Toffee Apple Cracker!!

Diamonds have a cracking looking game against unbeaten table topping Moneyfields at Hayden Road on Saturday….and Toffee Apples are on offer for kids…. what’s not to love!!

(Update – The departure of Nabil Shariff obviously is what’s not to love. Announced after I published this preview. A massive blow for Diamonds to try and replicate the goals, the style of play and the commitment of Nabs but a brilliant opportunity for him that he richly deserves. Radio Diamonds wishes him all the best at Alfreton and look forward to seeing how Diamonds adapt with the great forward players they still have at the club)

Our Portsmouth based opponents are an exciting side who gained promotion from the Wessex league last season and have re-enforced their place amongst the pre-season title favourites winning 9 of their 12 games and remaining unbeaten into November. They are the 2nd highest goal scorers (to Ashton Town who Diamonds also play this month) and have conceded the 2nd lowest number of goals – Diamonds have conceded fewest!!

Moneyfields will have faced their longest away trip of the year coming up from Portsmouth on Saturday so we hope they enjoy their day. They have managed an impressive 6 wins out of 6 down in Hampshire but 3 draws on the road show they can be competed with on their travels. They have conceded 2 on their travels twice but back to back away clean sheets and 7 goals in their last 2 home games show they are a form side worthy of top of the table.

Radio Diamonds will be covering the game of course and the twitter feed will be going 10 to the dozen if you can’t make the game but the best place to be by far will be down at Hayden Road enjoying the action live.

Kids get a free Toffee Apple on Saturday to get the bonfire night celebrations started early and there are some great new products in the club shop to look at including new style Hoodies and Sweatshirts that I already have my eye on.
The Burger Monster will be rocking his fabulous menu, Dales’ Bar will be dispensing Harts Brewery real ale and there will be great music playing as the excitement of the big game builds. Where else would you want to be on a November afternoon?

For Diamonds it’s a return to action after an 11 day break since that impressive 5-0 victory against Barton Rovers. That win was a return to form overall after the narrow defeat at Hayes & Yeading and at home after no wins in the previous 3 at Hayden Road. It also saw Nabil Shariff return to the league goal scoring column with his first since August (update – and his last for the club of course) and Ben Farrell continuing his goal scoring purple patch with 2 to add to the 2 scored at Marlow the previous Tuesday.

Diamonds sit in 5th place in the league with 22 points and are amongst a group of 9 teams with between 20 and 23 points. Moneyfields are top with 30 so the other 8 teams will all be rooting for Diamonds to help close that gap on Saturday.

Today’s game will almost certainly be the highest crowd Moneyfields have played in front of this season as home attendances are in the 100 to 150 range in the league, they saw 185 in the FA Trophy and played in front of 199 in the Southern League Cup at local Portsmouth area rivals Gosport.

There is every chance of Diamonds drawing over 500 for the third time in the league this season on Saturday especially with Toffee Apples on offer. With 5 league games and two home cup-ties this month and 5 league games to play in December we are entering a busy period and one that will go a long way to deciding whereabouts in the table sides are likely to finish this season.

The fans will be vitally important on Saturday to create that brilliant big game Hayden Road atmosphere. Top of the table unbeaten Moneyfields and a toffee apple are surely the best incentive to get down Hayden road. It should be a cracker.

Enjoy the game.

Paul Judd
Radio Diamonds

Diamonds 5 Barton Rovers 0 – A Good Night at Hayden Road

Diamonds are back up to 5th in the table after the impressive midweek win against Barton Rovers.

Here is the quick match summary which goes up on the website briefly in advance of Adam’s full report. I didn’t want to lose it completely or leave it added to Adam’s report so decided to post it up here.

Diamonds returned to winning ways at Hayden Road on Tuesday night with a thumping 5-0 win against Barton Rovers.

The game was effectively won in the first 24 minutes as Diamonds flew into a 3-0 lead. Scintillating play set up the opening goal for Ben Farrell after a corner was earned at the end of a flowing move. Nabil Shariff’s header was only cleared as far as Ben Farrell 20 yards out to strike a superb half volley drive into the left hand corner.

It was 2 on 23 minutes after another great move was stopped just outside the box with Diamonds awarded a free-kick. Ben Ford layed the ball off to Liam Dolman to strike a fierce rising curving shot into the left hand corner that away keeper Harpur could only half parry into the roof of the net. Just a minute later it was 3 as Diamonds were overrunning their opponents, Tom Lorraine flew into space down the right channel and squared cleverly for Ben Farrell to sweep the ball home from around the penalty spot for his 4th goal in a week. Barton tried to press forward and were denied a couple of good openings by tremendous last ditch tackles by Cameron Gilchrist and Blaize Punter, and two more by a late offside flags.

In the first 15 minutes of the second half Diamonds struck each part of the woodwork as they looked to build on their lead. First Tom Lorraine connected with Joel Gyasi’s right wing cross along the 6 yard box only to see it crash back off the bar. Next the impressive Ben Ford controlled a ball into him 10 yards out and turned and volleyed off the left-hand post, and then Joel Gyasi collected a brilliant cross field ball cut inside and struck a left foot shot off the base of the right-hand post.

The 4th finally came on 77 minutes and was a massive relief for hard working Nabil Shariff. He’s been denied so many times in recent games by last ditch challenges and blocks but finally got that first league goal since August. He rose highest to turn home a Ben Ford right wing corner from 6 yards.

New signing John Dean was introduced for his debut on 80 minutes and made an immediate impact. Running at Barton down the left channel straight away he threatened a breakaway goal before he induced an own goal on 82 minutes. His ran at the full-back, cut inside and whipped a ball along the 6 yard line aiming for Tom Lorraine only to see a despairing Keating smash it in his own net off the bar for Diamonds 5th.

This was the sort of commanding goal laden performance Diamonds have been threatening and was fully enjoyed by the 355 home crowd.

Diamonds move up to 5th in the table again and now have a 10 day break before facing early pacesetters Moneyfields at Hayden Road on 2nd November.

Man of the Match: Ben Farrell
Attendance: 355
Match Summary by: Paul Judd

Away day special!!

Diamonds will be looking for back to back away wins on Saturday as they make the long trip to Hayes & Yeading United on Saturday buoyed by a fabulous 4-2 midweek win at Marlow FC. That win kept the unbeaten away record going after 5 trips and took them back into the top 5 in the league.

The performance will also be particularly encouraging after two goalless home draws, with 4 chances taken on the night from many more that were created. Diamonds had to defend strongly for periods of the game too against a good attacking side and they had to bounce back after conceding the first goal.

Manager Andy Peaks will have some interesting selection decisions with Darryl Smith looking sharp and predatory linking well with Nabil Shariff in the later stages on Tuesday night. His two goals take him level with Nabil as joint top league scorer with 6 although Nabil has added 7 cup goals to his tally. He hasn’t scored in the league since August though despite coming so close on Tuesday – I fancy another Nabil Shariff awayday brace on Saturday!!

Blaize Punter had a strong game and may have cemented his place at centre-half alongside Liam Dolman allowing Sam Brown to perform so well again at full-back where he is so important to Diamonds. Richard Bunting seemed back to form too and will look to hang on to that centre midfield with man of the match Ben Farrell with Joe Curtis snapping at his heels.

We’re 10 games into the season now which is often when people say true form can start to be determined. Diamonds have won 5 drawn 4 and lost just the once amassing 19 points…just 1 point shy of that magical 2 points a game. It’s usually enough to get you in the top 2 or at least fighting for it in the latter stages of the season and if maintained would be the highest points total at step 4 for Diamonds.

The away form is excellent and home form is not that bad but is certainly where it feels points have been dropped. The two goaless draws the culprits but two decent wins mean 8 points from 5 games.

Hayes & Yeading are in a bit of a state of flux after a promising run of 3 wins in 4 built on good home form floundered on a run of no win in three. That includes back to back away defeats including a 4-0 loss at in-form Ashford last time out. They are unbeaten at home though with wins against Thame and Fleet and an impressive 2-2 draw with Moneyfields.

It is going to be another tough game with the home side keen to get behind an under pressure manager on what will probably be a very windy day. Diamonds will travel in confidence though and if the intensity and good touch they showed on Monday can be found again they might just push over the 2 points a game mark.

Radio Diamonds will be hanging onto their hats – well Doug will – and with lots of windy noise effects on the microphone Chris and Doug will do their best to bring you all the action.

Tune-in if you’re not travelling and enjoy the game.

Paul Judd
Radio Diamonds

Egham – The Sequel!!

We’ve got an enticing prospect at Hayden Road on Saturday as Diamonds return to league action against a side seeking the play-offs for the third year in a row and a team you could call our Southern League bogey side in Egham Town.

The Surrey outfit won both games when the two sides were vying for play-off positions 2 years ago including a painful pre-christmas 1-0 defeat at the Dog & Duck. The return fixture had to wait until the penultimate game of the season, and although Diamonds were beaten 2-0 on the night their play-off spot for the season was confirmed with St. Ives victory at Aylesbury.

Egham finished a strong 3rd place that season but suffered the ultimate heartache of a home defeat to St. Ives in a penalty shoot-out. Diamonds suffered their own heartache against St. Ives in the final of course with that late late equaliser and extra-time agony.

Both sides finished 5th in their respective leagues last season, the second season running for Diamonds. And both bowed out to a very strong 2nd place side that went on to be promoted. Egham were beaten 4-0 at Farnborough, Diamonds 2-0 by Witton Albion.

Diamonds come into the game off the back of winning 2 out of 3 home cup-ties in an extended break from league action. Disappointing defeat to Kidsgove last Saturday in the FA Trophy was sandwiched between good victories against St. Neots Town in the Southern League Cup and Wellingborough Whitworths in the Hillier Cup.

So where does that leave Diamonds form. Well 3 wins in 5 in all competitions with only 1 defeat sounds pretty good. Just the one 1 win in the last 5 league games doesn’t sound quite so good although that did come off the back of three opening wins to the season.

This team clearly have some top quality players for this league and are capable of blowing sides away as they did with Dunstable and Fleet. When they don’t get the early goal they can find it difficult to maintain their form particularly against sides that sit back and hit them on the break.

Egham you suspect will come and take on Diamonds on Saturday buoyed by that 100% record against them and a 7-1 win in the FA Trophy last time out. That Trophy win came after a 2 game losing streak in the league, which itself followed a 5 game winning run. Which Egham will we see on Saturday?

So both sides have real potential this season, both sides try and play attractive football but both have their vulnerabilities. Add to that the previous there is between the sides and you have everything you need for a Hayden Road classic.

Radio Diamonds will be there with our newly restored laptop, we’ll be twittering and match reporting. There will be snapchat and facebook and the AFCRDTV highlights to look forward too.

However you engage with us…..enjoy the game.

Paul Judd
Radio Diamonds

On the Road again

It’s FA Cup time again for Diamonds this weekend with a very tough looking away trip to Step 2 side Alfreton Town. It’s the 5th away tie on the trot for unlucky Andy Peaks side and the 14th in the 20 rounds of competion Diamonds will have played in.

It’s the third away tie of this seasons campaign following a 4-0 win at Wellingborough Town and that dramatic 3-2 win at Tividale last time out. Diamonds looking to progress to the 3rd Qualifying Round for the 4th time in 5 seasons but it will be tough at higher ranked opposition in Alfreton.

FA Cup Ties 13/14 14/15 15/16 16/17 17/18 Total
Home 1 2 1 2 0 6
Away 4 1 4 2 3 14
Total 5 3 5 4 3 20

 

It’s been a fantastic ride in the FA Cup though with some hard fought away draws and wins, thumping home performances and exciting contests. Cambridge City at home (3-2) Concord Rangers away (3-1) Ashton United home (2-0) and Barwell away (2-2) are probably the highlights especially as they were against higher ranked opposition. The big home wins against Oxhey Jets (5-1) London Colney in a replay (6-1) and Cockfosters in another replay (8-0) were all great nights at the Dog & Duck and the away replay win at Bedford (3-0) possibly one of Diamonds best performances.

Diamonds have won 15 rounds of competition scoring 48 goals and conceding 26. It means you are pretty much guaranteed goals with Diamonds in the FA Cup and I fancy that will continue on Saturday.

Nabil Shariff has scored in both rounds this season including a hat-trick at Tividale in the last round and now sits alongside Alfie Taylor as the clubs leading FA Cup goalscorer with 8. Alfie hit his 8 in one season scoring in every round in 2013 including a brace to win the famous Cambridge City tie and the only Diamonds goal in the away defeat at Dover. Russ Dunkley scored 7 in that first season too including 5 all headers to achieve FA Cup performance of the round in that replay win against Cockfosters.

FA Cup Goals 13/14 14/15 15/16 16/17 17/18 Total
For 23 9 10 9 7 48
Against 10 3 4 7 2 26
FA Cup Goalscorers Nabil Shariff – 8 (two hat-tricks)

Alfie Taylor – 8

Russ Dunkley – 7 (one 5 for!!)

Tom Lorraine – 5

Matt Gearing – 5

Fazel Koriya – 4 (one hat-trick)

Liam Dolman – 3

Dan Quigley – 3

 

 

 

Tom Lorraine has scored in 4 consecutive seasons in the FA Cup thanks to his brace at Wellingborough Town in this year’s first round and is matched by Matty Gearing who also notched 5 FA Cup goals in total with his 5 coming over the first two seasons in the competition.

Liam Dolman has scored in each of the last two seasons but not yet this season so what price on him popping up with a last minute equaliser a la Barwell to give Diamonds a first big night at Hayden Road under the lights.

That would be a fantastic proposition as Diamonds look to recover from the disappointment of a first defeat of the season at home to Beaconsfield Town last Saturday. I’m convinced it was just a bad day at the office with mistakes by usually reliable players littering the performance particularly in that second half.

They don’t become bad players overnight and having got that poor performance out of the way I’m sure we’ll see a revitalised confident front foot performance against Alfreton on Saturday. Diamonds will be backed by a tremendous away following as ever roaring them on and Radio Diamonds will be bringing all the noise and the action to the wider Diamonds family in what I’m sure will be another magical FA Cup away day.

Enjoy the game.

Paul Judd

Back to home…

It’s back to Hayden Road and back to league action for Diamonds on Saturday after the excitement of the FA Cup last weekend.

The trip to Tividale had everything you expect of the FA Cup, goal mouth action, last ditch blocks and saves in the sunshine, post and bar rattled, chances at both ends, the underdogs home side leading twice, Diamonds fighting back twice through the inform Nabil Shariff including one world class finish, and the striker clinching his hat-trick for a double come from behind win.

The second qualifying round draw could have been kinder with Diamonds drawn away to National League North mid-table side Alfreton Town next weekend  on the 16th. Alfreton have played at “Conference” level and are a solid Step 2 outfit playing in front of 3 to 400 just north of Derby so should be up for a good crowd and exciting tie – can we hope for another Barwell or even Concord Rangers away?

Diamonds have made a great start to life at Hayden Road with two wins and 9 goals in the 2-0 opening day win against Hanwell and the 7-1 thumping of Fleet Town. Nabil Shariff has 4 of those goals and has 10 in 6 games now only failing to score at Kempston. I’m sure the form of Joel Gyasi, Luke Fairlamb, Darryl Smith and Claudiu Hoban in those ever important wide positions have made a massive difference. Not to mention the form of Chris Dillon up front alongside him who will wonder how he didn’t score last week and Tom Lorraine before his injury.

Diamonds Goalscorers after 6 Games

 

League (4) FA Cup (2) Total (6)
Home (2) Away (2) Home (0) Away (2)
Nabil Shariff 4 2 4 10
Darryl Smith 3 3
Tom Lorraine 2 2
Liam Dolman 1 1 2
Sam Brown 1 1
Claudiu Hoban 1 1
Joel Gyasi 1 1
Total 9 4   7 20

 

 

League Home Away Total Home Att. Away Att.
Hanwell Town 2-0 610
Thame United 3-0 227
Fleet Town 7-1 540
Kempston 1-1 482
Total 9-1 4-1 13-2 Av. 575 Av. 354
FA Cup
Wellingborough Town 4-0 513
Tividale 3-2 325
Total 7-2 7-2   Av. 419
     
Total 9-1 11-3 20-4 Av. 575 Av. 387

 

Today’s visitors Beaconsfield will undoubtedly be the toughest of the sides played at home so far sitting on a record of 2 wins and 2 defeats so far this season. The wins have come on the road impressively at Aylesbury United and Cambridge City, with close defeats to high-flying Hartley Wintney and always strong Chalfont St. Peter. They got past Chalfont St. Peter in the FA Cup after a replay but went out to Marlow 2-0 at home.

The side haves met before of course when Diamonds were last in the Southern League’s 2 years ago  and Diamonds have never beaten the Buckinghamshire outfit. The sides played out a home 1-1 draw which was such a familiar result in that phase of our first Step 4 season although it was followed by a 7-1 home win just 3 days later. Beaconsfield thumped Diamonds 4-0 in the return match on a day I shudder to remember commentating on. It came in a run of great form but was as bad an away performance as a Diamonds side has ever given and Manager Andy Peaks will be keen to set the record straight on Saturday.

It’s very early days in the league of course but the pre-season fancied sides are all up in the top reaches of the table with Moneyfields matching Diamonds 10 points from 4 games along with AFC Dunstable who have played a game more, and Hartley Wintney, Marlow, Egham and Uxbridge sit on 9 points with Kempston, Barton Rovers, Ashton Town, Northwood and Chalfont St. Peter just a couple of points further back.

It should be a cracking game and the Burger Monster has pies on his menu. What more could you ask for. See you down at Hayden Road!!

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds

Half way there…

Half Season League Review –

21 games played, 39 points in the bag, 5th in the league with games in hand and unbeaten in 19 games…you’d definitely have settled for that back in August.

A repeat of that level of performance in the second half of the season would put Diamonds into definite play-off contention in what is arguably a slightly harder league than the Southern League of last season.

The uneven nature of the home and away form and the number of games drawn in that long unbeaten run particularly at home tend to make Diamonds fans underplay what is overall a pretty impressive record. But you have to be impressed with a side that hasn’t been beaten in the league in nearly 5 months.

Think about it…5 months….19 games and not one side has been able to beat AFC Rushden & Diamonds. A few have come close – Spalding lead against 10 men into the 78th minute (but were beaten 2-1!!), Shaw Lane took a 79th minute lead before being pegged back on 84, and Gresley took a 94th minute lead before Ross Oulton saved the day on 96.

So here are some stats from the first half of a pretty damn good league season…

Played 21…Won 10…drawn 9….lost 2

36 goals scored….23 conceeded

Lost first 2…then unbeaten in 19 with 10 wins and 9 draws

Home wins Vs Bedworth and 2-0 (Aug)  and Sheffield 2-1 (Oct)

Away wins Vs Carlton 3-1, Belper 4-1, Spalding 2-1, Stocksbridge 3-2, Loughborough 3-0, Gresley 2-1, Lincoln 1-0, Bedworth 2-1

Home draws Vs Gresley 3-3, Shaw Lane 1-1, Romulus 0-0, Basford 2-2, Market Drayton 1-1, Lincoln 1-1, Stamford 1-1

Away draws vs Rugby 1-1, Shaw Lane 1-1

Home Loss vs Chasetown 1-3 (Aug)

Away loss vs Newcastle 0-1 (Aug)

Clean sheets 3….Bedworth 2-0 (H), Romulus 0-0 (H), Loughborough 3-0  (A)

Conceeded 1 x12 times…

Conceeded 2 x2 times..vs. Stocksbridge  – 3-2 (A)..Basford 2-2  (H)

Conceeded 3 once…vs Gresley 3-3 (H)

Goalless twice 2 Newcastle 0-1 (A) Romulus 0-0 (H)

Scored 1 x 8 times

Scored 2 x 6 times

Scored 3 x 4 times vs Carlton 3-1 (A), Stocksbridge 3-2 (A), Loughborough 3-0 (A) Gresley 3-3 (H)

Scored 4 once vs Belper 4-1 (A)

Earned late points (after 80 mins)

* Spalding 2-1 (A) 1-0 down to 10 men then 78 min equaliser and 85th min winner Richard Bunting..get in!!!!

* Stocksbridge 3-2 (A) lead 2-0..back to 2 -2 then 86th min winner

* Sheffield 2-1 (H) 88th min penalty by Nabil Shariff 

* Bedworth 2-1 (A) 94th minute winner after being 1-0 down Fazel Koriya…

* Gresley 3-3 (H) 96th minute equaliser Ross Oulton…

*Shaw Lane 1-1 (A) 84th minute equaliser after going behind on 79

Dropped late points (after 80 mins)

* Newcastle 0-1 (A) 88th min winner on opening day

* Gresley 3-3 (H) scored in 94th minute to take 3-2 lead after being pegged back from 2-0 but Ross Oulton grabbed his second in 96th minute to earn 3-3 draw

Best record against Bedworth…2 wins…4 for 1 against…

Worst record against Chasetown….1 defeat 1-3…

Played twice…Bedworth (6 points), Shaw Lane (2 points), Lincoln (4 points)

Not played. ..Witton Albion, Northwich Victoria, Kidsgrove Athletic

Worst moment….late goal at Newcastle (gutting on opening day…)

Best moments…late equaliser vs Gresley after going behind in 94th minute

Late penalty winner vs Sheffield…..

Late winners at Stocksbridge and Bedworth…brilliant Radio Diamonds commentary

But my personal favourite…the turn around at Spalding…10 men…trail 1 0…Jack Ashton 78….then Richard Bunting 84…epic epic scenes…

Overall it feels there have been lots of close games…more than we had last season I think. We have won more of those away from home and drawn more at home…but have worked hard to earn points in those close matches.

Maybe sides play differently against us away in front of our big crowd, definitely raising their game. They attack more at home where our quick passing quick breaking play creates more chances.

 

I think there is a real togetherness and a great attitude with these players and the management team. Chances are definitely harder to come by but we defend strongly and when you look at stats score more goals than we are given credit for.

Not going to be easy to keep it up but I genuinely think if we keep the attitude, tactics and effort going we have reason to think the second half of the season could be as good as the first.

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds

 

 

Swadlincote…or swaddling clothes (see what I did there!!)

Diamonds make the medium distance trip into South Derbyshire to the lovely town of Swadlincote to take on Gresley FC on Saturday looking to extend the best away record in the Northern Premier League Division One South.

Unbeaten on the road since the opening day of the season Diamonds have travelled well since that opening reverse at table toppers Newcastle Town. Wins at Carlton in August, then just up the road in Belper in October were followed by three away wins in November at Spalding, Stocksbridge and Loughborough.

The only disappointment in that run was the draw at bottom of the table Rugby Town also in November and it has been draws galore at home for Diamonds that keep them just outside the play-off places. Diamonds have been beaten just once at home this season but 5 draws from 8 include the disappointing 1-1 against strugglers Market Drayton Town last weekend.

The first draw in that sequence was the game between these two sides in early September and it was by far was the most entertaining of them all. Diamonds fought back from 2-0 down through a Ross Oulton screamer on 72 and looked to be the likely winners until Mwanyongo scored his second to seemingly win the game for Gresley on 93. But Ross Oulton hadn’t finished and smashed the ball into the bottom corner on 94 to send the home crowd crazy… how we miss him!!

Gresley have had a real topsy turvey season that has been full of goals. 76 have been scored in 19 Gresley games this season with 33 for and 43 against. Incredible stats that saw the free scoring Derbyshire men in the top 8 for the first half of the season, but a run of just 2 wins in 11 including a 5-1 reverse at Kidsgrove last weekend see them come into this game down in 13th.

Diamonds manager Andy Peaks has added to his squad this week with the addition of two players who have played against Diamonds in FA Cup ties. Ben Farrell joins from Bedford Town after being part of the Cambridge City side beaten 3-2 in that incredible cup tie in 2013, and Merdi Maki joins from the Northampton Sileby side beaten 4-3 earlier this season.

This pre Xmas period is always critical and not one that Diamonds have fared particularly well in in previous seasons. But with a fabulous away record to protect, additions to the squad, and a travelling faithful that you know the players really appreciate they will be in beautiful Derbyshire looking for another 3 points to keep the unbeaten play-off chasing run going.

Follow us on Radio Diamonds and look out for my updates on BBC Northampton for the first time this season. I might just get in a mention in for my hometown heroes Stourbridge for their massive FA Cup 2nd round tie against the Cobblers of Northampton Town on Sunday.

Come on you Glassboys!!….and Diamonds too obviously….

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Presenter (once a Glassboy always a Glassboy…..)

 

 

Diamonds vs Steelmen….we try again!!

It’s back to cup action for Diamonds tonight as they take on Corby Town in the re-arranged Integro NPL League Cup First Round.

It is probably weather permitting again after last week’s postponement for waterlogging with temperatures so low during the night and morning and dropping below freezing from about 5.00, and could be as low as 3 degrees under by kick-off.

I’ve updated my preview from last week and hope I’m not jinxing the game by putting it out there now…..

……

Diamonds have had plenty of cup excitement this season making it through 3 rounds of FA Cup action before falling to Hendon in October. They also made it through two rounds of FA Trophy action with a thrilling 6-1 away replay success at Histon United and a 1-0 home win against Coalville Town before falling to Lincoln United in another away replay this month. Throw in a 5 goal NFA Hiller Cup tie at Kettering Town and it’s been all action in cup matches this season.

It is a first foray into the NPL League Cup for both sides tonight after Diamonds sideways move from the Southern League last season and Corby having previously played in the Southern League before a spell in National League North which ended in relegation last season.

Diamonds first effort at Step 3/4 League Cup action was a massive disappointment last season as they lost 4-1 at home to a very young Histon side who scored twice in the first 4 minutes. Only Brad Harris from that starting line-up is still with the club although Liam Dolman and Matt Finlay sat on the bench that night. Dominic Lawless scoring the only goal from the penalty spot.

After securing a 5th away league win at Loughborough Dynamo 10 days back Diamonds maintained their 6th place in NPL Division One South with Saturday’s home draw with Market Drayton town. Diamonds have still only been beaten once at home all season but they have drawn 7 times now including 5 times in the league after Saturday’s disappointing result. 5 wins have been added though since that opening day week defeat – three in cup ties – and they still remain unbeaten at home since mid August.

Northern Premier League side Corby come into the game off the back of a 2 -0 home defeat to our old FA Cup opponents Barwell. That followed a heartening 3-3 draw against Ashton United the previous week which had put an end to a run of 4 straight defeats without scoring and 9 defeats in 10 in the league. That run saw them slip to the foot of the table where they remain now after Saturday’s home reverse.

Ex Diamonds hero Gary Mills has recently taken over the Steelmen and brought in a number of new players to try and turn round their form. Robbie Parsons is among those signings along with ex Premier League player (Aston Villa) Stefan Moore. Corby also have Connor Kennedy on their books.

We can probably expect a much changed side tonight from Diamonds with the substitutes from the weekend likely to get a game along with possibly one or two U21 players. There will have to be a strong core to the side particularly defensively and it will be fascinating to see how the side that plays gels together and approaches what should be a winnable tie. Corby will be straining to impress the new manager and reverse their form and what better place to do it than at their local rivals in a cup tie.

Radio Diamonds will be there if you don’t get to the game so tune in for all the action from 7.45.

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Presenter

Welcome to The Gingerbread Men!!

Diamonds return to the Dog & Duck on Saturday for a first home league game this month to take on the Gingerbread Men of Market Drayton Town.

The last home league game for Diamonds was the 2-2 draw against Basford United back on 22nd October since when they have travelled to Spalding, Stocksbridge, Rugby and Loughborough returning with a very healthy 10 points from 4 games.

The Gingerbread Men are named after the very well known product of the Shropshire town and can trace their roots back to football in the town in Victorian times. They took on the name of Market Drayton Town in 2003 after coming through local leagues and have been in Northern Premier League Division One South since 2008.

As with recent opponents Rugby Town and Loughborough Dynamo, the Gingerbread Men have been on a poor run after an earlier decent spell in the season. Three wins on the trot in October including two away from home had seen them up to 10th in the table but 5 straight league defeats and conceding 15 goals in the process has seen them sink down to 18th.

Market Drayton will be heartened by the fact that the clean sheet Diamonds earned at Loughborough last week was their first in 8 league games and only the third this season. But Diamonds have scored in all but two league games and average just shy of 2 goals a game while the Gingerbread Men average 2 goals a game conceded.

It should be a game full of goals (meaning its’ nailed on 0-0!!) with Diamonds looking to extend an unbeaten league run of 12 games and looking to gain ground on 3 of the 5 sides above them in the league who don’t have a game this weekend.

Radio Diamonds will be cosy in the press box at the Dog & Duck as long the door stays shut. Tune in any time during the game to get the latest and see if the lads can get the festive period (it has started hasn’t it??) off with a swing.

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Presenter