Peaks' delight as Diamonds start with a win

Andy Peaks saw his AFC Rushden & Diamonds side kick-off the new season on a winning note
Andy Peaks saw his AFC Rushden & Diamonds side kick-off the new season on a winning note

Andy Peaks admitted to feeling “absolutely delighted” after AFC Rushden & Diamonds kicked off the new season in impressive fashion.

Second-half goals from captain Liam Dolman and Jack Ashton - both from set-pieces - secured a 2-0 win at Barwell in the BetVictor Southern League Premier Division Central.

Peaks handed league debuts to both Nat Gosnal-Tyler and Matthew Slinn while four more summer signings were included on the bench.

And a solid display was duly rewarded, much to the delight of the manager.

“I am absolutely delighted overall,” Peaks said.

“We have got some new players and there have been some bits and bobs going on around the club with Paul Lamb not being in and Champs (new first-team coach Neil Champelovier) coming in.

“So, it’s a transition and it was always going to be a tough game at Barwell and the conditions made it even tougher.

“But to come away with three points and a clean sheet, I am delighted.

“I thought we were quite comfortable in the first half and we got the goal in the second half and then they had a go at us, which you’d expect.

“We didn’t score enough goals last season and one way we can improve that is by scoring more from set-pieces and that’s something we are going to be working hard on this year.

“We have got a useful weapon with Sam’s long throw and we have some good headers of the ball. It’s something to work on but to score two goals from set-pieces is pleasing.

“But we also have to give credit to (goalkeeper) Ben Heath because he has made one excellent save at 1-0 and he has reacted well to the pressure that has been put on him by Niall Cooper.

“But I thought we looked quite dangerous after that and we deserved the second goal.

“Barwell are always a tough team to play against so to get up and running with three points is fantastic.”

Diamonds now head into back-to-back home matches as they take on Leiston at Hayden Road on Tuesday night before entertaining Nuneaton Borough next Saturday.

And Peaks will be calling for the same work ethic from his players.

“It’s a very unforgiving league and there are good teams right through it,” he added.

“Anyone is capable of beating anyone on their day.

“But we were disciplined and worked our socks off in this game and that’s what I want again on Tuesday. If they do that every week then they will always have a chance in games.”