Saturday December 3rd 2011, KO 15:00, Conference North, Steel Park.
Corby Town 1-3 Gainsborough Trinity, attendance 553.
Admission £11, Programme £2.50, Team Sheet 20p, Badge £1, Cup of Tea £1, Kit Kat 80p.
Backing onto the old ground of Rockingham Triangle and its Main Stand, it’s a vast improvement on that old soulless venue, with its large running track which created a loss of atmosphere between pitch and stands.
Opened in the summer of 2011, Steel Park is currently really only a 2 sided venue, with a large main stand, with plenty of leg room but no end screen to cut away the cold chill wind on this December day! And a covered terrace away to the right of the stand, with about 10 steps of terracing. The other 2 sides are flat standing, but crucially there is plenty of room to develop further should Conf premier or perhaps even league football come calling in the future!
The atmosphere at Corby is like no other in England. Due to the large immigration of Scottish and to a smaller degree of Irish steel workers to the town over the last 50/60 years, you are as likely to hear a Scottish accent here as an English, and you do. The fans fly a Scottish flag and are proud of their heritage whilst still being passionate about their English club. A girl came round the ground selling Corby/Scottish badges for a bargain £1, reduced from £3, so I was happy to snap one up for my collection.
A poor 1st half, was end to end, but neither team being particularly deadly in front of goal, it looked nailed on 0-0 at HT, that is until Gainsborough’s Jonathan Williams hit a lovely 25 yard free kick into the top corner of the net in the 44th minute.
The 2nd half was much better entertainment all round. Almost immediately after the restart Ryan Kendall slotting home in the 47th minute after some shoddy defending by the Steelmen’s back line, although there was a suspicion of offside?
The game turned on the introduction of Corby sub Jordan Spruce, who immediately made an impression tucking home neatly in the 70th min just 9 mins after his introduction. He caused the Trinity back line no end of problems with his skill and pace, and it was no surprise when they were awarded, after much pressure, a 75th min penalty. Unfortunately left back Paul Mayo sent the ball sailing over the bar into the car park, to much annoyance from a Scottish Corby fan sitting in front of me, “I cannae believe it, he hit the bus!” The previous Saturday at almost the time of that match I’d seen Glen Murray miss the goal entirely with a penalty v Millwall at Selhurst Park.
Corby continued to pepper the Trinity goal, but couldn’t find the break through their 2nd half dominance deserved, and as against the run of play Trinity scored a 3rd in stoppage time, after the Corby keeper Mckenzie came rushing out of his goal, and found the ex Corby player Leon Mettam had the legs, reached the ball 1st, rounded him, slotted home, 1-3 thank you very much, the 10-15 or so Trinity fans behind the goal jigged a dance of delight, game over.
Ros visited the nearby (3.5 miles) ‘Kirby Hall’ -English Heritage, and even had the delight of the last 30 mins of the game! The stop on the way home was at the wonderful Cricketers Arms in Littleworth, Oxford, some excellent beer from the Shotover and Patriot Breweries and tasty home cooked food, chilli con carne which warmed me up from the inside!
Another enjoyable day out.