It’s back to cup action for Diamonds tonight as they take on Corby Town in the Integro NPL League Cup First Round – weather permitting. There is a pitch inspection at 12.30 after lots of heavy rain the last few days but it should be a dryer morning so fingers crossed.
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 on Saturday to move up to 6th in the NPL Division One South table Diamonds return to the Dog & Duck where they have a more modest overall record. Diamonds have only been beaten once at home all season but they have drawn 6 times including 4 times in the league. 5 wins have been added since that opening day week defeat though and they still remain unbeaten at home since mid August.
Northern Premier League side Corby come into the game off the back of a heartening 3-3 draw against Ashton United on Saturday. That put an end to a run of 4 straight defeats without scoring and 9 defeats in 10 in the league that saw them slip to the foot of the table.
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 James Jepson and 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 could be seen as a winnable tie. Corby will be straining to impress the new manager 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.
Radio Diamonds Presenter