Corby Town made it a merry Christmas for their followers as they returned to action with a convincing 3-0 success over Coleshill Town at Steel Park.
It had been 11 days since the Steelmen had played but there were few signs of ring rust as they turned in a resilient display to ensure they stayed in touch with the top two in the Evo-Stik League South Division One Central.
Steve Kinniburgh’s men made a flying start, although there was an element of good fortune for the opening goal which came inside the first two minutes.
Jordon Crawford received the ball on the right corner of the penalty area. He cut inside and was looking for the far corner with his left-footed strike but it took a wicked deflection and left visiting goalkeeper Paul Hathaway rooted to the spot as it nestled inside the near post.
There wasn’t a great deal to choose between the two sides after that. But, with their second chance of the game, Corby doubled their lead just past the quarter-hour.
A free-kick into the box was only half-cleared as far as Connor Kennedy and his volley looked to take another deflection as it deceived Hathaway and found its way in.
Coleshill rarely threatened at the other end, although Dan George had to help a Joe Smith corner over the bar before the Steelmen goalkeeper turned a 20-yard effort from former Corby man Stuart Hendrie round the post.
After a slow start to the second half, Corby created a good chance to make it 3-0 when Jordan Francis flicked the ball into the path of Joel Carta but he fired wide of the target with just Hathaway to beat.
But the game was safe after a crucial 60 seconds.
Coleshill created one of their best chances of the afternoon when Nick Seabourne nodded wide from a good position after a good cross from the right by Liam Molesworth.
But Corby went straight up the other end and put the game to bed with Kennedy grabbing his second, albeit with the aid of yet another deflection, after the ball broke nicely for him in the area.
The game looked to be petering out after that but there was some late concern for the Steelmen after substitute Ben Bradshaw was stretchered off with a back injury, although he was up and walking following the final whistle.
And Coleshill were so nearly gifted a late consolation when George missed his kick from a pass-back but raced back to clear as the ball headed for the goal with Molesworth putting the pressure on.
But the final outcome was fully deserved as the Steelmen were rewarded for a solid display.
The same again on Saturday when they take on Cambridge City at Steel Park would do very nicely...
Steelmen: George; M Smith (sub Anton, 53 mins), Gordon, Mulligan, Warburton; Ling, Kennedy; Crawford (sub Omotola, 68 mins), Carta (sub Bradshaw, 76 mins), Francis; Sandy. Subs not used: Robinson, D Smith.
Coleshill: Hathaway; Deakin, Clarke, Jackson (sub R Baldwin, 44 mins), Webb; Halsall; Molesworth, Tymon (sub Hendrie, 20 mins), J Smith, Dainty; Seabourne (sub McFarlane, 66 mins). Subs not used: K Baldwin.
Referee: Ben Cooke.
Goals: Crawford (2 mins, 1-0), Kennedy (16 mins, 2-0), Kennedy (65 mins, 3-0).
Bookings: Crawford, Clarke, Ling (all fouls),
Northants Telegraph man-of-the-match: Connor Kennedy - The midfielder produced a typical swashbuckling display. He loves a tackle and won plenty of them and also helped made things happen at the other end of the pitch. He has also added goals to his game this season, which is encouraging. He was helped by a couple of deflections on this occasion but he was in the right place when it counted. A very good day for him.