Corby Town remain unbeaten this season and progressed to the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup with a routine 2-0 home success over Hertford Town at Steel Park.
But what did we learn?
The Steelmen just look solid.
You’ve probably seen me write this before but one of the most simplistic statements in football is ‘if you don’t concede goals, you don’t lose games’. Corby have plenty of players who can unlock an opposing defence but one of the big features of the early part of this season has been their ability to keep their opponents out. Aside from a crazy 20 minutes or so against Dunstable Town in the 3-3 draw at Steel Park, the Steelmen have just been solid. Gary Mulligan and Jamie Anton have forged a good partnership at the heart of the defence, you won’t find many better full-backs at this level than Miles Smith and Sam Warburton and, in Dan George, they have found a goalkeeper who is getting better and better by the week. This game represented their fourth clean sheet in seven matches, last season they kept four in 47 (yes boys, I know you read my tweets!). And therein lies the big difference so far.
Elliot Sandy is an influential player and character.
It was a statement of intent when Corby confirmed the signing of the frontman over the summer. He is a player who has been there and got the t-shirt at this and higher levels in the past. He’s won plenty and he’s scored a lot of goals for various clubs along the way. He’s the first pick for the lone striker’s role and he’s certainly producing at the moment. He’s working hard, he’s scoring goals and he is leading from the front. He’s doing everything we have come to expect from him. But he is also one of the more experienced players in the squad and is clearly relishing being a key figure in the dressing-room. Sandy certainly holds one of the keys if this is to be a big season at Steel Park.
Confidence is high, the spirit is good.
It goes without saying that an unbeaten run and winning matches breeds confidence and makes a dressing-room a happy place. But you have to seize the moment when it happens as it only makes it stronger for the times when things might not be going your way. Clearly, there is a lot of confidence in the Corby squad at the moment and the spirit is sky high. That was evident following this game as the club posted a number of videos of players singing their initiation songs on social media. It made for entertaining watching but we definitely learned that the majority of them should stick to football!
People are starting to take notice.
I think I noted when analysing the Steelmen’s home success over AFC Dunstable that they were deserving of more people coming through the gates. And their exploits since the season started look like they are being noted. After two wins leading up to this game, the attendance at Steel Park went through the 500 barrier for the first time since April last year, a sure sign that Steve Kinniburgh and his players are doing plenty right at the moment.
You can expect Corby to prioritise their competitions this season.
We are heading into that crazy part of the season where knockout competitions come into play.
The Steelmen play Peterborough Sports in the preliminary round of the Southern League Challenge Cup on Wednesday night, they are at Whitworth in the NFA Hillier Senior Cup next Tuesday night and they are, of course, still in the FA Cup. Steve Kinniburgh was asked about all that following this game and made it clear that the main FA competitions and the league are the big priorities for this season. So they should be. You can expect significant changes to his starting line-up at Steel Park on Wednesday evening.