Emirates FA Cup – Match Preview: Coalville Town FC vs AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Diamonds start out on their 9th FA Cup campaign on Saturday afternoon with possibly the toughest draw they could have been given – Coalville Town away.

The two sides met in a dramatic game just 2 weeks ago with Joel Gyasi’s brilliant 92nd minute winner clinching Diamonds first and only win of the season so far, and inflicting Coalville’s only defeat to date.

Coalville Town and Previous Games

Our cup opponents today have been in existence since 1926 when they were founded as Ravenstone Miners Athletic. They moved through Leicestershire leagues and eventually moved to nearby Coalville in 1995 when their Ravenstone home could not be upgraded. They are known as the Ravens to this day.

They joined Midland Alliance and Northern Premier League’s before being moved to Southern League Central in 2018. Their stand out periods include reaching the first round of the FA Cup in their very first season in the competition in 2004 losing 1-0 to Wycombe Wanderers and winning the Midland Alliance in 2010 scoring an incredible 153 goals.

Diamonds won the first two games between the sides and the last but were beaten 4 times in between. The first meeting was in FA Trophy action in 2016 when Coalville were a level above Diamonds but were beaten 1-0 at the Dog & Duck. The first Southern League Central game was won by Diamonds 3-1 at Hayden Road but Coalville won the next four contests with 5-0, 1-0, and 4-1 wins at Coalville, and a 3-0 win at Hayden Road.

FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round – Diamonds

Diamonds have made the 1st Qualifying Round in all 8 seasons they have competed in the competition entering at this stage in the last two seasons but fighting through to this round on no less than 6 occasions.

In keeping with the general trend Diamonds had only 2 home draws in those 8 ties but won 3 outright with victories at Bedfont & Feltham (2-1), Tividale (3-2) and a home win against Hornchurch (2-0).

The most “famous” 1st Qualifying Round tie was the match-up against Cockfosters. A predictable “away” draw saw Diamonds battle back twice to earn a 2-2 draw thanks to a late Russ Dunkley equaliser. The replay was very much the Russ Dunkley show with the striker hitting an incredible 5 headed goals in an 8-0 win.

Diamonds have sadly lost the last three 1st Qualifying Round matches with defeats at Hayes & Yeading (2-1) and Enfield (1-0) and a horror story defeat last season at home to Newark 5-0. The other defeat at this stage was in 2014 in their 2nd season in the competition losing at Hendon 1-0.

Recent Form

Diamonds come into the game off the back of a more encouraging performance on Bank Holiday Monday in the 1-0 defeat to table toppers Peterborough Sports. That still made it 3 defeats in 4 games all be it against fancied opponents. Diamonds sit 17th on 3 points with that one game in hand against most rivals.

Coalville have just the one defeat this season in that dramatic game against Diamonds and come into the game off the back of a home draw against local rivals Barwell. Two home wins against Stratford Town and Needham Market and a draw against Tamworth see Coalville in 6th place just outside the play-offs on 8 points from 5 games.

Tickets and Arrangements

Details of ticket arrangements and ground location can be found in the separate preview page for the 60 mile trip from Hayden Road to Coalville along the A14 and up the M1 to junction 22.

Radio Diamonds will be aiming to broadcast on Saturday and will be thinking back to that other FA Cup trip to Leicestershire when Liam Dolman hit a 95th minute equaliser against Barwell in the 3rd Qualifying Round in ecstatic scenes.

In match twitter should hopefully be back with your post-game match report, interviews and highlights all available after the game.

Enjoy the game

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

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