COMMENT - The Steelmen’s promotion campaign was simply incredible

Corby Town celebrate their Southern League title win
Corby Town celebrate their Southern League title win

You had a feeling it would be dramatic. But did anyone really think it would go like that?

I am honest enough to admit it. When the final whistle sounded at Tatnam yesterday, this reporter who prides himself on being unbiased and neutral let out a cheer a pure delight.

Corby Town celebrate their Southern League title win

Corby Town celebrate their Southern League title win

Why? Well, the simple reason is that I witnessed something incredible.

Corby Town pulled off one of the most unlikely title wins that I can recall as they finally came out on top after a pulsating half of football.

I don’t believe for a second that the consortium of local businessmen believed this could happen after they completed their takeover of the club last summer.

But, with Tommy Wright leading the way, a Corby team that he built up virtually from scratch, came good in the most fantastic way.

Corby Town celebrate their Southern League title win

Corby Town celebrate their Southern League title win

All the leg work had been done. It came down to one game. First versus second with everything on the line.

A record crowd packed into the small ground in Dorset and the Steelmen were back by what must have been an army of between 800 and 900 fans.

It took a while for things to get going. Indeed, there was little to write home about during a first half in which neither Poole Town nor Corby clearly didn’t want to give anything away.

But, given that it was them who needed the win, the Steelmen stormed out of the blocks in the second half and set the stage for what would be an emotionally-draining 45 minutes.

Corby Town celebrate their Southern League title win

Corby Town celebrate their Southern League title win

Spencer Weir-Daley, as he has done on so many occasions, coolly slotted home before Greg Mills won and scored a penalty just five minutes later.

After 45 minutes, it was anyone’s game. After 50, Corby looked home and dry.

But we should have guessed that they wouldn’t do it the easy way.

Ben Milnes’ curling shot was tipped onto the bar by Nick Hutchings and that was the turning point as Poole substitute Luke Roberts scored from close range to give his team hope.

Corby Town celebrate their Southern League title win

Corby Town celebrate their Southern League title win

That hope turned into wild celebration when Roberts grabbed his second with 14 minutes to go. Corby had it won, then they lost it – or so we thought.

Wright threw himself on. And it was almost inevitable that he would play a role in the deciding moment. His shot was saved by Hutchings but the ball eventually fell to Weir-Daley and, well, you know the rest.

The last nine minutes were agonising. Mills went round Hutchings but couldn’t finish from a narrow angle and then, the home goalkeeper was up for the final corner.

But it was cleared and then came the final whistle.

And in that one moment, Corby Town were crowned champions. An incredible achievement for a club that was on the brink of financial meltdown just 12 months ago.

The celebrations on the pitch, followed by the presentation of the giant Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division title shield are moments that will live long in the memory.

Amazing, remarkable, sensational. That just about wraps it up for this season.

Match facts

Poole: Hutchings; Tallack (sub Roberts, 54 mins), Spetch, Whisken, Lindsay; Burbidge, Devlin, Pettefer. Gilkes (sub Walsh, 74 mins); Whelan (sub Butcher, 54 mins); Quigley. Subs not used: Seabright, Emmerson.

Steelmen: Walker; Kennedy, Anton, N’Goma, Morley; Byrne, Taylor; Mills, Milnes (sub Wright, 78 mins), Carvalho (sub Chamberlain, 71 mins). Subs not used: Thomas, Donkin, Gascoigne.

Referee: Adam Ricketts.

Goals: Weir-Daley (46 mins, 0-1), Mills pen (50 mins, 0-2), Roberts (63 mins, 1-2), Roberts (76 mins, 2-2), Weir-Daley (81 mins, 2-3).

Booking: Tallack (foul).

Attendance: 2,203.