The belief and expectations are growing for AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Boss Andy Peaks was delighted as his team maintained their fine form and moved ever closer to the Southern League Premier Central play-off places

By Jon Dunham
Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 7:30 am
Ty Deacon celebrates after he scored what proved to be the winner in AFC Rushden & Diamonds' crucial 2-1 victory at Alvechurch. Picture courtesy of Hawkins Images
Ty Deacon celebrates after he scored what proved to be the winner in AFC Rushden & Diamonds' crucial 2-1 victory at Alvechurch. Picture courtesy of Hawkins Images

Andy Peaks knows expectations are growing at AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

But he insists the belief within his squad is also growing after they claimed one of the most important wins of the season so far.

Goals from Liam Dolman and Ty Deacon secured a 2-1 success at fifth-placed Alvechurch.

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The victory - their 10th from the last 13 games - saw Diamonds move to within two points of their opponents with two games in hand as they stand poised to move into the play-off places in the Southern League Premier Central.

A top-five finish is now firmly in their own hands but Peaks insists the approach from this point won’t change as his prophecy of his team getting better as the season progresses continues to turn into a reality.

The Diamonds boss said: “The more you win, the more the expectations grow!

“But that’s not the way it is with me. We take each game as it comes. We have got Stourbridge next week and they have picked up massively.

“But the results went well around us and that shows how competitive the league is.

“I would say it’s the tightest it has ever been between the play-off places and the bottom.

“We just worry about ourselves. The more points you pick up, the more expectations go up but, equally, the belief grows as well.

“I have said all along that I have a good group and I kept saying we would get better and better as it went on.

“And that’s been proved. If you look at our form over the last 12 games, no-one has been better.

“We just have to keep doing the horrible things well. We have to maintain our work rate and our desire. We just have to keep going.”

Dolman put Diamonds into an early lead and, after Daniel Waldron had levelled, Deacon grabbed what proved to be the winner with his eighth goal since joining the club in November.

“It was billed to be a really big game and it was a big one in the context of the season,” boss Peaks added.

“I am just delighted we have come out on top and kept the momentum going.

“We started really well. I knew what to expect from them. I knew they had lots of willing runners and they like to play attacking football.

“Our plan was to try to get at them at the transition and also be a threat from set-pieces so to score from one straight away was a great start.

“We were disappointed to concede but we reacted so well and Ty has nicked the ball and produced a great finish. He has so much to his game and it’s no coincidence that we have improved our results since he has come in.

“You are never comfortable at 2-1 but they had a lot of possession without ever really hurting us and we have had a couple of chances ourselves to kill the game off.

“But I can’t knock them, they were brilliant. The spirit amongst the group, the work rate and the desire to get back in and get a good shape when we lose the ball has been incredible.

“I have been as proud of this group as I have been of any team I have managed over the last two months.

“We were disappointed this time last week but I knew the game at Banbury wasn’t going to define our season.

“We had 16 games left at that point and we have taken six points out of six since then so it’s a great response and that epitomises the group.”