Match Preview: Rushall Olympic FC vs AFC Rushden & Diamonds – Saturday 5th February 3.00 pm KO

Diamonds make the lovely journey up the M6 on Saturday to take on Rushall Olympic in another battle of the in-form Southern League Premier Central sides.

Rushall is a former mining village just north of Walsall with football roots back to the 1890s. The side play at Dales Lane on the outskirts of the village on an artificial pitch.

After winning 2-1 at play-off rivals Alvechurch two weeks back Diamonds despatched form side Stourbridge 2-0 in a close encounter at Hayden Road last week. The Glassboys went on to play at Rushall on Tuesday night and were soundly beaten 4-0 to emphasise what a challenge Diamonds have this week.

Rushall are unbeaten in 12 with 5 draws in that sequence – all that is keeping them behind 2nd place Coalville. Home form is impressive with 9 wins and just 1 defeat and the last three home games have seen 13 goals for and 1 against with 4 goals scored in each of the last 3 games home and away.

Diamonds are on equally impressive run of form though with 6 wins in 7 seeing them climb to 5th in the table. Away form is good with 4 wins in the last 5 on their travels with the only defeat of 2022 in a close contest at high flyers Banbury.

Rushall are unbeaten in this fixture with a pair of 2-0 wins in the 2018/2019 season – Diamonds first at this level. 2019/2020 saw just the game at Dales Lane which finished 1-1 with Liam Dolman scoring. Ravi Shamsi was Diamonds scorer in the reverse fixture this season which also finished 1-1 after two goals in the first 11 minutes.

The forecast is for strong winds again on Saturday which combined with the artificial pitch could make for challenging conditions. Both sides will be full of confidence though and feeling their recent form, if repeated, will bring them the points.

Diamonds will need to be strong defensively as usual against free scoring Rushall and will be hoping the even surface will benefit their passing game and ability to break with pace.

Radio Diamonds will be present as usual and the media team will also be bringing you in-game Twitter updates if you can’t make the game. The listener numbers have been excellent recently so hope you can join the fun as Diamonds look for more Hednesford, Hitchin, Tamworth, Royston, Alvechurch moments.

Enjoy the game…

Paul Judd
Media Team

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

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