Peaks hails 'fantastic' players as Diamonds seal promotion

Andy Peaks is held aloft after AFC Rushden & Diamonds' promotion from the Evo-Stik South League East was confirmed last night. Pictures by Alison Bagley
Andy Peaks is held aloft after AFC Rushden & Diamonds' promotion from the Evo-Stik South League East was confirmed last night. Pictures by Alison Bagley

Andy Peaks hailed his “absolutely fantastic” AFC Rushden & Diamonds players after they secured the club’s third promotion in six years at Hayden Road last night (Tuesday).

Needing a win to wrap up elevation to Step Three, Diamonds produced an excellent display as they thrashed Aylesbury FC 7-1 and the promotion from the Evo-Stik South League East was confirmed as third-placed Hartley Wintney suffered a 1-0 defeat at Kempston Rovers.

Ben Farrell takes the congratulations after completing his hat-trick in the 7-1 demolition of Aylesbury FC

Ben Farrell takes the congratulations after completing his hat-trick in the 7-1 demolition of Aylesbury FC

Beaconsfield Town were also promoted and now, either them or Diamonds will be crowned champions on the final day of the season at the weekend.

But boss Peaks’ main aim all season was to ensure his team claimed one of the automatic promotion slots, having missed out in the play-offs in the last two seasons.

And he was understandably delighted to see it unfold in the club’s first season at Hayden Road.

“We have finally got to where we have been trying to get to,” the Diamonds manager said.

Captain Liam Dolman leads the celebrations

Captain Liam Dolman leads the celebrations

“It has been a tough three years but we have achieved what we wanted and we did it in some style as well.

“We dominated the game for long periods and we were clinical, which is not something we have always been.

“I can’t fault the boys. They thoroughly deserve to be promoted and I am really pleased for them.

“They have been fantastic across the season, there haven’t really been any bad spells. They have been absolutely fantastic.

“Us and Beaconsfield are the ones who have been up there for most of the season.

“There was always going to be teams who had a run but over the past four or five games, we have been right back on it and to get there is brilliant.”

There were wonderful scenes of celebration as the final whistle blew at Hayden Road and Peaks knows how much this season will mean to the volunteers and fans behind the scenes.

“I think it means everything to a lot of people here,” he added.

“These people give up a lot of their time and they give us the best of the best.

“We are trying to get their club up the levels and this is another moment for them to savour.”

Don’t miss more reaction and pictures from AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ promotion glory in Thursday’s Northamptonshire Telegraph