VERDICT – Impressive Steelmen see off Gloucester

Steelmen boss Tommy Wright
Steelmen boss Tommy Wright

Is this a sign of things to come?

We will have to wait and see about that but after two games it seems like Corby Town aren’t going to take long to adjust to life in the Vanarama National League North.

Three goals in a sensational 12-minute first-half spell all-but ended this contest as the Steelmen carried on from where they left off last season.

Those three goals proved to be enough as Corby completed a 3-1 victory over Gloucester City and, in the process, send a clear message that they won’t be here just to make up the numbers.

It was their quick, free-flowing, attacking football that got them to where they are. And it seems they will be looking to do the same again this season.

Leading the way was a young man named Kabonga Tshimanga.

His arrival on loan from Milton Keynes Dons had been announced earlier in the day and, for the 73 minutes he was on the pitch, it’s clear to see why he is so highly rated.

The Gloucester defence simply couldn’t handle his electric pace and, with Greg Mills who looks trimmer than he did last season, also firing on all cylinders, it proved to be a recipe for success.

At the weekend, Corby took just 30 seconds to open the scoring and they were quick out of the blocks yet again.

There was an early scare when Connor Thompson’s shot deflected off Duane Courtney but it was safely gathered by Paul Walker.

And from there, the Steelmen took full control.

Mills had the ball in the net but had already been flagged for offside before he raced clear again and was denied by the legs of visiting goalkeeper Jasbir Singh.

But there was no mistake on 12 minutes when Tshimanga introduced himself to the Corby fans.

The ball broke kindly for him and he darted away from his marker before clipping the ball past Singh and into the far corner.

But if that was good, then what followed was sensational.

A corner from the right was only half cleared to Sammons in the left channel. And he didn’t think twice before curling an exquisite shot past the helpless Singh and into the far top corner.

It was relentless from the Steelmen and they made it 3-0 inside 24 minutes.

Tshimanga was involved again as he got in behind Matt Williams who hauled the striker down.

A clear-cut penalty and Mills stepped up to thump the ball home from 12 yards as Singh went the wrong way.

With that, the job seemed done and dusted as a shell-shocked Gloucester side struggled to make any inroads.

They did threaten before the break, however.

Aaron Brown was forced into a fine block to deny Harry White before Walker had his palms stung by a fierce effort from Obi Anorud.

And the visitors, with a few words ringing in their ears no doubt, started the second period the better as they looked for a way back into the game.

But the Corby defence held strong and before too long, the Steelmen were back at it.

They were awarded a second penalty and Williams was the culprit again as he brought down Mills after he raced clear. The frontman stepped up again but this time Singh saved well and then did even better with a reflex stop to deny Anton Brown’s header from the rebound.

The chances kept coming for Corby and Aaron Brown volleyed over with the goal at his mercy before Singh came to his side’s rescue again, this time blocking Tshimanga’s shot after he sped clear.

Gloucester hit back and Walker did well to block another Anorud shot after he created a bit of space in the area.

Things calmed down somewhat after that and Tshimanga took his bow when he was replaced by Spencer Weir-Daley with 17 minutes to go.

There were chances at either end with Gloucester out of luck when substitute Joe Parker’s good run ended with a shot that beat Walker but rebounded off the post.

Mills fizzed an effort wide at the other end and Gloucester finally got a goal for their efforts in stoppage-time when Anorus, a threat all night, raced away and beat Walker with a good finish.

That would have annoyed Corby boss Tommy Wright but it didn’t take the gloss off what was an impressive display from his team.

Rest assured, Wright and his players won’t be getting carried away despite this fine start to the new season at a higher level.

But, for the time being, it should be savoured...

Steelmen: Walker; Kennedy, Courtney, Aaron Brown, Carruthers; Taylor, Anton Brown; Mills, Sammons (sub Revan, 84 mins), Milnes; Tshimanga (sub Weir-Daley, 73 mins). Subs not used: Thomas, Donkin, N Wright.

Gloucester: Singh; Hamilton, Williams, Avery, Jones; Liddiard, Thompson (sub Hicks, 76 mins); Connolly, Staley (sub Parker, 65 mins), White (sub Symons, 65 mins); Anorud. Subs not used: Hall, Richards.

Referee: Ben Cooke.

Goals: Tshimanga (12 mins, 1-0), Sammons (21 mins, 2-0), Mills pen (24 mins, 3-0).

Bookings: Milnes (failing to retreat), Liddiard, Hamilton, Williams (all fouls).

Attendance: 650.