Southern League beckons for promoted Diamonds

AFC Rushden & Diamonds' players have been celebrating after they earned promotion from the UCL Premier Division
AFC Rushden & Diamonds' players have been celebrating after they earned promotion from the UCL Premier Division

AFC Rushden & Diamonds can look forward to Evo-Stik Southern League football next season after they secured promotion from the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division.

In just their second season at the level, Diamonds secured the top-three place they needed thanks to a 3-1 success over Long Buckby.

Declan Rogers gave them the lead and further goals from Scott Joseph and Matt Gearing completed the victory in the second half.

Andy Peaks’ team will now aim to wrap up the title, something they can do at the weekend if they beat Dog & Duck neighbours Wellingborough Town and second-placed Thurnby Nirvana and third-placed Wisbech Town both fail to win.

Elsewhere on Easter Monday, Desborough Town drew 1-1 with relegation-threatened local rivals Harborough Town at the Waterworks Field.

Harborough seemed to be on course for a priceless victory when Ben Williams gave them the lead from the penalty spot just before the break.

But Aaron Davies struck to rescue a point for Ar Tarn, although he was later sent off.

On a day of derbies in Division One, Northampton Spencer were crowned as champions after a 2-0 victory over ON Chenecks.

Of the local sides, Whitworth claimed a 2-1 success over Rushden & Higham United.

Deven Ellwood put the Flourmen in front and Ross Patrick doubled the advantage after the break. Ryan Kalla pulled one back for the Lankies with 14 minutes to go.

Raunds Town picked up their first win in seven and ended Irchester United’s four-game winning streak with a 3-0 victory at Kiln Park.

The damage was done in late in the first half as Luke Stevens gave the Shopmates the lead before Luke Rivett added a second in stoppage-time.

And a Chris Gell own-goal just before the hour rounded off a fine win for the hosts.

Two late goals gave Thrapston Town a 2-0 success over Burton Park Wanderers at Chancery Lane.

Jack Wisniewski finally broke Wanderers’ resistance after 86 minutes and Jedd Whiteman sealed all three points with the second.

Stewarts & Lloyds’ miserable campaign continued as they lost 7-1 at home to Peterborough Sports, who moved back into the second promotion place as a result.

Jack Barron (2), Jon Stead, Ali Nyang, Matty Cox, Matt Simpson and Gary Gibbs were on target for the visitors while Jordan Middleton scored the Foundrymen’s consolation.