Peaks focused as Diamonds look to finish the job

Andy Peaks' AFC Rushden & Diamonds team are closing in on promotion
Andy Peaks' AFC Rushden & Diamonds team are closing in on promotion

Andy Peaks insists AFC Rushden & Diamonds will be “fully focused” when they bid to seal promotion on Tuesday night.

Joel Gyasi’s goal on the stroke of half-time earned Diamonds a third win in a row as they claimed a 1-0 success at Cambridge City to move back to the top of the Evo-Stik South League East.

Peaks’ team now know that if they beat Aylesbury at Hayden Road on Tuesday night then they will be unofficially promoted due to their superior goal difference, although it could be rubber-stamped if they are victorious and third-placed Hartley Wintney fail to win at Kempston Rovers.

Peaks likened his team’s success at Westwood Road to the narrow 1-0 victory over AFC Dunstable last Tuesday night and he admitted his team are now in the “perfect position” to secure a place at Step Three next season.

“It was the second time this week that we have had a tough, tough game and we have found a way to win,” the Diamonds boss said.

“In the last three games, we haven’t played as well as we have done at other times in the season but our strength for the most part has been the way we have defended and we have got back to that in the last week.

“We didn’t play particularly well in the first half but we found a goal and then I thought we managed the game extremely well after half-time against a very good side.

“We are in the perfect position now. We know that one more win does it for us and we will be fully focused on Tuesday because we want to finish this off.”

There was a hint of irony about Diamonds’ win, which set up their shot at elevation as it came on the ground where they were so cruelly denied just under two years ago.

Cambridge City currently groundshare at the home of St Ives Town, who beat Diamonds 2-1 after extra-time in the play-off final in 2016.

And Peaks added: “I think there’s lots of irony in it.

“That was one of the tough days for us and to come back to the same ground and produce that performance and get that result is great.

“It would have been nice to finish the job here but we have set it up perfectly for ourselves at home on Tuesday night.”