Diamonds will need to be 'a lot better' for Stratford test

Jack Ashton was on target with this far-post header as AFC Rushden & Diamonds drew 1-1 with Leiston at the weekend. Picture courtesy of HawkinsImages
Jack Ashton was on target with this far-post header as AFC Rushden & Diamonds drew 1-1 with Leiston at the weekend. Picture courtesy of HawkinsImages

Andy Peaks knows AFC Rushden & Diamonds will have to produce an improved display to the one they served up at the weekend when they take on third-placed Stratford Town at Hayden Road tonight (Tuesday).

Diamonds claimed a 1-1 draw with Leiston on Saturday with Peaks seemingly relieved to come away with a share of the points after a below-par display after Jack Ashton had put them in front with his first goal of the season.

The result left Peaks’ men five points adrift of the play-off places in the Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central and they now face an even stiffer test this evening.

Stratford have enjoyed an incredible run of form under Thomas Baillie - who led Kettering Town to a title at Step 4 in the 2015-15 season - and they have risen from the lower half of the table into the top three over the past few months.

And Diamonds boss Peaks said: “We got a point at the weekend but we said afterwards that we will have to be a lot better for the game tonight.

“I have watched Stratford a few times and they are a decent team and if we play like we did on Saturday then we will get beaten.

“I expect there to be a reaction but I am not worried about that because, in general, we usually react well to a disappointing result.

“Every game is big for us at the moment and we have another one tonight.

“But I am also realistic. I know we aren’t going to go and win every game. But we will certainly be looking for an improvement from the weekend.”