Diamonds right in the promotion hunt as fine form continues

Andy Peaks believes a number of clubs are eyeing the sole automatic promotion place in the BetVictor Southern League Premier Central.

Saturday, 25th January 2020, 8:17 pm
Updated Saturday, 25th January 2020, 8:18 pm
AFC Rushden & Diamonds head coach Neil Champelovier shows his delight after the superb 1-0 success at Nuneaton Borough. Pictures courtesy of HawkinsImages

And AFC Rushden & Diamonds might just be one of them after they maintained their superb form of late with an excellent 1-0 victory at Nuneaton Borough.

Ben Farrell held his nerve to secure the points as he converted a late penalty after Ben Acquaye had been fouled in the area.

The win, which extended Diamonds’ unbeaten run to seven matches, saw them move to within one point of the play-off places while they are just six behind leaders Bromsgrove Sporting with two games in hand.

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Ben Farrell heads off to celebrate after he scored the late winner from the penalty spot

Just nine points separate the current top 10 in the division and Peaks is delighted Diamonds are part of what is proving to be a thrilling race for the title and play-off places.

“We fully deserved the win,” the Diamonds manager said.

“I would have taken a point at the start because they are a big club with good players but after the 90 minutes I would have been disappointed not to get all three points.

“I said weeks and weeks ago when we had a bad run and a couple of defeats that we would string a run of results together.

The Diamonds fans celebrate at the final whistle

“And I also said that if you do that then it will get you in and around the mix.

“Looking at it now, nearly at the end of January, we are right in and around it.

“It hasn’t surprised me. Some of the boys have developed even quicker than I thought they would but we have to work even harder now.

“I think everyone who is in and around it believes they can get automatic promotion but, equally, no-one is guaranteed a play-off spot because it’s just so close in there.

“It’s tightened up since Christmas and you have to keep winning games. In another eight games time I want to be where we are now. And if that’s the case, who knows what will happen?”

Peaks, meanwhile, was full of praise for Farrell who has performed well after coming back into the starting line-up.

“I am delighted for Ben,” he added.

“He has waited for his chance, he came on and did well last Saturday and took his opportunity in the week. He played well again and stepped up and scored a penalty at a crucial time.

“People like him and Paddy Casey are the benchmark for those not in the team. They have come in and taken their chance and they are enjoying it.”

Diamonds are straight back into action on Tuesday night when they take on Needham Market at Hayden Road.

And the manager is keen to see his team maintain their recent momentum.

“It’s important we enjoy the week we have had but then be ready for what’s in front of us,” Peaks said.

“If you don’t follow it up, it makes a mockery of what you have done beforehand.

“Our feet are on the ground as always but I am delighted with where we are and what has gone on.”