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

Friday Night Special

What a fantastic Friday night that was!! A great performance, one of the best at the Dog and Duck I think, 6 goals, great Friday night atmosphere, and our 100% home record in the FA Cup goes on.

It was a competitive start between two good looking sides that clearly liked to play the ball quickly and positively and it’s credit to diamonds that they gradually imposed themselves on a decent looking side and took a good percentage of the chances that were created.

Fazel Koriya was lively and skilful all night and deserved his hat-trick, I so wish it had come with that fantastic run and curling drive in the first half, but it came in front of a delighted Peter De Banke with a second half tap-in. I was pleased for Jason Turner too getting that late goal and taking it so well. He has worked hard in every game I’ve seen him and not had lots of chances, but he pounced on that one and slotted it home really well.

So the FA Cup run starts again and we take on Bedford Town on Saturday 30th at the Dog and Duck. The Huntingdon game will have to be re-arranged, but that’s a small price to pay for more cup excitement.

The UCL teams as a whole didn’t fair too well so we’ll be one of a small number that carry the flag into the Preliminary Round. We picked up one accolade already, our attendance of 495 was the highest in that round.

The substitutes including Jason Turner and Adam Confue all played well and with Sam Brown getting closer to full fitness manager Andy Peaks has real options in his squad. He rightly flagged up the quality he has in all 18/19 players at his disposal in his post-match interview – see the highlights and the return of Pete Kelly – and they seem a happy balanced bunch this year who will hopefully stay with the club and look to play a part in a successful season.

We return to league action on Saturday at Peterborough Northern Star who took 4 points off us last season, and are fancying they are an improved squad this year and have started with plenty of goals. It will be a real test of this squad and should be cracking game.

Don’t forget the U18 Academy team have a game at the Dog & Duck on Wednesday, a first chance to see how they are shaping up, and what will be rare appearance at the Dog & Duck this season so I encourage you to go along. The U21 side also have a game on Thursday at North Kilworth on Thursday against Wellingborough Town. Maybe a long trip but if the game against Buckingham is anything to go by they should be worth the trip.

We’ll be at PNS on Saturday for another away day special so tune in to catch all the action if you can’t make the game, and look out for a preview on Friday of the game and the UCL weekend action.

Regular listeners will be pleased to know we have cake lined up for the Bedford game already courtesy of follower, turn style expert and chef Chris Gregory but any further offerings would be greatly appreciated…especially by Adam!!

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Presenter

Predicting Peaks’ XI

With our opening game of the season just days away, a few members of the Radio Diamonds team had a go at predicting the side that Peaksy will name on Tuesday away to Harborough Town.
Assuming everyone is available and fit, and going with a 4-4-2 formation, here are their predictions;

Henderson, Dolman, Ashton, Brown.
Gearing, Confue, Bunting, Ling.
Dunkley, Turner.

I think Peaksy will start with Ling because he has looked strong in pre-season on the wing. Also Turner will start up top with Dunks because he’s a proven goal scorer at this level, which obviously is vital.

Merrill, Dolman, Parkinson, Brown.
Gearing, Confue, McBride, Lamb-Johnson.
Dunkley, Koriya.

I think Merrill and Brown have very rarely disappointed and on previous seasons deserve to keep their place. Dolman is outstanding but have chosen Parky to play alongside him for his experience. Gearing and ELJ carry a good threat on the wings and as for Confue, like Dolman, he is class. Have gone for McBride alongside him as I feel we will need his energy. I think Koriya will start with Dunks because of his ability to scare opponents. The subs bench will be very strong in all positions.

Henderson, Dolman, Ashton, Brown.
Gearing, Bunting, Confue, Ling.
Dunkley, Koriya.

Dolman and Ashton at the back because they have a sound understanding and both read the game so well. Ling instead of ELJ because I think Peaksy will want a balance with a left and a right footer on the wings. Gearing ahead of ELJ because of his set piece capabilities. ELJ will cause all sorts of problems to tiring defences in last half an hour. Koriya instead of Turner because Koriya can use his pace off of Dunks’ flicks. Has also shown promise when playing up front.

Henderson, Dolman, Ashton, Brown.
Gearing, Harris, Bunting, Lamb-Johnson.
Dunkley, Koriya.

Merrill, Harris, Ashton, Brown.
Gearing, Bunting, McBride, Lamb-Johnson.
Dunkley, Koriya.

So even the RD team have had a few selection headaches!! Who will partner Dolman at the back? Will Dolman even start? Who will occupy the flanks? Who’s the midfield duo? And who will partner Dunks at front? Then there’s the small problem of what if players aren’t fit … perhaps that may ease Peaksy’s headache.

If you’d like to have a go at naming Peaksy’s first XI comment below!

Don’t forget we will be broadcasting Tuesday night on this site, click on the listen tab. Let’s cheer the boys on for a good start of the season.

Managing expectations

It’s going to be a big year for the Diamonds, we all know that, but after 3 seasons of great success what do we expect this season?

Our first season as a club was superb, with the U18 success in the cup vital for maintaining growth for the club, was the 2011/12 season a success? Massively so.

The 2012/13 season in all honesty blew my expectations out of the water. For our first season with a senior first team, to get promoted was a massive bonus and showed good ambition from the management to go for promotion, at a time I expected us to be building for the future.

So how do you follow a promotion season? Well 2013/14 served as a great stepping stone onto better things, and I know some of us wanted back to back promotions but really was it going to happen? Not at step 5 unless you have your own ground and a sugar daddy, neither of which we have last time I checked. A great FA Cup run and an average FA Vase run culminating in a 3rd place finish meant it was another very good season.

Now onto 2014/15. We’ve really been spoilt with success recently, but the management know our expectations. Personally I’d take Wembley over promotion, but thats just me.

One thing we do know is that we’ll be watching some great football along the way.


Radio Diamonds return to kick off the season with LIVE coverage of Harborough Town vs AFC Rushden and Diamonds on Tuesday 12th August. Join us live,



Pre-season finishes in style

So the pre-season campaign is over and it’s next stop Sleaford. At home fortunately on Saturday at the Dog Duck as we get the UCL Prem season underway with opponents we had tough games with last season.

Are we prepared and ready? Is our squad as good as or better than last year? What will the starting line-up be on Saturday? From what we’ve seen in pre-season I’d say the answers are…yes…probably but early to tell…and really not sure but plenty of options.

We rounded the first team campaign off with an emphatic looking 5-2 win against Southern League opponents Rugby Town on Saturday. It was an unusual game in that Diamonds led 4-0 at half-time with some excellent finishing and great open up the defence attacking play, but on general play and pressure the two teams built it was a pretty even contest.

Rugby started well and got into a strong attacking rhythm, particularly down the right, and I was thinking at that stage you could see a difference in quality of the two sides. But their attacks didn’t produce too many real chances, and Diamonds defended the box well with Brad Harris, Aaron Parkinson, Joe Henderson and Sam Brown working really hard.

Diamonds did retain the ball better as the half wore-on and were getting in behind the Rugby defence through Elliot Lamb-Johnson, Fazel Koriya and Greg Ling who had one of his better games for Diamonds.

We then had a flood of goals in the final 20 minutes of the half where we seemed to cut open a flatfooted Rugby defence at will.

First a free kick found Dunkley alone on 6 yard line, his stooping header was blocked by the keeper but Henderson had followed up and tucked away the rebound without a Rugby defender in sight.

Next Fazel Koriya was found in space on the edge of the box, he jinked past a couple of defenders along the 18 yard line and curled a superb shot past the keeper into the far corner.

The third was similar to the first with a Greg Ling free-kick finding Dunkley in acres of space behind the Rugby defence again. But this time he didn’t quite make contact although the keeper clearly expected him to and we saw Lings kick untouched nestle in the far corner. Some initial uncertainty, but it soon became clear that yes….Greg Ling had scored.

And just to prove it was no fluke, Ling made an excellent run behind the Rugby back four and Lamb-Johnson found him superbly with a cut-back ball, and Ling coolly slotted past the advancing keeper from 15 yards.

Rugby were brighter and more energised at the start of the second half and pulled one back with a fantastic sweeping move, started with a ball in behind McBride who had moved to right back, and excellent first time cross behind the Diamonds centre half’s and a superb first time finish. It was a goal worthy of much higher level football and showed what Rugby are capable of.

The game settled into a period of good possession by both sides between the penalty areas but not much created inside them. We did get further goals though, with Fazel Koriya stooping to head home from 4 yards after Lamb-Johnson had seized on a deflected clearance, and a final goal for Rugby with another good finish from an excellent left wing cross. It was a decent game with good entertainment in parts and some decent finishing from both sides.

So 5-2 to Diamonds and re-assuring to see chances taken and goals scored. It is one area of the team that maybe hasn’t fully fired in pre-season. All the strikers have bagged goals, and got valuable game time together, and we’ve operated a variety of wide players and central midfield combinations, but there is a sense we need to step up the chance conversion. We look capable of creating chances from all over the pitch, and defensively sound whichever combination we’ve played, but the test as ever will be can we convert those chance in the close games and the pressure situations that turn good team into champions.

The new players have all played some part in all the games but I’m not sure we’ve seen the starting line-up emerge yet due in part to injuries and availability.

Will Turner or Koriya partner Dunkley up front or will Tom Lorraine get a chance?

Will Lamb-Johnson start as one of the wide players or will it be Gearing, Ling or Koriya?

Will Henderson start at full-back or will it be Merrill and Brown or even McBride or Rashid Koriya?

Who will play centre-half from Hewitt and Parkinson or Dolman if he is fit or Ashton if he is available, then there is Clarke when he is fit or even Brad Harris who has played well in there when asked?

Who will partner Bunting in centre-midfield…Harris…Confue….McBride?

It’ll be fascinating to see the first team sheet when we get it in the Radio Diamonds commentary box on Saturday. We’re really looking forward to bringing you all the action as the season gets underway and have more of the regular faces returning to bolster the commentary team.

So tune in on Saturday and let’s see if we can we go one better than last year and claim that elusive promotion place.

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Presenter

Hinckley AFC in the Supporters Direct Shield tonight

Tonight Diamonds play Hinckley AFC in the Supporters Direct Shield at the Dog & Duck and Radio Diamonds continues its pre-season build-up by bringing you live second half coverage.

We’re aiming to cover the full game on Saturday against Rugby when we have a full commentary team, but tonight it’s just myself bringing you the latter stages of this invitation final for newly formed fan owned clubs.

We were invited to play in the competition last year and were beaten by 1874 Northwich up in Widnes in what were the early stages of pre-season. Tonight’ game comes much closer to the season start on 9th August, and both Diamonds and opponents Hinckley AFC have had enough games to feel they can go into tonight’s game with full strength well prepared sides.

For Hinckley it’s their very first pre-season of course and they’ve had a mixed bag of results as you’d expect as they try to mould a team and find their level – they have an 11-1 win and a 5-0 defeat amongst results along with a couple of 3-3 draws. They’ve drawn good crowds though and by all accounts when they have a full strength side out they are pretty impressive and hopefully that will be the case tonight. They took on local Conference rivals Tamworth and played well in a 2-0 defeat, so Diamonds can expect a decent game and hopefully some travelling fans to make this a good occasion.

I’d expect to see a range of players from the squad tonight but a strong starting 11 and a real attempt to win that first piece of senior silverware. So far the new players have made a good impression (see my review after the Wulfrunians game below) and together with the players returning from last season make up a good squad with good cover in pretty much every position.

How prepared they really are for a UCL Premiership, FA Vase and FA Cup campaign we can’t be sure of course until it gets started in 10 days time, but the competitive element to tonight’s game should give us a good idea.

So join us from about 8.45 tonight for the latter stages of this potentially exciting night.

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Presenter