Arlesey Town the sequel!!

It’s 2nd time lucky tonight as Diamonds take on Arlesey Town at the Dog & Duck after the original game on January 2nd was abandoned at half-time due to a waterlogged pitch. That was a first weather related abandonment for Diamonds and was a game that had been very tight in increasingly difficult conditions when the downpour made the pitch unplayable.

Tonight’s game has had to survive more badly timed wet weather as did the game on Saturday against Ware. Great work by the ground staff volunteers enabled that game to go ahead and even to be played on a pretty decent surface which suited the team. Brilliant effort…

Diamonds won the game 3-0 to stay 3 points clear at the top of Southern League Central and will be looking to add a third straight home win since losing back to back games to promotion rivals Royston Town and Egham Town in December. The overall home record is now the best in the league though in terms of fewest points dropped with just the two draws (Petersfield Town & Beaconsfield SYCOB) and those two defeats to go with 9 wins.

Arlesey were relegated from Southern League Premier last season after a 4 year stay in the top flight and got off to a terrible start to the season losing their first 5 games and only notching their first goals in their 5th game. They were still bottom after 12 games but back to back away wins in September put them on a decent run which saw the reach 13th place.

They have fallen back in the last few games though with 5 defeats in their last 6 games seeing them drop back to 18th. They do have top-half away record though with 6 wins on their travels including wins at Kings Langley, Bedford and Ware and were impressive in the half of the game we saw back on 2nd January.

They are managed by Nathan and Zema Abbey who have great experience including in league football so will be well prepared and looking to play as well as they did back in January.

Diamonds have the chance to go 6 points clear at the top of the table tonight and will be looking to push on with this game and the long trip to Fleet Town on Saturday before back to back home games against the sides currently second (St.Ives Town) and third (Kings Langley) later in the month.

Exciting times…

Enjoy the game

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Presenter

Ware…weather permitting

Plenty of rain forecast over night and on Saturday so if the game against Ware survives the weather it will be a game played in difficult conditions, maybe typical February football conditions.

That will be a lot different to the game between these sides back in the middle August when Diamonds were denied a first Southern League Central Division win by a second last minute equaliser in 5 days. Diamonds new hero Claudiu Hoban had given Diamonds an early lead, but despite shading possession they had been unable to add a second and were punished following a rare defensive mistake to take a third consecutive draw.

Warm summer sunshine seems a distant memory as does the uncertainty of judging Diamonds opening games in this division. St.Ives who had similarly equalised late on in a 2-2 draw in that period have gone on to be real title contenders, while Ware have threatened the top 6 but fallen away just recently. They have lost their last 6 including a 4-1 home defeat by promotion rivals Royston in the week….that scoreline has a horribly familiar ring to it!!

Diamonds bounced back from the shocking 4-0 defeat at Beaconsfield last week to compete really well with National League North side Brackley Town in the NFA Hiller Cup semi-final on Tuesday night and ran out 2-1 winners. The prospect of a final against Kettering Town will be put on the back burner as Diamonds look to re-establish their title credentials. They have a run of 4 home games in the next 6 including re-arranged games against Arlesey Town and St.Ives Town plus one of the longer away trips to Fleet Town.

Diamonds still sit top of the table, 2 points clear of Chalfont St. Peter and 3 of St. Ives and Kings Langley (both opponents this month) but Egham sit 7 points back with three games in hand and nominally in pole position.

The return of Dan Quigley had energised centre midfield, Jon Stevenson is finishing superbly with 3 goals in 4, Jack Ashton has resumed the dynamic centre half position Diamonds fans love him for and Matt Finlay is in superb goalkeeper form to give the spine of the team real strength.

There is real competition for places out wide with Shawn Richards, Andy Hall and Claudiu Hoban fighting for berths and Tom Lorraine keeps his performance level high and the goals adding to his tally.

There is every reason to think Diamonds will show that last week’s performance to be a one-off, but Ware have something to prove and the motivation of having already taken points off Diamonds this season.

It should be a cracking game if it survives the weather.

 

Cup-Semi Final Excitement

It’s cup-semi-final night at the Dog & Duck tonight in the county’s premier cup competition the NFA Hiller Cup and it should be a great occasion.

Mid-week cup semi-finals under lights are always something special with the chance of a final and some silverware tantalisingly close. Adding to the interest is that we are paired with the county’s top ranked professional side, the current Hiller Cup holders, a side we have never beaten, and in a competition we’ve never won a tie over 90 minutes.

There are only 4 rounds in the competition with some byes in the first round meaning teams often start in the quarter-finals. Diamonds have been drawn at home in every tie they have played in this competition and have yet to win a game over 90 minutes.

In 2013 it was Wellingborough Town who won 2-1 at the Dog & Duck in a first round-tie, and last season it was tonight’s opponents Brackley Town who got the better of a 7 goal thriller. That was a crazy game with Brackley 3-0 up inside 16 minutes, Diamonds pulling two goals back but then trailing 4-2 at half-time. One goal back in the second half wasn’t enough and a very good Brackley Town side went through and went on to lift the trophy against Peterborough Northern Star in the final.

This season Diamonds had a bye in the first round and won their first ever NFA Hillier Cup tie, all be it on penalties. Desborough notched a last minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw that saw a penalty shoot-out in front of the Peter De Banke. Diamonds trailed in that but came back to win 6-5.

Diamonds fans must have left Saturday’s game at Beaconsfield, or read the match report later in a state of shock. It was such an unexpected performance and result that there will be added interest tonight to see what team is picked and how they perform. As match reporter on Saturday I gave Man of the Match to goalkeeper Matt Finlay who pulled off some great saves, but he really had little competition from the outfield players. Man of the Match could be an interesting choice for members tonight with some of the squad players maybe getting a start looking to show what they can do, and the starters on Saturday looking to prove Saturday was just a blip.

Brackley are having a tough season in National League North and come into the game off the back of 4 straight league defeats that see them sit just inside the relegation zone.  They were only beaten by the odd goal at home to table toppers Solihull Moor on Saturday though so will feel the release of a cup semi-final is a perfect chance to get a win on the board.

The other semi-final is also played tonight and is an A14 rivalry between Kettering Town and Rothwell Corinthians. It gives the prospect of a fascinating re-acquaintance of old rivals if results go a certain way but all four sides will fancy their chances of winning tonight and going on to lift the trophy.

The game will go straight to penalties if level at the end of 90 minutes so it will be decided tonight. I’m looking forward to seeing a positive reaction from the Diamonds squad taking on motivated opponents defending their trophy.

Radio Diamonds will be covering the game as usual if you can’t make the game but however you follow it enjoy your night.

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Presenter

Radio Diamonds Preview is Back!!

Not before time I hear you say!! I’ve been writing previews for the Members Forum and Newsletter lately so thought it’s about time we got more content back on this website.

I write programme articles and we do match reports between us which can be found….in the programme and on the main website of course…but I will look to see if I can get them up on here too.

We also do short articles for the Non-League Newspaper for home matches which can be a challenge when we have 100 words to describe an 8-1 win plus a sending off to be written by 6pm!!

But this is a preview for the game at Beaconsfield SYCOB on Saturday taken from the preparation notes I do before each game.

Beaconsfield SYCOB Away

Diamonds are on their travels again on Saturday with a trip to the bottom edge of Buckinghamshire to visit Beaconsfield SYCOB.

They came into existence in their current form in 1994 through the amalgamation of Beaconsfield United and Slough Youth Club Old Boys hence the unusual postscript to their name. They have made moves to drop the SYCOB recently but that hasn’t as yet been agreed.

It will be another tough away fixture for Diamonds in a run that includes hard fought wins at Hanwell and Uxbridge at the beginning of December, a tough defeat at then leaders Chalfont St Peter, a come from behind win at Bedford on Boxing Day, a hard fought draw at Northwood in early January played with 10 men for 60 minutes, and another hard won win over 7th placed Aylesbury last weekend that resulted from an excellent performance on a difficult surface.

Beaconsfield have an excellent home record with 9 wins from 13 games that is bettered only by CSP with 10 from 14. Their away form is not so good though which is why they sit down in 9th place in the league after finishing 20th last season. They won their first 5 games at Holloway Park before being pegged back by Egham and Royston in October , something Diamonds know all about, but then went on to win 5 from 6 at home before losing last time out at home to Godalming.

Diamonds have returned to the upper levels of the form guide tables after a difficult December with 3 wins and a draw from the last 6. Beaconsfield were beaten at Northwood last week and sit further down the form table with just 2 wins and 4 defeats in the last 6.

Jon Stevenson has got off to a flyer as a Diamonds striker with two fantastic strikes to round off excellent all round performances, and Andy Hall is adding goals to his all round play to give Diamonds a real New Year lift.

Aaron Berry is Beaconsfield star player with 11 goals including the late equaliser at the Dog & Duck when the sides drew 1-1 in October. Jack Read has 8 and Beaconsfield clearly have attacking options with 47 goals this season.

This week has seen the Kings Langley result finally formalised and into the league table seeing Diamonds now on 53 points from 25 games, an excellent Fans Forum on Wednesday and the U18 scholars reaching the semi-finals of the David Joyce County Youth Cup with a thumping 7-1 quarter-final win.

But all eyes will be on Beaconsfield on Saturday as the side looks to continue this return to form and to stay top of the table as long as they can. Follow the game on Radio Diamonds if you can’t make it, we hope to have resolved the annoying connection problems we had last week and are chomping at the bit to bring more live action.

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds Presenter

Radio Diamonds Weekly Update

Radio Diamonds Weekly Update

Intro

Hi I’m Paul Judd and this is the weekly update from Radio Diamonds. This is the written version of the recorded update that will also be posted on the Radio Diamonds website.

Content

The exciting news this week is the release of our fixtures for the coming season so we’ll take a look at some of the highlights, we’ll also look back at the first two games of the pre-season campaign which saw a win and a draw and the whole squad used, we’ve had a first chance to see a number of new signings and trialists so we’ll see what we’ve learned about them too, we’ll look at the games coming up this week including Saturday’s trip to Enfield, and we’ll round up some club news.

Fixtures

What a difference a league makes!! Fixtures published for the whole season in July, a fairly equitable home and away balance, and some sensible midweek scheduling. It’s just the names and places that will take some getting used to. I’ve already been caught out with the two Aylesbury’s in the league.

We start our Southern League Central campaign at home against also newly promoted Petersfield Town from Hampshire. Petersfield have achieved back to back promotions through the Wessex League clinching the Premier League by 7 points last season so a fascinating match-up first up.

We then have back to back away games with a trip to St Ives Town for one of our “local” fixtures on Tuesday 11th, before our first longer trip 60 miles down south to Ware on Saturday 15th. St Ives finished 9th last season and Ware 10th so a couple of games which will help us judge our level in the new league.

It’s then 3 home games to round of August against Aylesbury United (13th), Chalfont St. Peter (16th) and Bedford (17th) on Bank Holiday Monday. It’s difficult to tell based on last year’s finishing position but this looks like a first 6 games which gives us a real chance to make our mark on the League. But I bet all 6 opponents will fancy their chances of a win against a newly promoted side, so it’s going to be an exciting August.

The midweek away trips that are scheduled look to be sensibly nearer rather than farther trips, and the Boxing Day away trip to Bedford will please some of our loyal fans. The tricky period is pre-xmas with the longest trips of the season to Godalming (95 miles) on November 14th, Petersfield Town (114 miles) on November 28th, and the last two Saturdays’ before xmas see us heading to Uxbridge (69 miles) and Chalfont St Peter (63 miles) ….at least we’ll avoid the xmas shopping.

New Years Day we are at home to Arlesey Town and being another of our “local” opponents we visit them on Easter Monday. We finish at home too against Godalming Town on April 23rd.

One other fixture announcement this week is the Red Insure Cup (for Southern League sides). We’ve been drawn against Premier League side Histon FC in a home tie, but it doesn’t take place until w/c 12/10.

This week’s action

Diamonds have had two games this week to kick-off the pre-season campaign, both against United Counties League opposition and both away.

The first was the now regular pre-season opener against Rushden & Higham United at Hayden Road played for the Chris Ruff Memorial Cup. The teams had both previously won once, with Diamonds the holders after a 2-0 victory last July.

The sides are now two levels apart in the non-league world and although a competitive workout for the whole squad the difference did show through. New signings Dan Quigley (centre midfield) and Ollie Wilkinson (right back) started along with trialist Steve Spriggs all three looking comfortable and slotting in well to the 4-4-2 system. The first half was goalless with a limited number of chances that fell mostly to Diamonds who looked solid and well motivated and fit.

6 half-time substitutions including a whole new front 4 sharpened the forward line and early goals for Courtney Herbert and Liam Dolman clinched the result, with a number of other chances for Herbert, Lawless, Kilbride and Fitzgerald also created. 3 players returned to the action in the second-half meaning all except poor old Sam Brown played about 70 minutes.

The trophy was lifted at the end of the game in front of a healthy 200 plus crowd.

Tuesday night saw a trip to one of our favourite grounds – Kingsthorpe Mill to play Northampton Spencer. It was a tad more laid back on Tuesday than the promotion clinching game at the end of our first senior season, in fact we had rain and drizzle, all be it warm, for most of the game.

We may have seen a nod towards a preferred starting eleven with Herbert and Lorraine starting up front, Kilbride and Spriggs out wide, and Quigley and Harris in centre midfield. Joe Merrill came in at right-back alongside Dolman, Ashton and Brown. The first half was certainly the better of the two for diamonds with Spriggs in particular involved in most of Diamonds good work, and Herbert always threatening the last man. Chance were at a premium as the opposition was definitely a step-up and in second half in particular a confident Spencer side put some pressure on the Diamonds defence.

The game finished goalless with Diamonds dropping off in terms of performance and intensity in the second-half, certainly in the final third, but the work out for the whole squad over the two games including defensively in this match has been exactly what Andy Peaks will have wanted.

New Signings

It’s always difficult to judge players in pre-season games but we’ve had our first look at the new signing so what did we think…

Dan Quigley – slotted in really well alongside both Bunting and Harris, works hard to win the ball back and likes to pick a positive pass particularly out wide. Likes to make near post runs at corners and flick the ball on and although slight of frame is strong in the air. A definite contender to start in central midfield

Ollie Wilkinson – reads the game well at both full-back where he played in the first game and centre half in the second. Not the tallest and I was struck how he reminded me of Jack Ashton in his leaping for the ball against taller defenders and sheer physical effort, good in possession and a good addition to the back four squad

Jason Kilbride – quick feet as you’d expect from a Futsal international, pacey and happy to cut inside at pace or go outside and an excellent crosser of the ball. Took some excellent free-kicks and corners in the first game and looks a possible Matt Gearing replacement in that respect, although Steven Spriggs may have something to say about that

Dominic Lawless – busy striker who was part of the impact substitutions at half-time in the first game. He links the play well around and outside the box as he did for Liam Dolman’s goal against R&H. Not had much in the way of chances to show his finishing bar a strike just over the bar from 8 yards in the first game from Tom Lorraine’s cutback. Adds to the squad of striking options

Trailists…

Courtney Herbert – started as a trialist but has now signed-on, immediate impact with a goal after 40 seconds against R&H, bright, mobile, aggressive and keen to get run the channel to get in behind defences. One great finish, and two maybe not so great in the two games, but a real threat and if he signs would likely be first choice.

Steve Spriggs – played a half in each match and very impressive. Particularly in the Spencer game where he got some fantastic passes to enable him to run at and frankly torment the left-back, and great end product too. A variety of types of crosses, plus a couple of dangerous free-kicks show he could be a main man for diamonds if he signs.

Kieran Fitzgerald – grew into the first game and looked pacey and lively particularly cutting inside, got shots off in both games when coming onto the ball at the edge of the area. Not dissimilar to Elliott Lamb-Johnson although taller, confident and a potentially good squad player

It looks like we have some excellent signings who can help us adapt to the next level we’ve now moved to, with some other possible options that would really enhance our team and squad. Let’s see what happens in the coming weeks.

Next Games

Over the next week we have tough looking trip to Enfield Town, another fan owned club who play in the Ryman Isthmian League Premier Division, a step above Diamonds. They finished 7th last season and had 16 of their 21 wins games at home. I noticed they have friendlies against Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace alongside AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

On Tuesday night we make the first of 4 appearance at the Dog & Duck as we build towards the start of the season with the visit of Southern League Premier side Biggleswade Town. The waders finished 4th bottom of the league last season but well clear in terms of points and will certainly be stern opposition for Diamonds.

Club News

The club AGM was held on Wednesday evening…more details on what was discussed in next week’s update, but you can see the annual accounts for 2014/2015 on the member’s website.

Ground maintenance continues at the Dog & Duck all by volunteers. Teams that have been down so far have undertaken a range of work including painting a large section of fence, as well as old club shop/new tea bar area, Jetwashed astroturf areas, cleaned various barriers/pitchside boards, repainted dugouts, weeding around the entire stadium perimeter completed, various doors rubbed down, filled and prepped for undercoat. There is more needed to be done to finish off much of this good work so if people can offer an hour or two Saturday or Sunday please contact Darren via the main website. I’m told free bacon sarnies are on offer!!

There has been a fantastic response to the U12 and U14 training sessions for the new girls section of the club, and it has prompted expanding to offer sessions for U7/8 and U9 & U10. With qualified coaches and the emphasis on fun and development it’s a great chance for more of the Diamonds family to get involved in playing the game. Look on the main website for details.

Finale

So the pre-season is underway, the new players are bedding in, tough pre-season games are coming-up, and we have a fixture list for the whole season, it’s an exciting time. Enjoy the pre-season games you can get down to and remember it’s only 3 weeks until that opening game against Petersfield Town and the return of Radio Diamonds.

Paul.

Radio Diamonds Weekly Update

Intro

Hi I’m Paul Judd and this is the first Radio Diamonds Weekly Update.

I want to bring you up to date on what’s been happening with the club and the team in the close season, to preview the pre-season programme that is about to start including tomorrow’s first game in against Rushden & Higham, to take a minute to look back at the fabulous end to last season and look at some of the highlights on the run in, to give you a reminder about some of the others things happening at the club at the moment, and let you know some of the plans we have for Radio Diamonds for the coming season.

Close Season

So let’s start with the close season and a lot has gone on that you may not have picked up on so here we go.

Firstly after some uncertainty AFC Rushden & Diamonds were placed in the Evo-Stick Southern League Central Division. There was some re-balancing to do between Northern and Southern Leagues by the FA and being on the border line we were possible candidates for either direction. We were however placed in the Southern League and after further alterations due to a variety of factors the make-up of our division is now finalised. The fixture structure has been announced so we know when we are playing matches, but the fixtures themselves aren’t due out until next week. Most of our opponents are down towards Hertfordshire, North and West London round the M25, with a couple of very long trips to Godalming in Surrey and Petersfield in Hampshire.

We then had a number of player announcements including players from last year staying on (the bulk of the squad), some not (Dunkley/Turner), some new signings, and then more recently some saying that due to work/family/other commitments they could no longer stay with the club. Amongst them was one of my personal favourites Matt Gearing (who has joined Yaxley), Adam Confue (who has gone back to Daventry), and Declan Rogers looking for a side nearer home. New signings include an England international….at Futsal Jason Kilbride an attacking midfielder who joins from Peterborough Northern Star, Daniel Quigley a midfielder from Kings Lynn with Step 3 experience and former midfield colleague of Richard Bunting, Ollie Wilkinson also with Step 3 experience and club captain at Bedford last season and Dom Lawless always a threat against us playing for Newport Pagnell Town and another with Southern League experience. Manager Andy Peaks also has ex-football league player Courtney Herbert training with the lads on a trial basis.

If you’ve watched the twitter feed you’ll have seen pictures from pre-season taking place at Overstone Park who have done a commercial deal to support the club, and on the website you can see interviews with Manager Andy Peaks and the all the new players.

Pre-Season

We have an excellent programme of pre-season friendlies lined up starting with regular opening game against Rushden & Higham at Hayden Road. We will be playing for the Chris Ruff Memorial Cup for the third time with the two sides having one once each. Hopefully we will see most of the squad at some point including the new signings at what is always a nostalgic trip to Hayden Road.

We then have midweek and Saturday games right up to the first league fixture on August 8th. We have another trip that will bring back great memories on Tuesday 14th. We travel to Northampton Spencer scene of that memorable promotion clinching game at the end of our first season.

On Saturday 18th we have tough trip to play Ryman League Premier side Enfield Town…who list Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace among other pre-season opponents.

Tuesday 21st sees Diamonds taking on Southern League Premier side Biggleswade Town in the first of four consecutive game at the Dog & Duck. Saturday 25th sees Diamonds take on Wealdstone of the Conference South a real eye catching fixture, before taking on Wellingborough Town on Tuesday 28th before the final pre-season game against Northern Premier league South side Loughborough Dynamo. It’s noticeable step up the quality of opposition and will be real test of how quickly the new squad can gel together.

Two other exciting fixtures have been confirmed in the early part of the season. Our FA Cup preliminary round opponents will be Kings Langley of our own Southern League Central on 28th August managed by former Diamonds hero Richie Hanlon. They won promotion from Step 5 last season as we did so this should be cracking cup tie.

The other confirmed game is our first ever FA Trophy tie against former FA Vase opponents Basford United. They are another side fresh off the back of Step 5 success last season. Two tough ties.

Last Season Finish

It seems such a long time ago now but I thought it might be worth briefly looking back at a fabulous end to the season, and as it turned out our time in the UCL.

We finished the campaign as champions by a clear 11 points from Thurnby (now Leicester) Nirvana, with the only other team who applied for promotion, and long-time rivals Holbeach back in 6th place 26 points behind after a late points deduction. Wisbech were 3rd 12 points back and Yaxley 4th 23 points back with Cogenhoe in 5th.

It sounds fairly comfortable and the last few games the tension did fade out, but it looked so different back at the turn of the year. Defeats at Thurnby and Oadby had put rivals Holbeach in pole position. Our trip to Carters Field was one of the most uncomfortable experiences for lots of reasons, not least when we trailed for so long. But after a possible second for the home side was ruled out Russ Dunkley pounced to earn us a point in what was certainly a massive turning point. Holbeach gradually faded, we went on a fantastic run, and Wisbech emerged as our biggest title rivals. Cue another last minute “escape” in no small part due to the away teams spoiling tactics, launched by midfield goal scoring hero Brad Harris.

More dropped points by rivals, and a continuation of a great winning run saw us pull away and win comfortably. There were nervous moments though, trailing at Kempston (Brad Harris to the rescue again), looking to have thrown away victory at Eynesbury before Viva Matt Gearing stepped up with a last minute penalty, and narrow wins in both games against Deeping.

It meant we were working out if when rather then if it would finally be clinched, and it came at Sileby Rangers (on my 25th wedding anniversary…dedication to the end). We then had a fabulous day at the UCL KO Cup Final to close out the season with a fine 3-0 win against Potton United.

Celebrations at both of the last 2 home games were tremendous occasions and great memories for us to leave the UCL with

Club News

Key event for lots of us will be renewing season tickets and membership. It’s an important part of the cash flow for the club so hope as many as possible are able to take advantage of the early bird deal.

Fundraising has continued with another great quiz night, and a members Forum was held, and the clubs AGM is coming up next Wednesday. Remember you need to renew your membership to attend and vote.

Members have already voted on ticket prices for next year – £8 and £5 concession – which will set a playing budget for the year. You can donate extra with your season ticket if like me you were happy to have paid more and there is a real need to try and restore the level of donations we had in our first seasons.

Radio Diamonds

Radio Diamonds are aiming to broadcast all games again next season, but we won’t be covering the pre-season games except for a possible trial of equipment and new format in one game.

We are planning to schedule a regular starting time at 2.30 each game and will bring you manager and player interviews, match reviews and previews in the build up to the game. Some of it pre-recorded including a pre-game conversation with manager Andy Peaks.

We are aiming to be a bit more structured in our commentary too with the same two commentators staying throughout each game. We will still bring score updates but do it in a bit more focused way as we get used to our Southern league opponents with full half-time and full-time round-ups.

We also have a new sponsor to announce. Radio Diamonds will be brought to you by Adams Apple, a high quality vegetable supplier to catering trade and individual households who is covering our broadcast costs for the season which are quite substantial. We are very grateful and look forward to involving them in our Radio Diamonds programmes. We would like to purchase some new updated equipment and will be looking for more donations or sponsors who can help us with that to keep our service on the road and up to date.

Finale

There will be an article on the website that this programme is taken from but we thought a recording might work well for some people. A recorded match preview and review will be part of our match build-up next season, but we may do more reviews/updates of this type periodically if people like them and find them useful. Particularly for away games when we don’t have the benefit of our programme, and may be able to bring you exclusive content from the manager and players.

So please let us know what you think, and please tune in to radio Diamonds for the coming season.

Diamonds are of course…forever!!

Sent from Surface

You can listen to this piece here:

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Radio Diamonds season preview

 

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!!