VERDICT '“ Stunning second half shows Steelmen are serious
As far as second-half fightbacks go, this has to be one of the best.
And not just for the decisive manner in which it was done. The importance of Corby Town’s 5-1 victory over Sutton Coldfield Town really can’t be underestimated as the Steelmen moved out of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division relegation zone in emphatic style.
Throw in the fact that Gary Mills’ men produced a complete reverse of what happened in the West Midlands at the start of December and it all added up to make it a day to remember at Steel Park.
Mills certainly earned his money on this occasion. Trailing 1-0 at half-time, looking pretty much devoid of any ideas and with the home faithful growing restless, the Steelmen looked right up against it.
You’d like to think tea cups were flying in the home dressing-room but it seems a few calculated words were used by the Corby manager to point his team in the right direction.
And boy, did they react!
With Northampton Town youngster Joe Iaciofano leading the charge, the Steelmen wasted little time in getting things back on track before they put they put the visitors out of their misery in brutal fashion in the final 10 minutes.
Iaciofano was excellent. Full of youthful exuberance, the youngster scored two goals and created another and showed just why he is so highly rated at Sixfields.
But Corby, as a whole, were superb after the break and Mills deserves further credit for the timing of his substitutions as all three who entered the fray made a big impact to help seal another priceless victory.
It was just a shame it took a pretty poor opening half to bring that performance out of them.
For the most part, the Steelmen looked lethargic in the first 45 minutes and Sutton opened the scoring when Matthias Curley finished a good run with a shot with the outside of his boot that found the net with the aid of a post.
And it could have been even worse. Former Corby man Reece Webb saw his long-range effort helped over by Aidan Grant, who produced an even better save later in the half when he denied David Howarth who had a clear sight of goal after good work from Montel Gibson.
The Steelmen huffed and puffed at the other end but the closest they came was when Iaciofano’s downward header was tipped over by James Wren while Ben Milnes’ header was cleared off the line by Michael Townsend.
However, with Mills’ words no doubt ringing in their ears, the Steelmen went to work after the break.
They got back on level terms within seven minutes of the restart when Courtney Wildin’s high ball into the area was nodded down by Stefan Moore and Phil Trainer teed up Iaciofano whose shot was too good for Wren who could only help it into the top corner.
Steven Leslie and Connor Kennedy were thrown into the action and the hosts took the lead after Leslie’s decent shot had been well saved by Wren. From the resulting David Bell corner, a scramble ensued and Iaciofano got the final touch to force the ball over the line.
The Steelmen negotiated a key 10 minutes without any concerns and then finished things off in rampant fashion.
Kennedy made it 3-1 when he hammered home from close-range after Aaron Brown headed back another Bell corner.
It was 4-1 on 86 minutes as that man Iaciofano turned provider with his cross being converted by another substitute Spencer Weir-Daley for his first goal since returning to Steel Park.
And Brown added the cherry to a very tasty cake in stoppage-time when he headed home yet another set-piece from Bell.
It was emphatic, it was brutal and it was a sure sign that the Steelmen are serious when it comes to this survival battle.
The job, of course, is far from done. There are 10 huge games to go as they race for the line.
But if they stick to the sort of performance they produced in the second half of this game, the greatest of escapes will be well and truly on...
Steelmen: Grant; Anton (sub Kennedy, 65 mins), Brown, Lee, Wildin; Bell, Milnes, Crawford (sub Leslie, 57 mins), Iaciofano; Trainer, Moore (sub Weir-Daley, 76 mins). Subs not used: Weir-Daley, Ogilvie, Kinniburgh.
Sutton Coldfield: Wren; Curley, Kelly, Townsend, Fox; Curley, Webb, Birch, Beresford; Gibson (sub Venney, 55 mins), Howarth (sub McKenzie, 61 mins), Robbins (sub Wright, 74 mins). Subs not used: Cleet, MacDonald.
Referee: Richard Eley.
Goals: Curley (6 mins, 0-1), Iaciofano (52 mins, 1-1), Iaciofano (69 mins, 2-1), Kennedy (81 mins, 3-1), Weir-Daley (86 mins, 4-1), Brown (90 mins, 5-1).
Bookings: Gibson, Robbins, Weir-Daley (all kicking ball away), Lee (foul).