What a first week!!
I don’t think too many people thought Diamonds would finish the first week of the season two points clear at the top of the table with the only 100% record in the league and a plus 8 goal difference!!
It’s been an incredible first week for Diamonds with three very good wins each earned in very different ways.
Barwell on opening day saw a clean sheet earned in difficult conditions from an excellent defensive performance with two second half goals from set pieces by our excellent defenders winning the day. Leiston at home on Tuesday saw Diamonds fall behind and have to work hard to get back into the game in the first half before being able to run out comfortable winners thanks to some excellent attacking play in the 2nd half. Nuneaton on Saturday saw two very good sides battle it out with attacking substitutions energising Diamonds late on against 10 and then 9 men into a grandstand finish to win the day.
League tables don’t really mean much at this early stage but Diamonds are one of 6 sides unbeaten in the league after 3 games and the only one with three wins out of 3. Rushall Olympic have two wins and a draw and are possibly the surprise package at this stage. They are the only side to have scored more goals than Diamonds – 10 to our 9 – after rattling in 9 in the last two home games after an opening day draw.
Royston, Hednesford, Lowestoft and Stourbridge sit in the “play-off” places with 6 points having all lost a game. Stourbridge 3-0 home defeat to Hednesford last Saturday was probably the biggest shock in the league so far although Hednesford had beaten Lowestoft on the opening day before losing to Coalville on Tuesday.
Kings Langley, Bromsgrove Sporting, Banbury United and Coalville Town are the other 4 unbeaten sides each with one win and 2 draws. Kings Langley have really impressed having played all their games away from home and scoring 8 times including a 3-3 and a 2-2 draw after that shock opening day 3-0 victory at Nuneaton.
The two games over Bank Holiday will go a long way to setting realistic ambitions for the season for Diamonds. Two wins and it’ll be difficult not to start getting excited. Less than that and a more realistic feeling will probably set in.
Tomorrow’s opponents Stratford Town have a win a draw and a defeat but have seen 13 goals scored in those 3 games. Their only defeat was 3-1 at Stourbridge and they scored 5 in two home games including an opening day 2-1 victory against Needham Market and a 3-3 home draw last time out against Kings Langley. They also have plenty of Diamonds old boys looking to make their mark with Chris Wreh, Lewis Wilson and Nabil Shariff all having scored already this season.
Monday sees old friends St. Ives visit Hayden Road who have just a single point and sit alongside Barwell, Leiston and Nuneaton in the bottom 5. They have the tough prospect of a smarting Stourbridge to play on Saturday but that St. Ives pitch may play it’s part with them having drawn their on opening day match against Tamworth.
It’s dangerous to get carried away and think wins in the bag automatically means wins every week even against sides lower down the league. As I keep saying you have to earn the right to win every game and going behind to Leiston and last Saturday’s late win against Nuneaton showed that very clearly. Hopefully your preparation, effort and organisation pushes those very fine margins in your direction allowing your ability to shine through.
Radio Diamonds is trying to put on a show on Saturday but with limited folk available – just me – it may prove a problem. We’re hoping to entice Ralph back behind the mic and if we can get someone or a couple of people to sit alongside him allowing me to focus on twitter and match report we could be up and running.
Look out for updates on @radiodiamonds tomorrow where Saturday Stats for Free will hopefully be back too.