Jon Dunham - One last chance for Steelmen on ‘Survival Saturday’

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

And so, it has come down to this – one afternoon, two matches and one survivor.

If this day had come in a division higher up the ladder, the television companies would be licking their lips at the prospect of such a dramatic finish to a season.

Histon sit just above the relegation zone in the Blue Square Bet North on 43 points. Corby Town are in the final relegation place, also on 43 points but one goal worse off than their Cambridgeshire rivals.

And so, the matches at Steel Park in Corby and the Horsfall Stadium in Bradford take centre-stage as the Steelmen host Gainsborough Trinity and the Stutes head to Bradford Park Avenue.

This is going to be one of those days. Action, confusion, drama – all of it will be on show and when the smoke clears one team is going to be elated, the other deflated.

We could go into the reasons why Corby find themselves in the position they are. Make no mistake, if they are relegated tomorrow afternoon then two two matches against Droylsden and, particularly Hinckley United, will haunt them for a long, long time.

But this is now all about the Steelmen turning it on for one last time.

First and foremost, they have to go and beat Gainsborough. Having watched them on a number of occasions this season, it is something they are more than capable of if they perform to their maximum.

And should they do that then at least, on this given day, they will be able to say they did everything in their power to beat the drop.

So it is crucial, as Chris Plummer has already observed, that the Corby players focus solely on their job. They will know full well from the crowd reaction what is happening elsewhere. But they must retain concentration and ensure they keep their side of the bargain. What happens in Bradford is out of their hands. What will be, will be and all that.

The match seems to have caught the imagination of the town with the club offering free entry and donations being welcomed towards Lakelands Hospice.

The Corby Town Supporters Trust have been out and about all week and even scaled the Corby Cube’s roof to put a giant Steelmen flag on display for the town to see.

It seems a shame that it takes a game like this to get the town talking about THEIR football club. Again, that is a debate for another time. But there can’t be any excuses for the players this time. They will be playing in front of big crowd with, what will hopefully be, a cracking atmosphere.

There is a large part of me that likes Plummer. He has got on with his job on a low budget and given a side who lost their first five games of the season and real chance of surviving.

Yes, the job should have been completed a while ago. But this is where they are – one game, one final chance to save themselves.

It is now up to the fans to shout loud and proud and for the players to ensure they leave everything on the pitch. If that happens then they might just get away with it.

It promises to be a thrilling and emotional afternoon at Steel Park and I wish Plummer and his men the very best of luck for it.

It is all about ‘Survival Saturday’. Bring it on!