6 games to go!!

Just 6 games left in our UCL season starting with today’s game against old foes Deeping Rangers.

They were the very first team we played in the UCL Prem – a nice opening day 3-2 win up in Market Deeping – but they got revenge later that season with a 2-1 win at the Dog and Duck which was part of a sequence which ended with our first manager Mark Starmer sadly resigning.

They finished just a place behind Diamonds last season in 4th and have had a mixed campaign this season with some great runs and results punctured by runs of indifferent form. They lie 9th in the league but still feel to me like a team with the players and potential to be top 4 but they have lost key players to injury for todays game.

Their season is typified by the last five games really. After a 2-0 home win against Huntingdon they drew 0-0 at home to Sleaford, followed that by a 6-0 win at Northampton Sileby and then a 4-1 reverse at Newport Pagnell Town before a good 0-0 draw at Peterborough Northern Star.

Diamonds won a close game at Deeping at the beginning of February 2-1 with Liam Dolman grabbing a brace as part of a sequence of 6 goals in 3 games for the centre-half when he followed up with 4 against Desborough. Deeping pegged Diamonds early goal back with an equaliser on the half-hour and it took into the last 20 minutes for Diamonds to take the lead. There wasn’t much between the side in terms of possession and chances on the day so it will likely be another stiff test of patience by the team and fans at the Dog & Duck on today.

It’s been a momentous Brad Harris inspired week as he earned that last gasp draw against Wisbech last Saturday in front of an incredible 930 crowd and then grabbed a vital brace in the come from behind win at Kempston on Tuesday night. He’s a real fans favourite in the unsung hero category and we love him on Radio Diamonds.

I really enjoyed calling his two goals on Tuesday night especially the second one…

”Gearing with the free-kick…..header comes in….and it’s a goal!!!!!!!!!!…. Diamonds take the lead….and is it Brad Harris again?….I don’t believe it….it is Brad Harris…. incredible…the goal scoring machine makes it 3 in 2 games with a glancing header this time and Diamonds have come from behind to lead 2-1 in this vital game….”

What does it mean for our promotion and title ambitions? Well we are already guaranteed at least 5th place with the 83 points we already have. If we assume the chasing pack win all their games (which they certainly won’t as Wisbech play Holbeach) then from our last 6 games…….

1 win = 4th place, 3 wins = 3rd place, 4 wins = 2nd place, 5 wins = The title!!

With Thurnby deducted points this week and Holbeach withdrawing their promotion application the permutations are too complex even for my stato brain to handle, but the simple truth is if we can keep performing and keep winning the promised land is very very close.

Radio Diamonds will be at every game as we close in our dream. Lots of tough football to play but Brad Harris week has put it very firmly in our hands!!

**Breaking News….. our Chairman Ralph Burditt will be joining the Radio Diamonds commentary team for the cup semi-final against Wisbech on Tuesday as he did for the second round game against Burton Park Wanderers…. another 7 goals then!!****

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Presenter

Brad Harris Week!!

He’s done it again and followed Liam Dolman into the upper reaches of the Diamonds goal scoring charts. Brad Harris has scored Diamonds last 3 goals after grabbing an oh so vital brace in Tuesday night’s come from behind win at Kempston to add to his leap like a salmon last gasp equalizer against Wisbech.

We always knew Kempston was  going to be one of our toughest away challenges against a team only beaten twice at home this season and it that is how it proved.

Where the Wisbech game had been far from a good advert for UCL football this game was much more like it. Kempston were really bright and pacey in attack and the game had chances at both ends in a really good first half.

Diamonds were quite direct in the first half supported by real pace and trickery down the wings particularly from Elliot Lamb-Johnson. Tom Lorraine and Tommy Berwick came close to converting near post crosses, Liam Dolman headed over from a  corner, and Matt Gearing had a curling effort tipped onto the bar.

Kempston came close to scoring after 30 seconds, Matt Finlay tipping over a swerving effort and had two other good firm efforts on the volley from just inside the box.

The goal just before half-time came from really direct quick thinking from the Kempston forwards, first by pipping Joe Merril to a bouncing under hit pass back, then as Sam Brown struggled with the bouncing cross the turn and half-volley from goalscorer Bush was superb.

The sending off for second rash challenge undoubtedly changed the game with Kempston still able to defend solidly but it negated the positive attacking play they had graced the evening with.

I’d just said on commentary that I thought Kempston were looking comfortable defensively when the classic playing against 10 men move paid off. Ball quickly switched from side to side stretching the back four a little, neat ball into the edge of the area to Tommy Berwick whose turn put him into the space that the stretching had created, pacey run a firm low cross for Brad Harris to tap in. Queue delight from Diamonds faithful.

The winner came from a great delivery from Matt Gearing for a free-kick given for yet another challenge trying to stop the excellent Elliot Lamb-Johnson. Brad “let me in the box” Harris rose to head against the base of the post and in. He said in his post match interview that he nearly missed it glancing it a tad too much….but it hit the net….queue even more delight.

Kempston pushed well in the last 10 minutes and caused a few anxious moments but great defensive headers from Ashton, Dolman and Harris kept them at bay.

A big big win….and another step closer to that promotion spot and hopefully the title. Deeping up next…look out for a preview tomorrow.

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Presenter

Wisbech From Afar

What a dramatic if not high quality game we had last Saturday and an amazing attendance. It exceeded my expectations and became our highest home league attendance. Swelled by a good away contingent and a number of neutral/ground hopper types who were hoping to see a cracking game.

It didn’t really live up to the hype and we’ve seen much better adverts for UCL football, but certainly had the closing drama we all dreamed of. If you read my article in the last match programme you’ll know I was in Prague for the game on a long ago booked holiday and it was agony with a dodgy internet connection which meant I couldn’t get Radio Diamonds and I had to rely on refreshing twitter regularly.

When the GOOOOAAALLL!! Tweet came through there was most definitely dancing in the streets of Prague. The adrenaline rush of excitement at the news of super Brad Harris saving the day was like nothing I’ve felt before….although the folks round us later in the evening clearly felt something similar when Sparta Prague won 1-0 with a last minute penalty in a crucial game where they had battered the opposition for 90 minutes….and I mean battered!!

I don’t expect any battering of sides in these last few games. I expect tension, nerves, hard working opponents, maybe the odd set-back like on Saturday. But judging by the great attitude in the team, the management, the club and the fans I expect Diamonds to come through and let their ability allied with their togetherness and work effort take them through to the vital points which may just…..just… lead to promised land of promotion.

As Bruce would say…..Go Diamonds!!

Holbeach Here We Come

Big match nerves? You’d be forgiven…but also plenty of excitement at the prospect of the biggest game of this UCL season.

It’s first against second and it’s between the only two sides in the battle for that illusive promotion opportunity.

Diamonds have the advantage of points in the bag and games played, Holbeach have the advantage of fewest points dropped and games in hand.

Holbeach are off the back of 6 consecutive wins, Diamonds have bounced back from a couple of disappointing defeats with two 3-0 wins.

Holbeach have a strong squad that has improved as the season has gone on, Diamonds have added real strength and experience since the New Year

It does have the ingredients for an epic encounter and the Radio Diamonds team and the whole media team will be out in force for the journey to Lincolnshire. We know local media in both Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire are following the game closely and I’ve been asked to provide BBC Radio Northampton with updates through the afternoon.

What of the previous clashes between the sides. Last season against a Holbeach squad with very different league aspirations Diamonds won comfortably 3-1 at Carters Park. It was the first game back from a 4 week break to bad weather and 2 early goals from Matt Gearing put Diamonds in control and they won comfortably.

Back in October this seasons clash at the Dog & Duck was much closer finishing 1-1. It was the first time Diamonds had dropped points at home and they were unable to capitalise on good periods in the game and were pegged back by a penalty just on half-time. The game finished with a big melee in the final moments involving all the players and most of the management from the two teams…let’s hope there is no repeat of that this time.

Current form is firmly in Holbeach fabour. They have taken pole position in the title race of course after 6 consecutive wins in a period where Diamonds have lost twice. They won at Cogenhoe…which doesn’t seem as difficult a place to win as it was earlier in the season…but they also had good home wins against Yaxley and Wisbech. Both those sides are still on edge of the title race if Diamonds and Holbeach both slip up and Wisbech on a great run in 4th have a trip to the Dog & Duck to look forward to.

Diamonds have strengthened their squad since the New Year with the additions of Declan Rogers and Neil King who had a tricky start in the defeat at Oadby but had a genuine impact on the team in the two 3-0 weeks last week. They have also now added Tommy Berwick with his great goals scoring record and experience of playing at a higher level

The only sensible predictions you can really make about this game are that there will be a large travelling contingent trying hard to be the legendary 12th man for Diamonds and a vociferous home support, that it will be competitive and a good quality of open attacking football, and that the result won’t decide the title but will have a massive impact on the way either side sees the remainder of the season.

If you aren’t travelling to sunny Lincolnshire then please tune in to Radio Diamonds and join us on what should be an exciting afternoon showcasing the very best in UCL football.

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Presenter

Radio Diamonds website updates are back!!

Out with the bunting…..the Radio Diamonds website update and match preview is back!!

It’s been a while hasn’t it. We’ve been happily…or not so happily at Oadby….broadcasting throughout the season and I’ve been writing programme articles and match reports and taken the eye off the ball of our own website.

It was doing my research for the Sleaford game that drew my attention to it to be honest. The game was originally scheduled as our opening match of the season of course and I had written a programme article with a few predictions about what we could expect from the season.

Interesting to see how they have turned out at the half way ish stage….

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What we can expect…..

  • A well prepared and well coached team seemingly with options in all positions. The whole squad got plenty of game time in pre-season. Whether they are good enough to compete at the very top of the table time will tell but I don’t think we’ll be found wanting for fitness or preparation.

 

  • Good crowds again. Pre-season saw decent turnouts that would many other teams would only dream of in the league, so we can expect an enthusiastic 400 to 500 at home and 200 plus travelling away to cheer on the Diamonds

 

  • Goals and a winning season. We’ve been used to our teams having winning seasons and there is nothing to suggest it won’t be the same again. I can see us creating plenty of chances with the players we have, and the key to stepping up from contenders to potential champions will be whether we can take those crucial chances at key points to kill off the opposition.

 

  • Good match coverage for our fans. From the twitter updates live during games, to match reports and photos soon after, to AFCRDTV highlights package and interviews, and of course Radio Diamonds to give you live commentary if you can’t get to the game. Add in the previews and stats on the main website, and commentary articles on the Radio Diamonds website and we’re well served compared to many we play against.

 

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Some safe bets there I guess….but it has turned out pretty accurately. Preparation, crowds, goals and good coverage….

It was interesting to see that Andy Peaks made just the one change on Tuesday night to the team that were so poor on Saturday. It was as if he was saying I know you are better than that, go out and prove I was right on the much better surface at the Dog & Duck.

I think they did that. There was more urgency and fluency in our play, and Neil King and particularly Declan Rogers showed the fans the quality they had been brought into the club for. It was against a more limited young side that weren’t able to create much pressure themselves, but it was what everyone wanted to see. A reminder that you don’t become a poor team overnight.

The biggest challenge over the remainder of the season is going to be playing away from home against stronger opposition and less good pitches and facilities that maybe don’t suit our style of play. Thurnby and Oadby were like that and you could add in Hullbridge back in November where we struggled to impose ourselves and even at times match the work-rate of motivated hardworking opposition.

The game at Holbeach is going to be pivotal of course, but of the games we have scheduled trips to Deeping, Huntingdon and Desborough are going to be key. It’s interesting to note that Holbeach have to play at these three grounds too so it feels like the attitude and approach of both sides at these grounds will go a long way to deciding where the title ends up.

The home games and conditions suit us of course. We have 9 wins and just 2 draws but as we found out last season anyone in the UCL can come to the Dog & Duck and win like Peterborough Northern Star and Desborough did last season as well as Huntingdon, Deeping and Spalding.

So can Sleaford be a threat on Saturday? Of course they can. They have only won 3 times on their travels this season but that includes 5-3 here at the Dog & Duck against Wellingborough just before Christmas, 4-0 at Desborough, and 3-0 at Cogenhoe. They also drew 2-2 at Huntingdon when they were still contenders and we can maybe take hope from the fact they were also beaten at Oadby….only 1-0 though!!

They can perform against the best on their day…they certainly made it a tough game at their place earlier in the season…and they have won 3 in their last 6 games, scoring 5 twice and averaging 3 per game….they have conceded 14 in those 6 games too though.

Team selection particularly up front will be interesting with Jason Turner taking his chance on being returned to the starting line-up on Tuesday with an impressive performance and a goal, Tom Lorraine looking energetic and a real threat maybe as a result of playing with Turner, Scott Joseph looking motivated when he came on and getting his goal, and Fazel Koriya aching to get back playing again ideally up front.

Out wide could be interesting too with Declan Rogers man of the match performance and his goal, a much improved Elliot Lamb-Johnson whose delivery and end product was so dangerous, Fazel Koriya really wanting a place in the side and Matt Gearing itching to regain his place – I loved the reception he got for the last few minutes on Tuesday.

Tuesday restored my faith in the side that had taken just a little knock last Saturday. Sleaford will be a much sterner test but I just feel the team have had the wake-up call they maybe needed.

I sense a real motivation in the squad now and with us in the strange position of being clear at the top of the league with points in the bag, but chasing Holbeach in terms of points dropped…I’m really looking forward to seeing how both sides react to the pressure of being contenders for the big prize.

Enjoy the game on Saturday, or tune in to Radio Diamonds to listen to our team describe all the action at the Dog & Duck with updates from around the UCL.

Come on you Diamonds!!

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Live for Hillier Cup

Radio Diamonds aim to be on air for tonight’s Hiller Cup Quarter-final tie at the Dog & Duck.

It’s the first of 3 cup ties this month, to be followed by the short trip over the fence to Wellingborough Whitworths next Tuesday for the UCL KO Cup, and then the start of our FA Vase campaign on 22nd November at Hullbridge Sports in deepest Essex.

We’re aiming to cover those games too on Radio Diamonds as we keep up our ever present status this season.

We enter the competition tonight after receiving a bye in the first round. Our opponents Brackley Town won a tight first round tie 2-1 against Daventry Town, alongside Corby Town who won 4-0 at Kettering Town, and Wellingborough Town who beat Northampton Sileby Rangers 2-0.

The competition in its current guise is open to the 11 Northants FA affiliated non-league teams from Step 5 and above. We played in the Junior Cup in our first year while at Step 6, and went out in the first round last season at the Dog & Duck against Wellingborough Town 2-1.

The quarter-final ties this season are spread over two weeks :

Long Buckby                           vs            Peterborough Northern Star

Wellingborough Town             vs            Cogenhoe United

Corby Town                            vs            Desborough Town

AFC Rushden & Diamonds    vs            Brackley Town

Manager Andy Peaks hinted in his post Sleaford interview that there would be changes tonight bringing in players who haven’t been regulars lately and one or two youngsters, but if the side he put out in the UCL KO Cup against Burton Park Wanderers is anything to go by it will still be a strong line-up.

Brackley did make 10 changes for their last Hillier Cup tie, but former Diamonds Billy Turley and Greg Pearson have a chance of playing tonight, and it will be good to see former Diamond Jon Brady and my personal all time favourite ex-diamond Darren Collins leading them from the dugout.

With Corby Town the only other side outside the UCL prem still in the competition there is a real chance of making an impact on this competition if Diamonds can put in a good performance against Step 2 Conference North side Brackley Town tonight.

A reminder that if the game is level at 90 minutes it goes straight to a penalty shoot-out.

Kick-off 7.45….

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Presenter

15 Goals in a week…and Oadby to come…

It’s about time we updated the Radio Diamonds website….. and what a week to do it in. Two games, 15 goals, a double hat-trick hero, two of the best strikes and one of the best headed goals you’ll ever see, and we were pegged back to 1-1 in both games.

We had a strong side out in the KO Cup which read like a first choice 11 so it felt even more like a genuine first team game. We were ruthless too when we finally got clear of a hard working Burton at 4-1 on the hour. We just kept on pressing and ran up 4 second half goals from probably 10 plus major chances…. it was incredible stuff.

On Saturday it was 5 goals in 20 first half-minutes after we’d been pegged back, including Jason Turner completing his second hat-trick of the week. Tom Lorraine’s header was as good as anything we’ve seen from a superb Elliot Lamb-Johnson cross, one of many as he put real end product to his promising play. Second-half was reserved for brilliant strikes at goal. Adam Confue’s man of the match clinching half-volley would have been best goal in many matches, but Liam Dolman’s screamer 11 minutes from time was something special, as was his walking finger pointed to the sky celebration.

One of the reasons we’ve not updated the site lately is that I’m now doing the official match reports for the main website as well as my Radio Diamonds programme article. Add in my research for my opposition review and UCL round-up for Radio Diamonds and I’m making good use of my new tablet and keyboard.

I did match report for both of last weeks games, and am on duty again on Saturday. So that’s an hour after the game for the single paragraph summary, and then a couple of hours Sunday morning getting the full report and all the detail down.

With Oadby coming into the game with a worse record than Sileby you wonder what score we’ll see, but surely with the edge between the clubs from our first season they won’t want to go the same way as this weeks opposition. Given my other match reports were for the 5-4 U21 James Victory Cup win, and the 5-1 FA Cup win against Oxhey Jets maybe I’m a good goal omen!!

If you look at % record or points dropped rather than straight league position – we’re 6th with games in hand in the real league – we fair even better. We’re one of just two teams to have dropped just three points. The other being Holbeach with 8 wins from 9 only having lost the once to the only 100% side Huntingdon. Cogenhoe were on a similar only one defeat record until losing to Huntingdon on Saturday. Our only defeat was to Yaxley of course and they come next having lost just once and drawn once, but having played 10 games and won 8 they sit top of the real table. So we are genuinely right in with the leading teams.

So are we about where we expected at this stage? Probably… we’ve won a number of games by the odd goal, we’ve now started racking up the goals, and we’ve shown real character when really challenged at Peterborough Northern Star, Harrowby where won game late on, and Yaxley where we so nearly came back from 2-0 down.

The all home October games will tell us a lot about where we are, especially if we can drop as few points as possible before that first contest with Holbeach at the end of the month.

So enjoy the game, and if you can’t get down the Dog & Duck tune in to Radio Diamonds for all then action….. and enjoy the match report on Sunday too!!

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Presenter

 

Into the unknown!!

Diamonds head to The (New) Eyrie ground in Bedford tonight to take on Bedford Town in the FA Cup Preliminary Round ….the sequel. Film sequels rarely live up to the first film, but I can’t help thinking that won’t be the case with this re-match, our first ever away cup replay.

I’d really expect Diamonds to be better than they were on Saturday and with a good away following against a side who are really struggling at home this season, I fancy a “cup upset”…

Arron Parkinson looks like he will miss the game after his horrible finger injury so would we expect to see the Sam Brown back at full-back and Jack Ashton in at centre-half?…. assuming his suspension for the sending off at Peterborough Northern Star doesn’t kick-in yet.

If Adam Confue has recovered from illness we may see him returning in midfield. Andy Peaks will have the classic selection dilemma after a cup draw….change it up to exploit the opposition you now know a little better, or stick with the players who now know their opponents weaknesses from a game against them.

Bedford performed ahead of expectations according to some Bedford fans you couldn’t fail to overhear in the Peter Ebdon stand on Saturday as they kept up a decent away record this season. Home form is poor though for the just relegated side, picking up just one point from 3 games.

The fans were most concerned about a weakness in defence and to be honest Diamonds didn’t really exploit that on Saturday. Neither side created much from open play, most danger coming from set pieces and for diamonds long-throws, maybe the breezy conditions had a say in that.

It could potentially still be in the region of 20 degrees at kick-off tonight and pretty still so no excuse from either side for anything other than a competitive, attractive, attacking game….and goals!!

Radio Diamonds and the whole media team will be at The (New) Eyrie to bring you match coverage, filmed highlights, live twitter updates, match report and photos. We don’t get press passes even at this higher level ground so as with all the volunteers at Diamonds we’ll be paying our way. And at £9 plus £1 parking (a sign of things to come if we progress up a level or two) ….we’re expecting good facilities and a cracking atmosphere.

Not sure how we will fare on the cake front after we were roundly spoiled by our good friend chef Chris Gregory on Saturday. The best chocolate brownies I have ever tasted…we definitely need to sign him up!!

So come and say hello if you’re at Bedford tonight, if not tune-in for all the action, which could be extra-time and penalties don’t forget…

Come on you Diamonds!!

Paul Judd Radio Diamonds Presenter

Up For The Cup!!

That’s one for our older listeners, straight out of Roy of the Rovers and sits alongside “Play up Pompey” and “kay sera sera, whatever will be will be…we’re going to wemberleee”….

There is something undeniably special about the FA Cup isn’t there, an almost 1950s like nostalgia. The anticipation, the build-up, the history and the fact that your team is in the same competition as everyone else in the country. And always has the chance to win a game even against a bigger side and get to the next round. Makes you want to get your rattle out!!

For ourselves and Bedford Wembley and winning the FA Cup is just a bit unlikely of course….but we’re both part of it and with a local dimension, particularly for some of our fans from the Bedford area, it should be cracking afternoon.

For Diamonds it’s our 7th round of FA Cup action over just two seasons and so far we’ve only been beaten the once of course, but have a 100% record at home. Bedford Town are the 4th side from a higher level we’ve played after Northwood who we beat away last year in arguably our best FA Cup result, Cambridge City who we beat 3-2 here at the Dog & Dog in probably our most exciting FA Cup tie, and Dover Athletic who beat us 3-1 on the south coast in our most disappointing result. It’s interesting to note though that Dover went on to achieve promotion last season and are now a Conference Premier side.

Bedford Town’s history goes back to 1908 although they were sadly wound-up in 1982 but reformed in 1989. Their first incarnation had a fantastic FA Cup pedigree as Southern League giant killers with wins in the 1950s against Watford, Norwich and Newcastle, and a memorable 2-2 draw at Highbury against Arsenal. They led the replay until 4 minutes from time and were only beaten in extra time.

Diamonds come into the game in good form having only had three games this season but having been mighty impressive in all three, maybe bar the second half at Harborough. They won that game 2-1 and then beat an initially good looking Oxhey side 5-1 in the Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup. Last week they came through a real test with the sending off of Jack Ashton not long after Peterborough Northern Star had equalised, but were positive, strong, superb defensively and quick on the attack to run out comfortable 4-1 winners.

Bedford have had a mixed start to their season but have played 6 league games. They’ve only picked up one point at home from three games scoring just twice, but they’ve won 2 from 3 games on their travels scoring 11 times. Away day specialists maybe?

The two sides have met twice in pre-season action with Diamonds winning both games 2-1 including this seasons game at Bedford back in July when Elliot Lamb-Johnson got his debut Diamonds goal with Russ Dunkley adding the other. It has all the makings of a closely fought FA Cup tie.

Radio Diamonds will be on air to bring you live action, and the media team will be filming the game for the highlights package and issuing regular twitter updates which are a great way of finding out what’s going in if you’re out and about. I’m on match report duty as well and will try and get my report up on the website as soon as I can.

So enjoy the match however you engage with it and let’s all be “Up for the Cup”!!

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Presenter

Peterborough Northern Star away – back in UCL Prem action

Diamonds play only their 2nd league game of the season tomorrow with the trip to the outskirts of Peterborough to take on Peterborough Northern Star. Radio Diamonds will be in full voice with myself and Douglas on the microphone and Adam hovering in the background while he takes notes for his official match report.

I’ll also be doing updates for BBC Radio Northampton…great news that they intend to give us more coverage this season. It will be a pre match preview and half time and full time reports. They intend to be cover us on a rota with Kettering and Corby, alongside weekly coverage of Brackley, so listen out for my dulcet towns as you travel to or from the ground on Saturday. We may also be doing score updates for Radio Northants a community internet based radio station based in Rushden…more on that once we’ve got things organised.

Peterborough Northern Star are early contenders for Diamonds bogey side alongside Huntingdon. They inflicted our first ever home league defeat at the start of October last season…a 3 2 reverse at the Dog & Duck….and then scored a late equalizer in the game at Peterborough 3 weeks later. It was a game we had under a degree of control in squally conditions but conceded a bit out of the blue and couldn’t force a winner.

They have started the season well bouncing back from an unfortunate first day thumping by early UCL pacesetters Holbeach. They lead in that game until having a man sent off 21 minutes, and had a second player dismissed on the hour before Holbeach ran out 6-1 winners. They have won three times since, winning 2-1 at Newport Pagnell Town, coming from 3-2 down to win 5-3 against challengers Boston, and winning comfortably 3-0 in the FA Cup against Team Bury.

They have strengthened in the close season and talk of really improving their league positions and stand 5th in the table at the moment. They are one of two side with 2 wins from 3 – the other being our friends Deeping. Above them are Cogenhoe with 2 wins from 2, and Yaxley and Holbeach with 3 wins from 3. It’s early days but Holbeach look to be living up to favourite status, can’t wait to see them at the Dog & Duck.

Diamonds of course had a fantastic first week with wins at Harborough, and then what I thought was one of our best Dog & Duck performances in that 5-1 FA Cup win against what looked like a decent step 5 team Oxhey Jets. Fazel Koriya has notched 4 goals already, Jason Turner is off the mark, and Russ Dunkley is looking as fit and sharp as at any of his time with us. Elliott Lamb-Johnson is so confident and attacks so aggressively and skillfully, Matt Gearing is looking incisive and sharp…all good signs for our attacking options this season.

It should be a cracking game tomorrow, a really competitive encounter between two confident sides and famous last words but I’d expect goals tomorrow. It will be a real test of our credentials as title challengers this season and potentially one of our toughest away trips.

If you’re not making the trip over the border into Cambridgeshire then Join us from 2.45 on Radio Diamonds, and listen out for the preview, half-time and full-time reports on Radio Northampton…probably 5.30 ish. The season is really getting under the way!!

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Presenter