VERDICT – The hope is extinguished as Corby are relegated

Adam Frisch is consoled by Corby Town fans after the Steelmen were relegated from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division. Pictures by David Tilley
Adam Frisch is consoled by Corby Town fans after the Steelmen were relegated from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division. Pictures by David Tilley
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By now, it will most probably be sinking in. Corby Town have been relegated for the second time in the space of a year.

Talk about a day not turning out how you expected.

Tempers flare in the incident that led to Corby Town's Aaron Brown being red-carded

Tempers flare in the incident that led to Corby Town's Aaron Brown being red-carded

The Steelmen and a very healthy band of followers made the short trip up the M1 bursting with confidence that they could finish the job, particularly after they had performed so well in a 3-0 win over Grantham Town on Easter Monday.

In the end, everyone associated with the Steelmen were left with that dreadful feeling of emptiness and devastation as relegation was confirmed after they were well beaten 4-1 at Coalville Town.

Let’s be clear, this team that finished the season, which was assembled by Gary Mills and eventually led by Steve Kinniburgh, gave Corby hope when all seemed lost.

They were 12 points adrift of safety and rock-bottom of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division after the dreadful 4-0 defeat at Grantham Town on Boxing Day.

The terrific revival since the turn of the year looked like it would result in the great escape, remarkably they went into the final day with their fate in their own hands and all that just makes what unfolded even harder to take.

Because the truth is, sadly and for whatever reason, the Steelmen players choked when it mattered the most.

Whether it was complacency at feeling the job was already done, who knows? But on a day when they needed to win to ensure they weren’t relying on anyone else, Corby produced a woeful display that was rewarded with what it deserved in the end.

They gifted Coalville a 2-0 half-time lead with Nat Watson heading home unchallenged for the opener on the quarter-hour before the same player converted from close-range after good work down the left from Alex Dean just eight minutes later.

It could, and probably should, have been worse when Marcus Marshall shot wide and once that had happened, Kinniburgh reacted with a change of shape by throwing on Connor Kennedy in place of Steven Leslie, who had earlier seen a free-kick tipped over by Matt Coton.

David Bell saw a free-kick crash off the crossbar and Spencer Weir-Daley had an effort well blocked by Marshall before the break.

But once Marshall had volleyed home at the far post seven minutes into the second half, all eyes were on social media and the match between Workington and Sutton Coldfield Town.

With the Steelmen unable to do it themselves, a goal for Workington would have changed the whole afternoon but as time ticked on, it simply never came.

Corby’s misery was compounded when Aaron Brown was sent-off for an off-the-ball-incident at a corner but the 10 men did rally and they got on the scoresheet when Jordon Crawford’s header was deemed to have crossed the line when it was fumbled by Coton.

A comeback was never really in the offing though and few from a Corby perspective cared when Rory Coleman’s shot into the far corner completed the scoring late on.

The news filtered through from Cumbria that Sutton had drawn 0-0, the devastation set in and it quickly turned to anger with a number of Corby fans quick to make their point to the players.

That, thankfully, calmed down. While this day was a complete let-down, relegation wasn’t the fault of this group of players.

The damage was done early in the season as a dreadful winless run in the first two or three months of the campaign really left Corby with an impossible mountain to climb.

They so nearly planted their flag in the summit but, instead, fell at the last few steps.

Now it’s about picking up the pieces, and that will be no easy task...

Coalville: Coton; Bryant, Jenno, Torr, Coleman; Marshall (sub Stokes, 76 mins), Towers (sub Anton Brown, 63 mins), Walshe, Dean; Lavelle-Moore (sub Antonio, 69 mins), Watson. Subs not used: Freeman, Bowles.

Steelmen: Grant; Smith (sub R Bell, 80 mins), Aaron Brown, Lee, Wildin; Crawford, D Bell (sub Frisch, 53 mins), Milnes, Leslie (sub Kennedy, 25 mins); Trainer, Weir-Daley. Subs not used: Anton, Draper.

Referee: Leslie Sinclair.

Goals: Watson (15 mins 1-0), Watson (23 mins, 2-0), Marshall (52 mins, 3-0), Crawford (68 mins, 3-1), Coleman (90 mins, 4-1).

Bookings: Smith, Stokes (both fouls), Coton (unsporting behaviour).

Sending-off: Brown (off-the-ball-incident).

Attendance: 467.