David Bell hailed a “good day” for Corby Town as his team put a line-up of Premier League legends to the sword at a packed Steel Park.
The Steelmen ran out 6-1 winners over the Marathonbet #NonLeagueChallenge Legends, which included an array of stars including Emile Heskey, Chris Waddle, William Gallas and Eidur Gudjohnsen.
A crowd of around 2,000 were on hand to witness an entertaining encounter which saw the younger legs of the Corby team prove decisive as they dominated the game for long spells.
They opened the scoring through Sam Mulready, who seized on a poor backpass from Alan Stubbs before beating Mark Crossley and Olly Brown-Hill doubled the lead after man-of-the-match Jordon Crawford had rattled the crossbar.
Legends skipper Matt Holland pulled one back late on in the first half but Corby ran away with it after the break with Crawford making it 3-1 before Mulready grabbed his second.
Substitutes Shay Brennan and Jordan O’Brien, who scored the goal of the game, rounded things off while former Queens Park Rangers man Trevor Sinclair sent a penalty high and wide after Heskey had been fouled.
It was the day to remember that everyone at the club had hoped for and Corby boss Bell couldn’t have been happier.
“I am delighted, delighted for all involved with the club and a special mention has to go to the supporters,” Bell said.
“They have had two years of down times really and today was all about us trying to put a good show on for them and them enjoying their day out, which they I think they have.
“We have scored six good goals and I don’t know how many times we hit the bar and the post. It could have been nine or 10, maybe more.
“We made a lot of changes in the second half because those lads have been with us through pre-season and we felt it was only right that they were part of the day.
“It was a good run-out, we have come through it injury free and I think everything has gone right off the pitch. All-in-all, it’s been a good day.”
Bell, meanwhile, paid tribute to Marathonbet and the #NonLeagueChallenge for putting on the spectacle.
Corby earned a £10,000 windfall and the high-profile friendly after Jason Lee’s swig of a fan’s pint of cider after a goal last season was voted the best non-League celebration of the campaign.
And Bell was pleased to see so many legends on show while also admitting his team will have to think of a new celebration in a bid to win next season’s competition.
“I was delighted with the side they brought,” the Steelmen boss added.
“I grew up watching these players on television and there was some fantastic talent on show.
“Even though your body slows down, your mind doesn’t. You could see in certain phases of play that they were oozing class.
“It was brilliant, they were in good spirits, they have had a good run-out and we so have we.
“Fair play to Marathonbet and we will have to try to come up with another celebration to try to get it next year!”
The Steelmen will be back in action with their penultimate pre-season friendly of the summer on Tuesday night when they host a Northampton Town XI at Steel Park.