VERDICT - Magnificent Steelmen hit the leaders for six
Corby Town sent a clear message to the rest of the Evo-Stik League South Division One Central as they put leaders Bromsgrove Sporting to the sword on a stunning night at Steel Park.
Make no mistake, the Steelmen were worth every inch of the 6-0 scoreline as they terrorised the visiting defence while being clinical with the chances that came their way.
From one to 11, Steve Kinniburgh’s men were outstanding and they showed no mercy on a team hotly tipped to be knocking on the door for automatic promotion - particularly during a devastating 12-minute spell after half-time.
It was the perfect way to snap a run of four games without a win in all competitions for the Steelmen, who remain unbeaten in the league and will now go top if they beat Aylesbury at Steel Park on Saturday with Bromsgrove being without a game.
Kinniburgh made a couple of changes to his starting line-up with Sam Grouse being included while Connor Kennedy came straight back into the side following a one-match ban.
Bromsgrove started brightly with Josh Quaynor fizzing a shot wide early on.
But it was the Steelmen who forced the save of the game with Dan Crane getting down well to parry Elliot Sandy’s shot before recovering well to block Grouse’s effort on the rebound from a narrow angle.
And Corby maintained that momentum to break the deadlock on 13 minutes.
Crane sliced a clearance straight to Jordon Crawford who was then twice denied by the visiting goalkeeper.
However, from the resulting corner, Joel Carta rose unmarked to head home Crawford’s delivery.
Bromsgrove enjoyed plenty of possession after that but were unable to carve out any clear-cut chances.
Corby, on the other hand, were in clinical mood and, after Kennedy had forced Crane into another low save from Sam Warburton’s pull-back, the hosts doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time.
Crane made another save to deny Crawford after he cut in from the left and, after a scramble, the ball was eventually headed into the path of Jordan Francis on the right of the area and he unleashed a terrific strike into the far top corner.
It was an encouraging half for the Steelmen but there was no real sign of what would happen in the first 12 minutes of the second half.
Corby, quite simply, went on the rampage while the leaders crumbled.
It was 3-0 two minutes after the restart when Francis chased the ball down the right and sent his low cross in. The diminutive Grouse reacted the quickest and skipped past the advancing Crane before finishing into an empty net from a narrow angle.
Four minutes later and it was four. And it was all too simple again as a free-kick was sent in, Carta headed it down and Sandy got in the act with an excellent first-time finish from 16 yards.
Corby goalkeeper Dan George was forced into his first save of the game when he got down well to stop Craig Jones’ shot.
But the hosts continued to terrorise the visitors at the other end and the goals kept coming.
The excellent Francis created the fifth as another cross came in from the right and full-back Miles Smith arrived on cue to fire high into the net.
But they weren’t done there as 5-0 became 6-0 with 18 minutes to go.
Warburton sent a corner towards the far post, it was headed back by substitute Ben Bradshaw and Sandy eventually bundled the ball home from close range in what was his final act before being replaced by Jake Bettles.
And that was where the Steelmen declared as they saw the rest of the game out with few alarms.
A stunning night on which Kinniburgh’s men took things to a new level.
If Bromsgrove are the standard, Corby are above it on this evidence and if they can follow this up at the weekend, they have hold the position to show it...
Steelmen: George; Smith, Mulligan, Anton, Warburton; Carta, Kennedy; Francis (sub Allen, 80 mins), Grouse (sub Bradshaw, 70 mins), Crawford; Sandy (sub Bettles, 73 mins). Subs not used: McBride, Ling.
Bromsgrove: Crane; Jones, Taylor (sub Pykett, 60 mins), Morris; Roberts, Hayward, Heath, Quaynor, Wilson; Cowley, Peters (sub Gregory, h-t). Subs not used: Shorrock, Dowd, Pryce.
Referee: Ruebyn Ricardo.
Goals: Carta (13 mins, 1-0), Francis (45 mins, 2-0), Grouse (47 mins, 3-0), Sandy (51 mins, 4-0), Smith (57 mins, 5-0), Sandy (72 mins, 6-0).
Bookings: Taylor, Quaynor, Sandy (all fouls).
Northants Telegraph man-of-the-match: Jordan Francis - as you’d expect, there were a few contenders but the winger stood out. He didn’t stop running right up until he was replaced with 10 minutes to go. He scored a magnificent goal on the stroke of half-time and then set up two more after the break. It could be argued we hadn’t seen the very best of him before now but we certainly did on this night as he saved an outstanding performance for the big occasion. He’s set his own standard with this one. Outstanding!