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.