Peaks full of praise for 10-man Diamonds

Andy Peaks was full of praise for his AFC Rushden & Diamonds players after they defied the odds to maintain their good form with a 1-1 draw against Hednesford Town at Hayden Road.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 12:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 12:18 pm
The AFC Rushden & Diamonds players celebrate Ryan Dove's late equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Hednesford Town at Hayden Road. Picture courtesy of HawkinsImages

The clash between two play-off contenders in the BetVictor Southern League Premier Central got off to a controversial start when Diamonds’ Ben Acquaye was sent-off after just three minutes for an off-the-ball incident.

Diamonds fell behind to Danny Glover’s goal on the stroke of half-time but they stormed back in the second half and produced an impressive display, which was eventually rewarded when substitute Ryan Dove equalised with six minutes to go.

The draw extended Diamonds’ unbeaten run to six matches and Peaks was delighted with the huge effort his team put in after the break.

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“It was a very frustrating start with the sending-off and it was always going to be tough to play with 10 men against a good team for that long,” the Diamonds boss said.

“I thought we dealt with it brilliantly. We switched off from a set-piece but apart from that they created very little.

“We upped the tempo in the second half, we stuck to the game plan, we bided our time and we ended up dominating for the most part.

“We deservedly got the equaliser and we could have even won it in the end.

“They all played their part and they listened. They didn’t go chasing the game, they listened to what we said and they stuck to the tactics.

“It worked perfectly and the only disappointing thing is their goalkeeper has made some fantastic saves to stop us from winning the game.

“The substitutions worked but that’s all about the management team, not just me. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. But it’s made easier when you have good players sitting next to you.

“Ryan Dove has scored the winner and Tom Lorraine has created it so those changes paid off.

“And I was pleased for Ryan because he’s worked hard. It’s his first season at this level and he hasn’t scored the goals he hoped he would. But his work-rate has been fantastic and he is brilliant around the place.”

Peaks, meanwhile, felt the decision to send Acquaye off so early was a “massive call” for the referee to make.

“I don’t know what happened,” he added.

“The referee said it was violent conduct and people did say he raised his elbow but something drastic must have happened for that to take place because Ben is not that sort of kid at all.

“It was a massive call to make that early in the game and no-one was hurt through it.”

Diamonds face another tough test at the weekend when they head to Nuneaton Borough.