Big game…Big Week

Diamonds got a big week of top end of the table Southern League action off to a great start with a cracking 2-0 win at Ashford Town on Saturday. A trademark Tom Lorraine run and finish and similar effort from Ryan Robbins sealed 3 important points for the travelling Diamonds.

Tonight’s opponents Cambridge City drew at home to top of the table Moneyfields….we know how that feels….and that allowed Diamonds to push up to 2nd in the table on goal difference from AFC Dunstable with Cambridge dropping to 5th behind Beaconsfield Town in a very congested top 7.

Our weekend opponents Hartley & Wintney didn’t have a game last Saturday and dropped to 7th just 3 points behind Diamonds with a game in hand and just tucked in behind Hayes & Yeading in 6th.

Cambridge had been in the top 2 for a number of weeks after a great run of form but a home defeat to Dunstable and that draw with Moneyfields has seen them fall back into the pack.

Diamonds have been on fire since that defeat at Hayes & Yeading at the end of October with 4 wins in 5, 17 goals scored and 3 clean sheets. The loss of Nabil Shariff at the start of that run was a bit of a blow but the change in personnel caused by players coming in and others unavailability has enabled a change to the style of play and a change in formation.

The move to 3 5 2 has seen a resurgence in Tom Lorraine’s form with 3 goals in those 5 games and Luke Fairlamb has adapted brilliantly to a wingback role that he clearly loves. Ryan Robbins also has 3 goals in that period with Ben Diamond supporting well from the bench with 2 and Ben Farrell with 3 as his impact in the final third is if anything even more enhanced.

It should be a cracking night under the floodlights at Hayden Road against opponents who have a special place in Diamonds early history. Probably one of the best early games for Diamonds was a memorable FA Cup 2nd qualifying round match against Cambridge City in 2013. 815 packed into The Dog & Duck and saw a stirring come from behind win against higher ranked opposition with Aaron King smashing a brilliant 68th minute equaliser and Alfie Taylor completing the historic day with a 92nd minute winner.

It is still my favourite Radio Diamonds moment commentating on Aaron Parkinson (the days Man of the Match) relieving 92nd minute clearance, Lance Allen’s brilliant control and mazy run, his ball out to Russ Dunkley, seeing Alfie clear on the far post, could he find him, yes he could as Alfie smashed home and peeled away in front of ecstatic fans to be engulfed by manager Mark Starmer’s crazy run down the touchline.

They are the moments you love football for and they always stay with you. Will we re-create those heart stopping moments tonight? Let’s hope so to send a big Hayden Road home happy with the sheer joy of football.

Enjoy the game

Paul Judd

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