City managed to grab all the points as a late Jamie Reid strike
condemned the new Corby manager to a losing start despite the home
team putting a makeshift Gloucester defence under real pressure
in the second half. Corby had started brightly before City got lucky
with a couple of goals, but when the scores were level at the break
the league's bottom side looked capable of getting their first home
victory. City might not get many points for attractive football
from this game, but the side worked hard and showed plenty of determination
to hang in there before delivering a sucker punch that left the
traveling support feeling they'd sneaked a win under their coats
and made off while the security guard was helping an old lady with
City started brightly out there in the lonely mists swirling around
the cavernous soulless athletics track surrounded stadium. We soon
lost our way though and Corby were all too predictabley full of
new found enthusiasm to show their new boss what they could do.
Before long there were sings our defence was creaking as Mustoe
was needed to nip the ball from the toe of Kevin Byrne as the Corby
forward poised to shoot and then a fine bit of Chris
Thompson defending unravelled as his mazey run from the back
saw him daftly gift the ball to Steve Towers who fired in long distance
drive just over the bar. The signs were there before Guiney found
room down our left and put in an inviting hanging cross that Byrne
leapt well to meet and power beyond Bath with a header that seemed
just a little too easy.
City were soon back in the running though and a lot of hard work
from Wilko and Webb in the midfield softened Corby up a little.
The equaliser still came as a bit of a shock though. Alex
Sykes seemed to be testing his range and his shot hardly seemed
one of his better efforts, but it looped off the unfortunate Bobby
White's back as the defender turned from the shot and the huge deflection
left the keeper wrong-footed as the ball dropped into the net. It'll
probably go down as an own goal, a shame for Syko as the Corby skipper
seemed anxious to pretend the whole thing had nothing to do with
him. If nothing else though it goes to show what can happen if you
chance your luck from distance - if you don't buy a ticket you won't
win the raffle (football cliche no. 74).
If that was funny a better punchline was to come. Corby suddenly
had the look of a side that had seen luck go against them before
and were loathe to do anything to stop it happening to them again.
They were slow out of defence and with Jason
Welsh given so much room he'd have been daft not to have a pop
even though he was a good 30 yards out. His shot was well hit enough
and on target, but didn't seem to really have enough on it to find
the net, especially as it was close to the keeper. However Corby's
goalie Darren Watts was climbing into his Santa outfit and he had
something very special in his sack for little Jason Welsh. The keeper
seemed to get his positioning all wrong and pushed at the ball as
if confident he'd done enough to put the shot wide for a corner.
What he didn't know was that he wasn't by the post, he was in the
centre of his goal, leaving the ball to flick into the far corner
much to his comedy double-take surprise. I'm saw Welshie was shouting
something about swerve and spin - but the poor bloke deserves some
luck and at least this time he didn't end up in casualty.
It looked as if Corby might fold but as City failed to really get
much possession around the penalty box both defences pushed up and
the match got very congested. When another goal came Corby had managed
to pull level thanks to a great bit of individual quality from Kevin
Byrne. Jephcott put in a good ball to the forward just inside the
City box, but little seemed on until Byrne brought the ball down
with his thigh and managed to spin and volley in to the City net
with one very slick movement. Sykes came close to regaining the
lead with another good shot from distance but this time Corby's
keeper had regained his bearings and tipped the ball over the bar.
Corby really came at us in the second half and at times we defended
more by instinct than by the book. at some points Corby were nipping
behind our full-backs with alarming regularity and from one good
cross Byrne could have completed his hatrick as he hooked the ball
just wide of Matt Bath's far post. Jephcott then sailed beyond Reid
with a clever trick and his pull back seemed to by-pass all of our
defenders, but fortunately this time Byrne fluffed his shot and
we battled on. We did have our own chances but we were playing on
the break and at one point Cox scampered clear on the left only
to look up and find himself completely alone. Noakes and Sykes also
had chances but neither could get close to troubling the Corby keeper.
At the back we were creaking, but at least this time Mustoe and
Thommo were doing lots of pointing and shouting and with numbers
getting back to help out we never looked like we'd given up even
when it did look a little ugly. There's nothing wrong with putting
the ball out of play when you're holding on!
The Corby fans sensed they could snatch a first home league win
of the season and were in good voice, impressive in their volume
and range of songs and given their small number perhaps the best
home support we've encountered in this campaign. You have to think
that given more to cheer them and getting out of that awful hovel
of an athletics stadium they could make Corby a tricky place to
visit. However their voices are lost in the atmosphere suffocating
vastness of the place and with just a few minutes left their hopes
were choked in their throats. Wilson came off the bench and immediately
City were getting forward with more intent. Webb saw a half-volley
fly wide after a neat Welsh lay-off, and then another Wilson run
saw a couple of mishit defensive clearances and the ball fell into
the path of Jamie Reid just
inside the Corby area. He rifled his shot low past the keeper to
spark wild celebrations on the far side of the ground. It's some
testament to the youngster's character that he was still making
that kind of forward run so late in a match when he'd endured a
rather torrid time defensively. It was all too much for Corby sub
Chris Goodman who made things even worse for the home team as he
picked up a dumb frustrated red card for stamping on Reid as he
lay prone on the far touchline. That ended things and City legged
it with all the points - now can we go on and play like this at
T-Ender Match Snaps
|Corby's Tom Guiney flies in on Jason
||Welsh on the attack as City make Corby
- erm, blue.
|Nice stand but what about
the other three sides? City escape from athletics track hell
at the Rockingham Triangle.
The late loss of Ollie Barnes
from the City defence due to a chest infection led to a massive
City reshuffle. Tim Harris sought safety in numbers, reverting
to 5-3-2 and pushing both Mustoe and Chris Thompson into central
defence with Reid and Noakes operating in wing-back type of roles.
Jason Welsh returned from his head injury alongside Jimmy Cox
"Och no, mchit y'ken traff n' vere n ASBO"
Or something. What's wrong with this place - Scotland's that way
mate. Irn-bru? McMadness.
Tim Harris tries to
change games with his substitutions and gambled at the end of this
match with a change which worked and helped win the match. Having
ridden our luck to head into the closing stages at 2-2 a lot of
managers would have taken the away point and the draw - but the
City boss gambled that the win was there. Aaron
Wilson may still not be fully fit but his five minutes unsettled
a tiring Corby defence and created enough panic in their back line
to help create the chance that fell to Reid for that cruel winner.
This is the fourth league
match Corby have thrown away a result in the last three minutes
of the game, no wonder they looked so pig sick yet not that surprised.
Our own record isn't that much better - we've chucked away three
results in the last few minutes ourselves.
Doing well in the league is all about grabbing your chances and
managing to take things out of games without necessarily producing
your best. That was certainly the case today as several Corby
players acted as Santa to provide us with an early gift-wrapped
win when at times it looked as if city would be the first visiting
side to taste defeat at the Rockingham Triangle this season. Corby
may well be left cursing their luck, but this was a game where
City showed good spirit to overcome defensive uncertainties and
withstand some pressure on a grim day at a fairly grim venue.
We may not have deserved the win on the balance of play, but while
there may not have been a great deal silky football to applaud
this was the kind of spirited performance we looked incapable
of just a few weeks ago.
There are some strange things going on in the Southern League
this season and for every sign things are righting themselves
there are other results that suggest so many teams are lost in
the Bermuda traingle. The league is still tighter than the fit
between Santa and a gas flue but the leaders aren't who you'd
Mangotsfield stay top for Christmas with a 3-1 win at Cheshunt
helped by goals from David Seal and Rob Claridge, but Hitchin
are still chasing hard in third spot with a highly impressive
5-2 away win at Yate Town, Chris Dillon again among the goals
with a hatrick. The pre-season favourites continue to stutter
with free-scoring Hemel Hemsptead hammering out an impressive
1-0 home win over Bath City, while King's Lynn's new manager Keith
Webb failed to lift the Linnets poor run with a 1-0 home defeat
to Maidenhead United. To think the rot set-in with that City win!