is taking nothing for granted.

“It’s going to be a good test for the squad because we have a couple of injuries in there,” he said.

“Having a game on a Monday night is different to what we are used to but we will be ready.

“Hitchin haven’t started as well as everyone probably expected. But it’s a good club with good people and they have picked up a great point at Banbury on Saturday.

“I say the same every time but when you go away from home in midweek, you have to be on it.

“If you allow your standards to drop then you will struggle anywhere

“So we will have to make sure we are right on it and, if we are, then we will give ourselves a good chance.”

Diamonds are set to be without captain Liam Dolman again after he missed the draw with Royston due to an ankle problem while Nathaniel Gosnal-Tyler (knee) and Ben Farrell (calf) are also doubtful for this evening’s clash with the former suffering his injury in the warm-up and being replaced in the starting line-up by Sam Johnson.

However, despite the injury setbacks, Peaks was content with a point against a fellow early high-flyer as Diamonds maintained their unbeaten home record so far.

“I thought it was a good game and I think it showed that we have a bit of depth with Bully (Dolman) missing and then Nat feeling a knee problem in the warm-up,” the Diamonds boss added.

“It was very even and, at the end, I would have thought both teams would have been fairly happy with taking a point from it.

“We hit the post late on so we possibly could have nicked it but, overall, the final score was about right.

“It was disappointing to go behind so late in the first half because I thought we played pretty well.

“I just told the boys to go out and get their goal and, to be fair, they did everything asked of them.

“But it was a decent game and I’d like to think both teams will be at the right end of the league at the end of the season.”