Diamonds can be proud of their first season at a higher level
Andy Peaks believes everyone at AFC Rushden & Diamonds should feel proud after they secured a top-10 finish in their debut season at Step 3.
A year on from being promoted, Diamonds are now able to reflect on a solid first campaign in the Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central.
Their 1-1 draw at Tamworth on the final day ensured they finished in ninth place after they fell out of the play-off picture during a tough last month.
But Nathan Hicks’ goal sealed a well-deserved share of the spoils against the Lambs to send Peaks and his players into the summer on a high note.
And the manager said: “We were in a false position for a while because we had played more games than anyone else and we had a tough run-in.
“But to finish in the top 10 of the league in our first season is a good return for us.
“And I think last weekend’s game is just another example of how far we have come.
“To be going up against and competing with a club like Tamworth who were in the National League not that long ago is something we should be proud of.
“If someone had said when this club was formed that six or seven years down the line we would be playing the likes of Tamworth at Step 3 then I am sure we would have all taken it.
“I think everyone at the club can feel proud of how we have performed in our first season here.”
Peaks also had a word of praise for the club’s supporters after Diamonds were backed by a healthy travelling contingent at the weekend.
“The fans were great on Saturday and you could sense that, at the end, they were happy with what they have seen from us,” he added.
“The ones who follow us week in, week out have been great and they were again at Tamworth.
“The result really gave everyone a good feeling as we head into the summer.”
Diamonds, meanwhile, have confirmed their first four friendlies for their next pre-season campaign with the highlight being a game against Vanarama National League champions Leyton Orient at Hayden Road on Thursday, July 18.
They will take on Rushden & Higham United in the annual Chris Ruff Memorial Trophy on Friday, July 12 while Histon will visit Hayden Road for the annual Dale Roberts Memorial Cup match on Saturday, July 27.
Diamonds’ only confirmed away friendly so far will be at Daventry Town on Saturday, August 3.