Mixed feelings for Peaks as Diamonds are denied at the death

The inquest begins after AFC Rushden & Diamonds conceded a late equaliser against Moneyfields at Hayden Road. Pictures by Alison Bagley
The inquest begins after AFC Rushden & Diamonds conceded a late equaliser against Moneyfields at Hayden Road. Pictures by Alison Bagley

Andy Peaks was disappointed AFC Rushden & Diamonds couldn’t finish the job as a late goal denied them the chance to end Moneyfields’ unbeaten start to the Evo-Stik South League East season.

The leaders led 1-0 at half-time at Hayden Road but Diamonds hit back in an improved second-half display with Liam Dolman’s penalty and a header from new signing Ben Diamond putting them 2-1 up.

Ben Diamond is mobbed by his team-mates after he put Diamonds 2-1 up

Ben Diamond is mobbed by his team-mates after he put Diamonds 2-1 up

Moneyfields were also reduced to 10 men but they grabbed a stoppage-time goal through Stephen Hutchings to secure a 2-2 draw to maintain their impressive record.

Diamonds’ fortunes changed after Peaks made a double substitution at half-time while also altering the formation.

And, despite seeing his team pegged back late on, the Diamonds boss insists he saw nothing from the leaders to “frighten” him as he bids to lead his team in a push for promotion.

“I am disappointed at the end because going into injury-time we have the game won at 2-1 so I am disappointed we couldn’t defend the free-kick,” Peaks said.

Stephen Hutchings' late header finds the net to earn Moneyfields a point

Stephen Hutchings' late header finds the net to earn Moneyfields a point

“But overall, when I get back and look at it, I think we played well in the second half.

“I wasn’t particularly chuffed in the first half, we didn’t pass the ball well enough. We knew they would be strong, physical and direct and we needed more people to have the ball.

“We changed the shape at half-time because of that and I thought bossed it.

“With the way it was going, we had to change something and when you do that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

“But our shape was much better and we dominated. After we went 2-1 up I felt we should have gone and got the third to kill it off because they always had a goal in them from a set-piece and that’s what happened.

“I have said all along that if we play to our capabilities then we can be up there and, after seeing Moneyfields, that view hasn’t changed.

“I think we are technically a better team than them. They have got good physicality and they contest everything. We can learn from how they play but, equally, I’ve seen nothing to frighten me.”

The game came after a busy 24 hours which saw top scorer Nabil Shariff leave to join Alfreton Town while Peaks moved to sign Ryan Robbins and Diamond while also bringing in Adam North on a work experience loan deal from Northampton Town.

“We didn’t know until the last minute with Nabs (Shariff) and he goes with my blessing, he’s been fantastic for the club and the door will never be shut for him,” the Diamonds boss added.

“I was always looking to bring another striker in anyway so it made sense to get them both in.

“I thought Ryan did okay, it was a tough game to come into but he won us the penalty and he will do well for us.

“And Ben showed what he is all about, lots of pace and good in the air.”