Diamonds have the experience to thrive in cup

Andy Peaks is hoping AFC Rushden & Diamonds can round off their season by securing a UCL league and cup double
Andy Peaks is hoping AFC Rushden & Diamonds can round off their season by securing a UCL league and cup double

AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Andy Peaks says his side’s “cup final” experience could be crucial when they look to end their season by lifting another trophy.

Diamonds were crowned ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division champions with a 99-point haul and now Peaks says winning the Knockout Cup tomorrow (Monday) would be the icing on the cake.

Diamonds face Potton United – who are only the third Division One side in the competition’s 34-year history to reach the final – at In2itive Park in Yaxley tomorrow afternoon (3pm).

And, according to Peaks, his team are used to the pressure the match brings.

“We’ve already played 40 cup finals this season,” he said.

“That’s how it feels anyway. We are used to playing big games.

“We’ve had a great season and winning the cup would be the icing on the cake.

“But it’s going to be tough on Monday.

“We’ve had Potton watched and they are a big, strong side who don’t concede a lot of goals.

“They’ve already beaten Thurnby and Holbeach in the cup and beat Stewarts & Lloyds 8-0 last week.”

Peaks has doubts over a couple of players going into the match, but says Richard Bunting will be able to play after being red-carded in last week’s 3-3 draw with Cogenhoe United at the Dog & Duck.

Peaks was not happy with the sending off and admitted he was “happy to come away with a point” after Diamonds fell 3-2 behind with only five minutes left.

Matt Gearing grabbed the late leveller, converting a rebound after his penalty was saved.

And Peaks added: “It was always going to be tough.

“We had already been presented with the trophy and Cogenhoe were on a good run and wanted to do well because it was their manager’s last game.

“We were behind twice in the last few minutes, but we’ve always had that belief and that what has got us through games this season.

“We’ve ended the season unbeaten at home and we have to be happy with that.”

Diamonds this week announced three pre-season friendlies. They head to Enfield Town on Saturday, July 18, then welcome Biggleswade Town and Wealdstone to the Dog and Duck the following Tuesday and Saturday respectively.