Peaks so disappointed as Hoban misses Diamonds’ big day

Claudiu Hoban can't believe it as he is shown a red card during the play-off win at Royston. It means the winger will have to sit out Monday's final as AFC Rushden & Diamonds go for promotion. Picture by Kevin Richards
Claudiu Hoban can't believe it as he is shown a red card during the play-off win at Royston. It means the winger will have to sit out Monday's final as AFC Rushden & Diamonds go for promotion. Picture by Kevin Richards

AFC Rushden & Diamonds will be without winger Claudiu Hoban for the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central play-off final on Monday.

Hoban was sent off for a second bookable offence late on in Tuesday’s 2-1 semi-final success at Royston Town after two fouls in the space of a few minutes.

During the league season, the suspension for a sending-off does not start until two weeks after the offence.

However, under Southern League play-off rules, anyone who is sent off during the semi-final will then serve their ban for the final.

It’s a rule that has left boss Andy Peaks frustrated.

“It’s very disappointing for Claudiu because he has been fantastic for us and I thought he was excellent in the game,” the Diamonds manager said.

“He has been booked for two next to nothing challenges and I thought it was harsh.

“I think the rule is wrong, for him to miss the final for that is ridiculous but he will still be with us. It’s very harsh on the kid but we have to move on.”

Diamonds are sure to be roared on by a large contingent of travelling fans on Monday.

Peaks was delighted with the support his team received from the 300-plus army that descended on Royston in midweek.

And he believes the supporters now have belief that their team can go all the way and secure Premier Division football next season.

“The fans were fantastic, as good as I have heard them for a long time,” Peaks added.

“I think they have got a bit of belief now.

“When they are as loud as that, it’s got to spur the boys on and the players would have enjoyed having that support behind them.”