Match Preview: Stratford Town FC vs AFC Rushden & Diamonds – 26th October 7.45 pm KO

Diamonds travel to Stratford on Tuesday night to take on “The Bards” in Southern League Premier Central action.

After a run of just 2 points from 4 home league games Diamonds will be looking to build on good away form – unbeaten in 3 – in this first of four successive away league games.

Stratford broke a 3 game losing streak in the league with a win at Hitchin on Saturday and will be striving to keep their minds off an exciting FA Cup First Round Proper tie against Shrewsbury that is coming up in November.

Stratford Town

Stratford began in 1941 in local Worcestershire and Birmingham leagues before working through the West Midlands (Regional) League, a short stint in the Hellenic League and the Midland Alliance. They had to reform in 1998 and finally achieved Step 4 status in 2013 joining the Southern League before climbing to Step 3 in 2015.

“The Bards” moved to Knights Lane in 2008 and saw a record attendance of 1,253 just this month for the FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying replay against Boston United which was excitingly won 3-2. That record will most likely be beaten on 7th November when they take on Shrewsbury in the First Round Proper which will be shown live on ITV4.

Previous Games

The sides have played four league games to date and all have been won by the home side. The first was won 2-0 by Diamonds at Hayden Road in 2018 with Liam Dolman and Sam Johnson scoring. The first contest at Knights Lane was won 1-0 by Stratford. In 2019/2020 Stratford won their home game 3-1 inflicting Diamonds first defeat of the season at that point with former Diamond Chris Wreh scoring twice. The game at Hayden Road was an exciting affair won 4-2 by Diamonds thanks to goals by Jesse Akubuine, Ben Acquaye, Liam Dolman and Ben Farrell and kept Diamonds in 8th place in the league.

Current Form

Stratford’s form has ebbed and flowed this season with 4 wins from the opening 6 games followed by 3 successive defeats. Some of those defeats have been just prior to exciting FA Cup ties including back-to-back defeats 5-2 at home to Peterborough Sports and 7-1 at Biggleswade just prior to the win against Boston United. They sit on a healthy overall return of 15 points from 10 games with 5 wins and 5 defeats and no games drawn. Home form sees three wins and one defeat which was that last home game against Peterborough Sports.

Diamonds have 13 points from 13 games but no wins in 6. They failed to score in the last two despite strong attacking performances and will be desperate to grab the goals performances have merited. Away form has been a little better overall for Diamonds who are unbeaten in the last three on the road. That includes a win at Nuneaton and draws at Needham Market and Stourbridge after the defeat to Bromsgrove Sporting in August.

The Game

Everyone is feeling the pressure of the disappointing run of results Diamonds have had and a road trip to beautiful Stratford will hopefully give Diamonds the boost they need to get back to winning ways. Stratford will be trying to keep their minds off the exciting FA Cup tie coming up but it will undoubtedly be a competitive game between sides who scored 10 goals between them in league games last season.

Radio Diamonds will be in action again and the usual interviews, highlights and in-game Twitter updates will keep you up to date with the action.

Enjoy the game.

Paul Judd

Radio Diamonds