VERDICT: Another win and a big one for relentless Diamonds

Andy Peaks congratulates Sam Brown after AFC Rushden & Diamonds' 1-0 victory over Chalfont St Peter. Pictures by Alison Bagley
Andy Peaks congratulates Sam Brown after AFC Rushden & Diamonds' 1-0 victory over Chalfont St Peter. Pictures by Alison Bagley

As the final whistle sounded to confirm AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ 1-0 victory over Chalfont St Peter, you could just sense that this win was bigger than most.

It’s always interesting to try to get inside the head of a footballer and, as that whistle went, the reaction of Diamonds captain Liam Dolman told the story.

Ben Diamond chases after the ball at Hayden Road

Ben Diamond chases after the ball at Hayden Road

He had just made the last of a number of key interceptions in his usual calm and collective manner but then, as the referee ended the contest, Dolman responded with a big punch in the air.

The big defender is a cool customer but in that one moment, it was clear that this win meant that little bit more.

The statistics just get all-the-more impressive. Diamonds are now unbeaten in 17 matches while the meanest defence in the top eight levels of English football chalked up yet another clean sheet.

But the most important one of all is the nine-point advantage they now hold over third-placed Hayes & Yeading United.

Joel Gyasi takes on a Chalfont player during Diamonds' win

Joel Gyasi takes on a Chalfont player during Diamonds' win

With the top two going up automatically, Andy Peaks’ team seem to be in a hurry to get promotion wrapped up as quickly as possible. And, as long as the wins keep coming, that will be the case.

This wasn’t a vintage display by any stretch. But, not for the first time, Diamonds did what they had to do to get the job done.

Chalfont, on a decent run themselves, provided the tough test Peaks expected but, aside from a couple of heart in the mouth moments, Diamonds dealt with their attacking threat well while also conjuring up the one moment of real quality which produced the only goal.

Things could have been different, however, had Chalfont scored with the first clear chance of the game.

Rob Hastings’ cross from the left smacked off the crossbar but, with just Ben Heath to beat and the goal at his mercy, the dangerous Victor Osobu got it horribly wrong as he blasted over.

Diamonds did get a grip on things and Joel Gyasi was just off target with a low effort before Ben Farrell forced Carl Dennison into a decent stop with a trademark thunderbolt from the edge of the area.

But the breakthrough did arrive on 34 minutes. Callum Westwood was the provider with a pinpoint cross from the right and Tom Lorraine met it with a bullet header to add yet another crucial goal to his ever-growing collection.

Chalfont started the second half brightly and Heath had to be at his best to push Jake Cass’ well-struck shot onto the post before the same player curled another effort just wide soon after.

But that was as close as the visitors would come.

There were few other chances in the game as Diamonds struggled to get their attacking play going while their cause wasn’t helped by Lorraine having to be withdrawn with a back injury.

But, at the other end, that rock solid defence stayed composed and ensured there was little more for Heath to do. Job done, again.

Gaining promotion from any division is no easy task but Diamonds are doing their very best to ensure there are no mistakes as they bid to make that jump up to Step Three.

The wins and clean sheets keep coming, even when they aren’t at their fluid best.

And if they keep ticking them off, then the inevitable will happen sooner rather later.

On they go...

Diamonds: Heath; Dolman, Ashton, Brown; Westwood, Farrell, Westbrook, Curtis (sub Robbins, 74 mins), Gyasi; Lorraine (sub Dean, 64 mins), Diamond. Subs not used: Ford, Gilchrist, Punter.

Chalfont St Peter: Dennison; Clarke, Hedley, Fenton, Haugh; Mullan (sub Kirby, 79 mins), Jones (sub Shingleston, 85 mins); Martin (sub Stead, h-t), Cass, Hastings; Osobu. Sub not used: Lafleur.

Referee: Andrew Ellis.

Goal: Lorraine (34 mins, 1-0).

Bookings: Hedley, Ashton (both fouls).

Attendance: 529.