Diamonds travel to NLP Div 1 South pace setters Spalding United on Tuesday with great memories of their previous visit to the Lincolnshire outfit being one of Diamonds best early away days.
In just their second season and facing a similarly pace setting UCL Premier League side Diamonds were stoked up by the words of the opposition manager in the build-up and on a cold December day inflicted a memorable defeat on the previously 100% record Lincolnshire men.
The 2-1 victory in front a passionate away following gave Diamonds a glimmer of hope of getting into the promotion race that year, but Spalding got over the blip of a first defeat of the season and fairly cruised to the title including a smash a grab 2-1 win at the Dog & Duck in the following April.
Diamonds promotion the following year and the sideways move into NLP Div 1 South sees the two sides back in the same division with The Tulips mounting another serious promotion challenge. The two previous seasons had seen saw them finish 7th and 11th but 6 wins on the bounce early in this campaign saw them right at the top of the league.
A couple of draws and a surprise first defeat to Leek Town in their last home game saw them drop to second behind Shaw Lane. But successive impressive away victories have them right up there again.
Diamonds come into the game unbeaten in 8 in the league and off the back of an impressive win themselves against higher-ranked Coalville Town in the FA Trophy. Lincoln United are up next in that competition at home on November 12th but before then Diamonds play 3 away games in 8 days which will be crucial to establishing a genuine league position for Diamonds.
And they aren’t going to be easy with Stocksbridge Park Steels on Saturday and “local” rivals Rugby Town a week on Tuesday to add to Tuesdays trip to Spalding. They will just the 4th to 6th away games this season for Diamonds who have played 7 at home so far due to multiple re-arrangements.
The away record is decent though with two wins added since that opening day 1-0 defeat at Newcastle Town. The victories at Carlton Town and Belper Town netted 7 goals between them suggesting scoring on their travels is not a problem for Diamonds.
The squad is looking stronger each week too with players returning from injury and new signings picking-up valuable match practice. It gives selections headaches of a good type for Manager Andy Peaks for a change then but he may just be thinking of squad rotation with the games coming thick and fast through November.
Spalding away last time was one of my favourite commentary days with so much noise around us in a traditional stand with a first ever “press” table to work from, an inspiring team performance, lots of incidents and that sweet sweet victory to warm us up on a very cold day.
More tonight please!!
Radio Diamonds Presenter