Corby Town returned to winning ways with a success over one of their fellow high-flyers in the Evo-Stik League South Division One Central.
But what did we learn?
Corby needed to bounce back and they did it in impressive style.
The 2-1 home loss to Dunstable Town was certainly something of a surprise setback for the Steelmen and, after having a week to stew over it, they produced the perfect reaction. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Didcot sit in fourth place in the table and also recorded a win over Corby in the reverse fixture in December. But Steve Kinniburgh’s team set the record straight and, more importantly, hit back from the previous weekend’s loss. It was a good game actually, Didcot were as good as any side to have visited Steel Park this season. But the Steelmen scored their goals at the right times and when they opened up a 3-1 advantage 10 minutes into the second half, the final outcome never really looked in doubt. The task was to bounce back and Corby were up to it.
The title may well evade them but this season has been one of progress for the Steelmen.
There is still plenty of football to be played but, barring a massive collapse from leaders Peterborough Sports that really doesn’t look like happening at the moment, it looks like automatic promotion may well evade the Steelmen. That doesn’t mean they should give up the ghost, indeed I am sure they won’t. Nonetheless, if this season does end with them in the play-off places then that represents some serious progress under the leadership of Steve Kinniburgh. It has been a tough few years at Steel Park but the manager has built a good squad this season and they have already gone a long way towards guaranteeing themselves an extended campaign. To be in such a position in the middle of February is something that should be applauded.
Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson enjoyed a decent debut. More signings could now be on the way.
Steve Kinniburgh confirmed during last week that he had been given the go ahead to make some additions to his squad for the run-in and he wasted no time in bringing striker Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson from Grantham Town. He was thrown straight into the starting line-up and turned in a very decent display. He set up the second goal for Jordan Francis and looked to be a willing worker, which is just what Kinniburgh wants. The manager revealed after the game that he expects to make further signings this week to help boost the strength in depth of the squad. The board must be applauded for backing their manager at this stage of the campaign and, all being well, the additions that are made will help push the Steelmen on towards the promotion they are seeking.
It would be easy to try to change Connor Kennedy but Corby must keep him the way he is.
Connor Kennedy has, without any doubt, been one of the star performers for the Steelmen this season. The big challenge laid down to the combative midfielder was to add goals to his game and he has done just that. He scored another excellent goal in this game. He has now scored in four successive matches and has moved into double figures for the campaign. But there is another side to his game. He loves a tackle, he gets around the pitch and doesn’t shirk a challenge. Sometimes, he can be a bit over-exuberant with it all and that was the case late on in this game. He was sent-off for a late challenge and now faces a ban. He will be missed but it’s important he is allowed to continue playing his natural game. If there is a way to harness his eagerness to win tackles then so be it. But to change his approach to the game would take too much away from what he offers. Kennedy will only get better with time and the Steelmen must allow that development to happen as naturally as possible.
This has been said already this season but a crucial period in the campaign is approaching for the Steelmen.
Corby must try to keep up the momentum right up until the end of the season. There are still some big games to come and, if they pick up positive results in those, you never know what might happen. But a key period is now upon them. From next Saturday, they will play four matches in the space of 11 days and the third of those is a home clash against leaders Peterborough Sports. Once that busy run of matches is done, the Steelmen will only have nine games of the regular campaign to go. It’s now a race to the line. A play-off place is looking like it is pretty much in the bag. But the next step must be to try to finish second to secure home supremacy in the extended season. And if that can achieved and there is a bit of time left, then maybe they will still have a shot at the title. Once that run of four matches in a short space of time is complete, we will know exactly where the Steelmen stand.