Corby Town 2 AFC Dunstable 1 - Five Things We Learned

Jake Bettles made a big impact as a substitute as he scored the Steelmen's equaliser against AFC Dunstable. Pictures by Alison Bagley
Jake Bettles made a big impact as a substitute as he scored the Steelmen's equaliser against AFC Dunstable. Pictures by Alison Bagley

Corby Town staged another second-half fightback at Steel Park to maintain their unbeaten start to the new season.

But what did we learn?

Manager Steve Kinniburgh congratulates match-winner Elliot Sandy after his penalty completed Corby's second-half fightback at Steel Park

Manager Steve Kinniburgh congratulates match-winner Elliot Sandy after his penalty completed Corby's second-half fightback at Steel Park

The fighting spirit is great but Steelmen shouldn’t leave it so late.

Nobody can question the battling qualities and fighting spirit of Steve Kinniburgh’s Corby Town team. He installed a never-say-die attitude during last season and, despite some changes in personnel, he has done the same this time around. They showed it when they fought back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with Dunstable Town in the FA Cup and they did it again this time.

But, despite them having their moments before it, it seemed like it took the sending-off of Kyle Ajayi to really spring Corby into life. By the end, they were worthy winners. But they have good enough players to take the game to other teams without needing something to spark it. Not every team will come to Steel Park and have players who lose their discipline like on this occasion. It’s up to Corby to ensure they start games like they are finishing them at home at the moment.

Jake Bettles - the super-sub!

I am extremely wary of labelling someone as a ‘super-sub’. It’s not a tag I particularly like and I am sure it’s one players themselves don’t really enjoy. But it’s hard not to use it when it comes to Jake Bettles. Here’s a player who moved up from the United Counties League and has looked right at home at a higher level. He gives it everything he has got whether he starts or comes off the bench. But that high work-rate has been more noticeable as a substitute when Corby have needed a spark. He did it again this time with an energetic display and an excellent goal to get them back on level terms. Label him what you like but he is someone who can and has made a difference.

Don’t let the good work of individuals go unnoticed.

So often, we allow ourselves to judge everything by the final scoreline when it comes to football. And why shouldn’t we? It is, after all, a results-based business. But during matches, there are always unsung heroes who make the difference between winning and losing. There were a couple of such performances at Steel Park on Saturday. Ben Bradshaw was pushed into a more advanced role and revelled in it. Playing as ‘a 10’, Bradshaw pulled the strings in the midfield and was the catalyst for much that Corby did from an offensive point of view, not least when his superb through-ball put Jake Bettles in for the equaliser. The other one who deserves some real credit is goalkeeper Dan George. It was a position that caused Steve Kinniburgh something of a headache during the summer but he went with the young stopper and has been repaid so far. Solid when dealing with crosses, a good kicker and capable of making good saves when needed, George is showing just why the manager put his faith in him. And the fans agree after he was voted the club’s player of the month for August.

It’s been a great start, this Corby team deserves a bigger backing.

Trust me to always find a negative! Attendances have always been something of a sore point for the Steelmen. It’s very much a case that if there is a team doing well then the attendances rise. Well, they have a team who are doing well and they deserve more support. They are hovering around the 350 mark in the early stages. That deserves to be higher and I am sure it will only increase if they continue to produce the same passion, desire and results that they are at the moment.

Foundations for a promotion challenge are being laid.

It’s early and it’s only a start. But what happens now always gives you an idea of what might lie ahead. The manager has made no secret of what he wants to achieve this season and the early indications are that he has built a squad that should be capable of challenging for promotion. In general, they have looked solid defensively and they have players who are capable of conjuring up moments of magic to unlock opposing defences. A good start was vital, especially in what is only a 38-game league campaign. The Steelmen have enjoyed a decent first few weeks and have given themselves a platform to build on.