Diamonds face tough Easter weekend after climbing off the bottom

AFC Rushden & Diamonds claimed a superb 4-1 victory over Cambridge City to move off the bottom of the Pitching-In Northern Premier League Midlands Division on Tuesday night.
Cairo Taylor nets the Diamonds equaliser in their 4-1 win over Cambridge City on Tuesday (Picture: Shaun Frankham)Cairo Taylor nets the Diamonds equaliser in their 4-1 win over Cambridge City on Tuesday (Picture: Shaun Frankham)
Cairo Taylor nets the Diamonds equaliser in their 4-1 win over Cambridge City on Tuesday (Picture: Shaun Frankham)

But they remain in the relegation zone as rivals Gresley Rovers also claimed three points, seeing off Sporting Khalsa 3-0.

The results mean Rugby Town have dropped to the bottom of the table, with a single point separating the bottom three.

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Diamonds bounced back in style from their 7-1 trouncing at high-flying AFC Quorn on Saturday when they saw off fourth-from-bottom Cambridge.

The match started badly for Michael Harriman's side as the visitors claimed a seventh minute lead through Ryan Ingrey.

But Cairo Taylor levelled the scores on 31 minutes, and four minutes later Tarik Dallas, on his debut, made it 2-1.

Ryan Inman converted from the penalty spot to make it 3-1 win 20 minutes remaining, before Scott Jacob wrapped up the scoring on 79 minutes.

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The result and performance was in marked contrast to the weekend.

Saturday was a grim afternoon as Diamonds suffered their heaviest defeat of the season so far, going down 7-1 at play-off chasing AFC Quorn.

Assistant Manager Tom Lorraine didn’t pull any punches when summing up the damaging defeat.

"There was no structure, no discipline and instructions were not followed,” said Lorraine.

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"We failed to pick up runners and due to poor judgment, we left gaps inviting the opposition to run straight through us.

"We did create chances, but finishing was a problem on Saturday, indeed everything was a problem.”

The defeat meant Diamonds had conceded 16 goals in the three games prior to the win over City, and Michael Harriman’s strugglers now face the daunting task of playing three of the top four teams in the space of eight days as they battle to avoid the drop.

On Saturday, fourth-placed Loughborough Dynamo visit Hayden Road.

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After four consecutive victories, the Leicestershire side are not in great form having won just one of their past five matches.

Diamonds have problems squad wise. Player-boss Harriman is likely to miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, striker Luke Emery is on holiday for the next three games while Ben Gough is still out with a knee injury.

Wide man John Dean has opted to play for Daventry Town in the United Counties League Premier Division South, while defender Daniel Tagoe has left the club to join AFC Dunstable.

On Easter Monday, Diamonds make the trip to league leaders and promotion favourites Harborough Town.

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The big spending Bees went into their midweek encounter unbeaten in 12 games, but have drawn recently against both Corby Town and Spalding United.

Lorraine admitted: “This will be a very difficult game.

"They have quality and experience all over the field with many players having played at Step 3 and some at Step 2.

"We will be looking for much improved performances over the Easter weekend and while we won’t be expected to win either game we will be expecting to be competitive.”