So Friday night is football night for one week only at the Dog & Duck with the visit of Yaxley tonight.
Radio Diamonds will be foregoing the usual drink after work, fish and chips for tea, CrackerJack at 5 to 5, and listening to “Friday night is music night” on radio 2 (a couple there for the older listeners…) for the delights of the commentary box to bring you live coverage of our penultimate home game of the season.
After that heartbreaking ill deserved last minute defeat to Spalding last week our realistic aim is probably now third in our first season in the UCL prem. Having said that Huntingdon’s 3 2 defeat to Peterborough Northern Star in midweek opens up just a chink of light given they have to play Spalding twice including tomorrow. So what did we all make of Spalding? I thought they were impressive defensively – both centre halves in particular – they pressed really well in midfield and real energy and desire throughout which never slackened. Maybe not as impressive going forward as they had been at Spalding, but put the ball in dangerous areas consistently making our back four work hard which they certainly did and I thought impressed.
They are undoubtedly worthy champions…and showed that with the late goal they didn’t perhaps deserve..and have a consistency in terms of ball control and passing that we must aspire too. If they keep that squad together including Tidswell who was injured last week, they should do well in the Southern league.
What of Diamonds? Well the team is changing and evolving isn’t it. I noted only 3 starters who were with us last season, and the team has a possibly more youthful, more mobile, more composed look about it compared to earlier in the year and that’s maybe a sign of the direction the team will take into next season. Will it be under Andy Peaks? I think there is a lot to be said for someone who has UCL pedigree, and knows how we do things and what our philosophy is as a club. I’m proud of the way our players and management generally behave compared to some, and it’s important to me that we stay that way. A hard edged UCL “professional” might change that and turn us into something we don’t like. You might say so what if we’re successful, but I think how we are and behave as a club is an important part of our identity and needs to be retained.
So there is very little left of the season, and we need three wins I think to fight off Deeping and Cogenhoe for third place. And if Spalding can in some way take four points from the two Huntingdon games then 2nd might just still be on. We have the “visit” of Wellingborough on Easter Monday and then that fun fun fun visit to Corby on the last Saturday of the season. It won’t be like Spencer away last year, but we’ll still be there for Radio Diamonds.
Jon Wilkinson on Radio Northampton asked me this week how the fans feel about another season in UCL prem. I said I thought we probably expected at least two seasons in the league, that we’ve enjoyed being competitive and for a little while we did genuinely hope for more. Our team is changing and improving, and we’re looking forward to another fight in the top 6 next season with old rivals Oadby bound to challenge (if not win the league by Christmas!!), Wisbech who you’d expect to be more consistent, Deeping, Huntingdon and Cogenhoe again…maybe even tonight’s impressive opponents Yaxley and our ground-share partners Wellingborough Town also in the mix. So looking forward with optimism and genuine hopes for a title push next season.
So let’s embrace Friday football night, create a great atmosphere and see the lads to another home win, and if you can’t make the game tune in to Radio Diamonds and we’ll bring you all the action and atmosphere!!
Radio Diamonds Presenter