Peaks proud of Diamonds' display despite shoot-out heartbreak

Brackley Town goalkeeper Danny Lewis saves Declan Rogers penalty to secure a 4-2 shoot-out success for his team as AFC Rushden & Diamonds were beaten in the NFA Hillier Senior Cup final. Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds
Brackley Town goalkeeper Danny Lewis saves Declan Rogers penalty to secure a 4-2 shoot-out success for his team as AFC Rushden & Diamonds were beaten in the NFA Hillier Senior Cup final. Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds

Andy Peaks was far from downhearted after AFC Rushden & Diamonds suffered penalty shoot-out heartbreak in the final of the NFA Hillier Senior Cup.

Diamonds produced a resolute display to hold Vanarama National League North side Brackley Town to a 0-0 draw at Northampton Town’s PTS Academy Stadium.

Ben Diamond is on the end of a challenge from Brackley's Alex Prosser

Ben Diamond is on the end of a challenge from Brackley's Alex Prosser

But it was Brackley who held their nerve from the spot as Joe Curtis and Declan Rogers both saw their penalties saved by Danny Lewis as Kevin Wilkin’s team won 4-2 in the shoot-out.

However, Peaks was delighted with his side’s overall display.

“It’s always the same with penalties, it’s a bit of a lottery and it can go either way,” the Diamonds manager said.

“It hasn’t gone for us this time so we are a bit disappointed with that.

Jack Bowen goes up for a high ball during the Hillier Cup final

Jack Bowen goes up for a high ball during the Hillier Cup final

“But, for me, it was more about the performance over the 90 minutes to match a team from a higher league.

“The game plan was perfect really. They had lots of possession without creating loads and probably at the end we have had the best chance of the game.

“They had a lot of possession in the first half but Ben Heath has had very little to do and then we have hit the post right on half-time.

“They changed their formation a few times in the second half but they never really got behind us and hurt us and, again, we have broken away at the end and we really should have scored.

“Overall, I was really pleased with the effort and commitment the boys showed.

“I thought they put a real shift in and the supporters who were there must have gone home feeling they had done the club proud.

“I wanted to make sure we were still in the game with 10 or 15 minutes to go and that we hadn’t been blown away by a team from a higher level who are flying.

“We did that and I am just disappointed we haven’t seen it through.”