VERDICT: Kennedy heads Steelmen to a home success

Connor Kennedy grabbed the only goal of the game as Corby Town claimed a 1-0 victory over Sutton Coldfield Town in their first home match of the season
Connor Kennedy grabbed the only goal of the game as Corby Town claimed a 1-0 victory over Sutton Coldfield Town in their first home match of the season

Connor Kennedy’s first-half header proved to be enough to get Corby Town up-and-running at Steel Park as they secured a 1-0 success over Sutton Coldfield Town.

A sound defensive display proved to be the key as the Steelmen restricted their visitors to, in the main, scraps in their own penalty area.

At the other end, they might have had more than they ended up with but boss Steve Kinniburgh simply wanted his team to build on their opening-day draw at Cambridge City and they did just that.

It wasn’t a vintage display but Corby did what they had to do and did it with plenty of energy and confidence to ensure they are well in touch with the early leaders in the Evo-Stik South League Division One Central.

Kinniburgh made one change to his starting line-up following the 1-1 stalemate at Cambridge with Jake Bettles coming in for Joel Carta, who dropped to the bench.

It was a fairly uneventful opening quarter-of-an-hour with the visitors registering the first efforts on target but Dan George was equal to both.

But the Steelmen broke the deadlock on 19 minutes.

A big of magic from Jordon Crawford saw him flick the ball over a defender and race away to eventually win a corner.

And it was all-too simple from there as Ben Bradshaw sent it over with Kennedy rising to plant his header into the far corner.

Crawford went close from a narrow angle and then turned provider as his cross was nodded wide by Elliot Sandy.

But the visitors really should have gone in all-square at the break as a neat flick sent Matthew Hearsey clear on goal but he got the final finish horribly wrong as he scooped the ball high over the bar with just George to beat.

The Steelmen made a quick start after the break and had the chances to put the game to bed.

Sam Warburton ran fully 70 yards before driving a shot wide and then Crawford was out of luck when, after his first effort had been blocked, his second took a deflection and cannoned off the post before being cleared.

And Bettles probably should have done better than drag his shot off target after Crawford’s attempt at a spectacular effort fell nicely for him.

With those chances not being taken, it left the door slightly ajar for the visitors and Haughton sent a well-struck shot just over the bar from the edge of the area.

But, in truth, George was never really troubled and Sutton’s hopes of salvaging a point took a final blow when substitute Dominic Dell was sent-of after the red mist descended despite his team being awarded a free-kick.

Once the handbags had stopped, Dell was given his marching orders while a couple bookings were also dished out.

From there, Corby were happy to see things out and Bradshaw had the final opportunity when he low shot was gobbled up by Lewis Gwilliams.

In the end, another goal wasn’t needed as the Steelmen wrapped up a well-deserved first home win of the season.

The early signs appear to be quite encouraging after a good point on the road was followed up by this.

This is a club that is need of a good run of positive results and the foundations to make that happen have been well and truly laid.

Steelmen: D George; Smith, Mulligan, Anton, Warburton; Kennedy, Bradshaw; Francis (sub Ling, 89 mins), Sandy (sub Allen, 90 mins), Crawford; Bettles (sub Carta, 85 mins). Subs not used: Robinson, McBride.

Sutton Coldfield: Gwilliams; B George, Mutton, Clarke, Beresford; Haughton, Palmer, Ellis, Hearsey (sub Letford, 55 mins); Brown (sub Dell, 65 mins), Nadat (sub Cancannon, 65 mins). Subs not used: Dawes, Lomas.

Referee: Alan Cox.

Goal: Kennedy (19 mins, 1-0).

Bookings: Smith (unsporting behaviour), Haughton (dissent).

Sending-off: Dell (violent conduct).

Northants Telegraph man of the match: Connor Kennedy - There were plenty of contenders but the midfielder’s first-half header proved to be the decisive moment in the game. But there was more to his game than that. A typically energetic display as he and his midfield sparring partner Ben Bradshaw got around the pitch, made tackles and tried to make things happen. Kennedy burst onto the scene not that long ago and has gained valuable experience, which he is now starting to use. Yellow cards come with the territory for any aggressive player but that’s where his strength lies. An encouraging individual display which must be built on.

Attendance: 362.