Peaks knows Diamonds must be better as they bid for FA Cup glory

Tommy Berwick in action for AFC Rushden & Diamonds during Saturday's 2-2 draw at Barwell. The two teams do battle again in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at the Dog & Duck tonight. Picture by Mal Swinden
Tommy Berwick in action for AFC Rushden & Diamonds during Saturday's 2-2 draw at Barwell. The two teams do battle again in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at the Dog & Duck tonight. Picture by Mal Swinden

History will be made at the Dog & Duck tonight (Tuesday) as AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Barwell face off again for a place in the first round of the FA Cup.

Both clubs are aiming to reach the proper stages for the first time in their history with a home tie against either Welling United or Grays Athletic awaiting the winners on the weekend of November 7.

The first fourth qualifying round clash ended in a dramatic 2-2 draw at Kirkby Road on Saturday as Liam Dolman’s strike in the fifth minute of stoppage-time earned Diamonds another crack at the Evo-Stik Northern League Premier Division outfit.

But boss Andy Peaks has warned his team that they will need to be “a lot better” in this evening’s replay if they are to advance.

“I fancy our chances to the degree that we are at home and our form there has been very good over a period of time,” the Diamonds manager said.

“But, after the game at the weekend, I realise we will have to be a lot better than we were if we are to win.

“We certainly need to start better and we have done well at home when we have started on the front foot and with a good tempo.

“But the disappointing thing for me at the weekend was that we didn’t pass the ball well enough and then, when we got into wide areas, our delivery wasn’t the best.

“We found out that when you play a team at a higher level and you make a mistake or two then you will be punished and that’s something we have to learn from.

“But we showed a tremendous amount of character to keep going and give ourselves this opportunity and now we have to try to take it.”

Diamonds were backed by a 500-plus army of travelling fans on Saturday and Peaks is hoping for a big crowd tonight to help drive their team on to another history-making moment.

“The support was fantastic at the weekend,” he added.

“Hopefully those who were there will spread the word and we will have a big attendance for what is another huge game.”

Peaks revealed there were a few “aches and pains” within his squad after the draw at the weekend but he is expected to name the same squad tonight.