Previous encounters count for nothing as Peaks’ Diamonds get ready for the play-offs

Jack Bowen is mobbed by his AFC Rushden & Diamonds team-mates after scoring their second goal in the 2-0 victory over Godalming Town. Pictures by Alison Bagley
Jack Bowen is mobbed by his AFC Rushden & Diamonds team-mates after scoring their second goal in the 2-0 victory over Godalming Town. Pictures by Alison Bagley

Andy Peaks insists AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ record against Royston Town during the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central season will count for little when the two clubs battle it out in the play-off semi-final on Tuesday night.

Diamonds will make the trip to Royston having completed their regular campaign with a 2-0 victory over Godalming Town at the Dog & Duck thanks to goals from Shawn Richards and Jack Bowen.

Claudiu Hoban challenges for possession during Diamonds' success at the Dog & Duck

Claudiu Hoban challenges for possession during Diamonds' success at the Dog & Duck

Royston finished second after sharing a 1-1 draw with third-placed Egham Town on the final day as Kings Langley took the title thanks to a 1-0 success at Petersfield Town.

Now Peaks is focused on trying to join them in the Premier Division as he bids to lead Diamonds to two wins that would secure a second successive promotion.

“Our record against Royston and Egham wasn’t great in the season so we knew it was going to be tough whoever we had to play,” the Diamonds boss said.

“The most recent game at Royston was particularly tight when we lost by the odd goal and in the first game (which Diamonds lost 4-1), we could have been out of sight instead of only being 1-0 up at half-time.

The Diamonds players celebrate Jack Bowen's goal

The Diamonds players celebrate Jack Bowen's goal

“But all of that doesn’t matter now. We are looking forward to it.

“We are probably the underdogs but I think that suits us. We will go there feeling relaxed and we will be very competitive.

“The club has come a long way in the last couple of years and now we are at this point and we will do all we can to win the next two games.”

Peaks, meanwhile, was delighted to see his team finish on a high note in front of a 500-plus crowd at the Dog & Duck.

Action from AFC Rushden & Diamonds' 2-0 home win over Godalming Town in the final game of the regular season

Action from AFC Rushden & Diamonds' 2-0 home win over Godalming Town in the final game of the regular season

Bowen’s goal came as a result of him charging down the visiting goalkeeper’s kick in the second half.

And the Diamonds boss is hoping that is a sign of a timely change of luck for his side.

“It was important to finish the season with some momentum and we did that with a good result against a decent team,” Peaks added.

“We played quite well and I am glad we could win the game at home ahead of Tuesday.

“We got a bit of luck for the second goal but Jack showed what work-rate and shutting the goalkeeper down can do for you.

“They hit the post when they should have scored and that was a bit of luck we perhaps didn’t have a few weeks ago.

“Hopefully, the fortunes are changing just in time for us but I am a big believer in that you make your own luck by working hard.”