Thursday, 18 August 2011

Corby Press On

The back of the old main stand (dressing rooms still in use) and a symbolic sunset

"No-one likes us, we don't care ..."
See what I mean about non-league sunsets, though?
To be fair this old-school spot-the-ball still is unrepresentative of Corby's style but I just had a bad night through the lens, OK?
Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Wednesday 17 August 2011 at Steel Park
Corby Town 6
(Ozmen 19, Smith 24,41, Rhead 34,58, Burgess 60)
Bishop’s Stortford 1 (Bakare 40)
Conference North (Step 2)
First league match at the club’s new home, and the second example on my personal list (after Haverhill Rovers) of a non-league club being re-visited because of a new stadium.
This match in one sentence
A comprehensive victory for the home side, with the destination of the points decided well before half-time.
So what?
Corby Town sit at the top of the table, for what it’s worth at this stage of the season, and this follows a good win at upwardly mobile FC Halifax Town last weekend.  Bishop’s Stortford had a disrupted and unhappy summer after being moved to the Conference North because of events outside their control, and high-profile manager Ian Walker is facing a tough season.  They sit at the foot of the table after two defeats.
A random invention that would have the same impact on my personal happiness and well-being as watching this match
Buckets of free-standing electricity that could have got the tea bar open on time – after power problems, the refreshment facilities eventually opened at half-time and I now have a new hopping queueing record of 35 minutes.  Stewards looked the other way as people suddenly noticed their best friends at the front of the queue and placed proxy orders for small European cities.

Fortunately the team’s performance on the pitch kept everyone in a good mood.  The shutter had opened ten minutes before kickoff before being closed again within a minute.  At this point (and I kid you not), The Kaiser Chiefs’ “I Predict a Riot” started up over the PA, and was allowed to run for a full minute before being abruptly switched off.  Someone must have had a word, I think.  Many people behind me were in that queue until around the 80th minute of the game.
The drama unfolds
Here’s my scene-setter clip from the early minutes.

Corby imposed themselves on the game right from the kickoff.  Bishop’s Stortford ‘keeper Joe Wright (a debutant? Or if not, certainly a change from their first game) had already been busy before the first goal after 18 minutes.  Matt Rhead won the ball in the air and his knockback from a cross was headed in by James Ozmen, arriving on a run from midfield.  He had missed a good chance only moments earlier when he tried a placed shot after another intelligent setup by Rhead.  1-0

Wright was in action again almost immediately as it became clear that Corby were up for this.  Much credit for the second goal goes to Andy Burgess, who beat two defenders on a run into the box.  His shot was parried by Wright but fell to Jordan Smith.  He put the rebound into the net, perhaps not exactly in the way that he intended but no-one cared.  2-0

The third was scored by Rhead himself after 34 minutes.  A curling Burgess freekick got the faintest of flick-ons and the striker found space at the far post.  3-0

For the neutral, it was getting tedious – I much prefer games that stay competitive or have dramatic hinge points – but Michael Bakare’s finish from a through ball to pull one back was greeted with silence from a partisan crowd of just over 820.  3-1

It took just over a minute to restore the three-goal margin, however, as the visitors failed to cope with Smith’s physical presence in the six-yard box.  Burgess again can claim an assist.  4-1 at half-time

In the second half, Rhead headed in a Burgess corner and Burgess himself got on the scoresheet after an excellent pass by Andy Hall just as I put the milk in my coffee.  There was still half-an-hour to go.  5-1 and 6-1

The last third of the game was relatively uneventful as substitutions were made and the vocal section of the terrace turned its attention to taunting Ian Walker.  As explained, this is my second visit to a Corby home game, and the supporters are clearly quite happy with their “No-one likes us, We don’t care” image.  I think Steel Park will see some more results like this during the season.  Final score 6-1
Honourable mentions for Jordan Smith and Matt Rhead, but for all-round contribution tonight it has to be Andy Burgess of Corby Town.
A snippet from the programme
This is a glossy league-size effort which will challenge my storage system for the season, but they are forgiven because it is very professionally done.  The player interview is with Steve Towers, playing his 201st game for the club this evening.  “The club has changed massively from when I made my debut.  It’s a lot more professional now and really feels like a proper football club.  You get the sense that the club really wants to go places, and the only way is up.  For a while we were content with just surviving, but now we’re aiming a lot higher.”
What I learned today
That it is possible to have a still camera and a digital video camera at a game of football with seven goals and not get a decent image of any of them!  With hindsight, I was quite grumpy after the teabar experience and glad when the final whistle went.  Thrashings are strangely unenjoyable for neutrals.
What Next?
I will be around the Midlands at the weekend for some FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round action.  See the @GrahamYapp twitter feed for first news.

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