DEEPING RANGERS 2 AFC RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS 3: Tuncay Korkmaz bemoaned individual errors as his side lost an opening day thriller with much-fancied Diamonds on Saturday.
Jack Wisniewski (8) volleyed the visitors ahead early on at Outgang Road, but Craig Parker’s debut strike (16) levelled things up at the break.
Alfie Taylor (52) and Fazel Koriya (87) then turned the screw, rendering Matt Heron’s late header (90) as mere consolation for Rangers.
Although he felt his side could have bagged a draw, Deeping chief Korkmaz has warned the UCL Premier Division to believe all of the hype surrounding Rushden.
He said: “They are a very decent side with an impressive following, which they feed off. Although they’ve got a small squad, the lads (Russ) Dunkley and (Fazel) Koriya are as good as it gets at this level.
“Everyone has them down as top three material and I’d have to agree.
“It’s a shame we had a few bans. I felt we had good spells and could have got a draw. But we made too many mistakes – including for two of their goals.
“It’s disappointing to lose our first game, but nothing is decided on day one.”
Played in front of a crowd of 509, Wisniewski fired promoted Diamonds ahead in the eighth minute from a Russ Dunkley flick on.
Rangers were soon level though, as Parker netted from an Alex Beck cross on the quarter hour.
The visitors restored their lead on 52 minutes. Dunkley was again involved, laying the ball off to full back Sam Brown, who crossed for Taylor to slide the ball home.
Ondre Odain missed a great chance to level soon after, before Koriya nodded the clincher three minutes from time.
There was still time for Heron to head in Scott Ginty’s cross, but it was too little, too late for Korkmaz’s men.
Deeping now turn their attention to tonight’s trip to Lincolnshire rivals Sleaford Town (7.45pm).
Dan Flack, Ryan Oliver and Jamie Forbes all return after serving suspensions on Saturday, but skipper David Burton-Jones is still missing.
See Thursday’s Spalding Guardian for a report and reaction from the Eslaforde Park clash.
Deeping: Doughty, Griffiths, Stone, Tinkler, Ashton, Holt, Beck (Gilbert), Ginty, Odain (Treacher), Heron, Parker. Not used: Bogusz, Simpson, Wheeler.
• Tonight: Sleaford v Deeping (7.45pm); Saturday: Gorleston v Deeping (FA Cup, 3pm).