Diamonds skipper Bunting knows consistency will be the key

Richard Bunting believes consistency will be the key if AFC Rushden & Diamonds are to continue their challenge at the top of the table
Richard Bunting believes consistency will be the key if AFC Rushden & Diamonds are to continue their challenge at the top of the table

AFC Rushden & Diamonds can move to the top of the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central this weekend.

Andy Peaks’ side moved into second spot as they bounced back from their FA Cup exit at the hands of Barwell with 3-1 victory at Barton Rovers last weekend.

That made it eight league wins in a row for Diamonds who are now gearing up for a showdown with current leaders Egham Town at the Dog & Duck on Saturday.

The top three are only separated by goal difference but Diamonds find themselves in a useful position as they have three games in hand on Egham and third-placed Chalfont St Peter.

With the impressive run in the FA Cup thrown in, it has been a highly impressive first three months for Diamonds.

And skipper Richard Bunting is targeting further consistency over the next few weeks to ensure they are still in the mix when Christmas arrives.

“We touched on it at the start of the season and we knew that if we could unbeaten for as long as possible then we would be in and around things by Christmas,” Bunting said.

“We know it’s just about being consistent in this league and hopefully we can be that team.

“Certainly, as it stands at the moment, it’s a big game this weekend.

“The league is probably starting to take shape a little bit but it is still early days.

“Egham are right up there and so are we. And if you want to do something you have to make sure you, at the very least, don’t get beaten by the teams around you.”

Bunting felt Diamonds “didn’t do themselves justice” in the two FA Cup games with Barwell as they were denied a place in the first round proper.

But he was delighted with the way they hit straight back at Barton to maintain their unbeaten league record.

“It was vital that we got a positive result last weekend,” he added.

“We were all a bit down after the FA Cup games with Barwell and I think that was as much to do with the performances we produced in the two games.

“There’s no doubt we got beaten by the better side but we didn’t do ourselves justice.

“So we had to pick ourselves up from that and it was pleasing we managed to bounce back with another good win in the league.”

Diamonds’ first-team squad were given another run-out on Tuesday night but they required a penalty shoot-out to finally see off UCL Premier Division side Desborough Town in the quarter-finals of the NFA Hillier Senior Cup.

Tom Liversedge, with his first goal for the club, and Tommy Berwick were on target in the 2-2 draw over 90 minutes before Diamonds triumphed 6-5 in the shoot-out.