Win at Leiston puts Diamonds 'right back in the mix'

Andy Peaks believes AFC Rushden & Diamonds are right back in the play-off mix in the BetVictor Southern League Premier Central.

Saturday, 11th January 2020, 9:21 pm
Updated Saturday, 11th January 2020, 9:23 pm
Liam Dolman heads off to celebrate after his late goal secured AFC Rushden & Diamonds a 3-2 win at Leiston. Pictures courtesy of HawkinsImages

Diamonds made it three wins in a row as they fought back from 2-1 down to claim a dramatic 3-2 success at Leiston.

After taking the lead thanks to an own-goal, Peaks’ team conceded twice just before half-time.

And, just when it looked like a frustrating afternoon was on the cards, Greg Kaziboni levelled on 84 minutes before captain Liam Dolman struck in the final minute to secure the three points.

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Sam Brown takes the congratulations after his cross was deflected into his own net by a Leiston player to give Diamonds the lead

Diamonds have suffered just one defeat in their last eight league matches and the latest win moved them up to eighth place and to within three points of the play-off places.

And Peaks hailed the belief of his team and his ability to be able to change things both tactically and with personnel after the fine win in Suffolk.

“We are right in and around it, just where we want to be,” the Diamonds boss said.

“It’s three wins on the bounce and it has put us right back in the mix and we have three home games coming up.

The travelling Diamonds fans show their delight at the final whistle

“But we know that in this league you have to be on it for every single game.

“We showed so much desire and so much belief and that’s part of being on a good run.

“It was dramatic in the fact that we left it so late. But we dominated most of the game, certainly the second half and it was just a question of whether we could score.

“We hit the woodwork and their goalkeeper made a couple of saves and it was just getting to the stage when you wondered whether we would get one.

“To be fair, when Greg scored I fancied we could go on and win it. That’s what we did and I am really pleased.

“They were on a good run themselves but, over the whole of the game, I would have been disappointed if we hadn’t won.

“The two goals just before half-time rocked us massively but I felt we fully deserved it in the end.

“It was nice that we made the change in the second half, we went to a 4-4-2 and brought Tom Lorraine, Ryan Dave and Nat Gosnal-Tyler on and they all played their part.

“It goes to show it’s easy to change it when you have good players on the bench. We were doing okay with the 4-3-3 but it was just nice to have the beauty of bringing lads on to change things.”

The first of three home games in a row is on Tuesday night when Diamonds entertain Needham Market - a team who won 2-1 at Hayden Road in the Southern League Challenge Cup last month.

And Peaks knows they will be a threat again.

“It’s a really tough one,” he added.

“They have picked up a lot of points away from home. They defend really well and break well.

"They caught us in the Challenge Cup. I know both teams made changes but they came with the same philosophy that they will have on Tuesday."