Andy Peaks described AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ display as “good as anything we have produced in a long time” as they caused one of the upsets in the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup.
Diamonds stunned their Vanarama National League South hosts Concord Rangers with three goals inside the first 19 minutes before going on to complete a superb 3-1 victory, which sent them into tomorrow’s (Monday) third qualifying round draw.
Richard Bunting, who was sent off in stoppage-time for a second bookable offence, opened the scoring before Tom Lorraine and the returning Jack Ashton made it 3-0 early on.
And Peaks was left to reflect on the best result in the club’s short history as his players saw things out against a team two divisions above them.
“The performance was as good as anything we have produced in a long time,” the delighted Diamonds boss said.
“The plan was that we didn’t want to give them a lift early on, we wanted to keep it tight for the first 20 minutes and then take it from there.
“But never in my wildest dreams did I think we would be 3-0 up after 19 minutes.
“They got one back before half-time with the penalty but we defended well in the second half and we hit the bar and hit the post so we could have won by more.
“We went there with a positive attitude and we set up to go for it. It’s the FA Cup and I would rather get beaten by having a go.
“But the boys produced a fantastic display. There are two divisions between the two clubs but, if anything, I think most would have thought it was us who were the higher ranked team.
“We thoroughly deserved the victory.”
Peaks, meanwhile, insists Diamonds will now look forward to the draw, which will be held at lunchtime tomorrow and he is adamant his squad will only get better after they extended their unbeaten run to six matches.
“We can look forward to the draw,” he added.
“The main aim of the day was to make sure we were in the hat.
“No matter where you go, every football fan loves the FA Cup and it’s brilliant that we are still in it.
“I’ve maintained that this squad will only get better with time and we certainly look strong at the moment.”