Diamonds goal hero Shariff targets league wins after cup success

Nabil Shariff struck an 11-minute hat-trick fo AFC Rushden & Diamonds last weekend
Nabil Shariff struck an 11-minute hat-trick fo AFC Rushden & Diamonds last weekend

Nabil Shariff is hoping AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ FA Cup success can be the catalyst for them to get their league season up and running.

Diamonds have endured a tricky start to life in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South after they suffered back-to-back defeats to Newcastle Town and Chasetown.

But a change of competition brought with it a change in fortunes last weekend as Diamonds beat United Counties League side Sileby Rangers 4-3 at the Dog & Duck to move into the first qualifying round of the FA Cup where they will host AFC Hornchurch a week on Saturday.

It wasn’t convincing by any means. Diamonds fell behind before Shariff struck an 11-minute hat-trick before half-time and Liam Dolman added the fourth early in the second half.

But Sileby hit back with two goals in five minutes and Diamonds were forced to defend well in the latter stages to secure their place in the next round.

But striker Shariff was just pleased to see the team get off the mark and he now wants them to build on that during a busy bank holiday weekend which sees them travel to Carlton Town tomorrow (Saturday) before entertaining Bedworth United on Monday (3pm).

“The FA Cup is all about winning,” Shariff said.

“Sileby wanted to win that game just as much as we did and it’s never easy, even when you are 4-1 up.

“We just had to work hard. I thought we defended well late on and we defended aggressively, which wasn’t something we were doing before that point or in the previous league games.

“We shouldn’t be conceding goals from throw-ins and corners and we dealt with all of those in the last 10 minutes, which is what we should be doing all the way through.

“It’s great to get that first win and we needed it, especially with another league game to come at the weekend. We need to get off the mark.

“We are already six points behind some teams so we need to get that first league win and get the season going.

“The weekend is massive for us with the two games coming so quickly. Our aim will be to get six points and if we do then everything changes.”

Shariff was delighted with his quickfire treble last Saturday and he believes the goals will keep coming.

“Hopefully there will be more to come,” the frontman added.

“I know I will score goals, it’s natural to me. But it was great to get that hat-trick.

“You take them as they come. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an 11-minute 
hat-trick or a 90-minute hat-trick, I am just happy to score goals.”