Diamonds and Steelmen set for Challenge Cup clash

Ben Acquaye celebrates after his fine free-kick gave AFC Rushden & Diamonds the lead in their 1-1 draw at Hednesford Town at the weekend. Picture courtesy of HawkinsImages
Ben Acquaye celebrates after his fine free-kick gave AFC Rushden & Diamonds the lead in their 1-1 draw at Hednesford Town at the weekend. Picture courtesy of HawkinsImages

AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Corby Town are ready to clash in a local derby at Hayden Road tonight (Tuesday).

The two county clubs have been paired together in the first round of the BetVictor Southern League Challenge Cup.

It will be only the second competitive meeting between the two clubs with the first one having been in equivalent competition in the Northern Premier League in December 2016 when two goals from Liam Dolman gave Diamonds a 2-1 success over the Steelmen, who replied late on through Connor Kennedy.

Andy Peaks’ team head into the game having drawn 1-1 for the fourth game in a row in the Southern League Premier Central at the weekend - a result that kept them in sixth place in the table.

Ben Acquaye’s magnificent free-kick put them in front at morning leaders Hednesford Town, who levelled in the second half through Sam Griffiths.

The Steelmen, meanwhile, will be returning to action for the first time in 10 days.

Corby haven’t played since they suffered a heavy 5-0 defeat at Buxton so will be looking to bounce back ahead of their return to Division One Central duties at home to Biggleswade on Saturday.