Cleveland strikes late for super Steelmen

Corby Town manager Tommy Wright
Corby Town manager Tommy Wright

Cleveland Taylor was the dramatic late hero for Corby Town as they emphasised their Evo-Stik Southern League title credentials with a 1-0 success over leaders Poole Town.

A game of few chances appeared to heading for a goalless draw until the Steelmen shook the league up in the third minute of stoppage-time.

Manager Tommy Wright set it up and captain Taylor finished it off to spark incredible scenes of celebration from a 600-plus crowd.

Whether it was deserved or not is up for debate. But what can’t be debated now is that, at the most wonderful time of the year, Corby are very much in the title shake-up.

The main team news for the Steelmen was the absence of centre-half Paul Malone, which meant Edi Appleton partnered Jamie Anton at the heart of the back four.

Poole started the better and could have been in front inside the first three minutes.

Central defender Michael Walker saw a shot deflected away by Anton following a free-kick and then, from the resulting corner, the centre-half rose above everyone to direct a header towards the top corner, only for Paul Walker to intervene with a terrific tip over the bar.

Jamie Whisken also headed over as the leaders made a lively start.

But the game soon settled down into a cagey affair with the Steelmen showing plenty of endeavour going forward but lacked the crucial final pass or shot.

They did threaten when Spencer Weir-Daley’s shot was deflected away for a corner from which Appleton probably should have done better when he headed just wide.

Steve Devlin almost caught Paul Walker out with an outrageous lob from just inside the Corby half before the break but it sailed over the bar.

Corby started the second half with plenty of purpose and there were no takers when Taylor fizzed a ball across the face of the visiting goal.

Poole responded with Marvin Brooks heading wide from a Devlin free-kick just past the hour mark while Michael Walker, a real threat from set-pieces, was off target from corner.

Boss Wright brought himself on for the final quarter-of-an-hour but it was Devlin who continued to threaten for Poole and he sent another long-range effort just over.

Greg Mills shot wide for the Steelmen as they chased a winner and it didn’t look like coming until the dramatic finish.

Wright raced away on the right and drove the ball across goal. It bobbled around and then Taylor stepped up to score into the corner and send the highest home attendance of the season at Steel Park into raptures.

The celebrations on the final whistle that followed almost immediately spoke volumes.

The belief is most definitely there. And once the Christmas turkey has been digested, another big at St Neots Town awaits on Boxing Day with Corby heading there as genuine title contenders.

Steelmen: P Walker; Kennedy, Appleton, Anton, Thomas; Milnes, Byrne (sub Carvalho, 82 mins), Taylor, Mills; Chamberlain (sub Wright, 73 mins), Weir-Daley. Subs not used: Bentley, Donkin, Hartley.

Poole: Hutchings; Jermyn, M Walker, Pettifer, Martin; Burbidge, Devlin, Whisken, Maloney (sub Gillespie, 66 mins); Brooks; Roberts. Subs not used: Thomas, Lindsay, Davis.

Referee: Nick Hobbis.

Goal: Taylor (90 mins, 1-0).

Attendance: 602.