Diamonds have the chance to ‘finish it off’

Andy Peaks' AFC Rushden & Diamonds side have their fate in their own hands on the last day of the season
Andy Peaks' AFC Rushden & Diamonds side have their fate in their own hands on the last day of the season

Andy Peaks is keen to see AFC Rushden & Diamonds “finish it off” when they look to wrap up their Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South play-off place on Saturday.

Diamonds go into the final game of the regular campaign still sitting in the final play-off position, despite being held to a 1-1 draw at Stamford yesterday (Monday).

Basford United could only draw with Carlton Town, who visit the Dog & Duck at the weekend, while Newcastle Town moved back to within a point of Peaks’ men after a 1-0 success over Leek Town.

Basford and Newcastle face each other on the final day and both will be hoping to see a slip from Peaks’ men as they all fight for the right to travel to runners-up Witton Albion in the play-off semi-final a week today.

But Diamonds will be heavy favourites to take fifth place when they take on lowly Carlton.

And Peaks said: “We know it’s in our own hands and I go back to what I have said before, if you had given me this situation at the start of the season then I would have taken it.

“Our aim was to get into the play-offs and with one game to go, we know one more win will take us into them.

“If we finish in the top five then I think it goes down as a good achievement and once you are in them, anything can happen.

“We have had some little setbacks along the way, which is what happens and now it is up to us to go and finish it off.”

Nabil Shariff’s 26th goal of the season gave Diamonds a half-time lead in front of over 600 fans at Stamford yesterday but they were pegged back by Jordan Smith’s header with nine minutes to go.

“We scored just before half-time and I actually thought we managed the game pretty well for most of the second half,” Peaks added.

“But we switched off from a throw-in, which we thought was our’s, the cross has come in and they have scored.

“It was disappointing to get pegged back because we had the chances to put the game to bed.

“It was always going to be a tough game there but we have come through it with things still in our own hands so I am happy with that.”