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.