THE RANGERS HELP CORBY TOWN CELEBRATE SEVENTY YEARS IN STYLE
By James McCafferty
CORBY TOWN 3 RANGERS XI 3
Corby Town celebrated their 70th Anniversary in style with an entertaining 3-3 draw against Rangers' latest crop of talented teenagers at Steel Park. As well as the plethora of Scottish youth internationals you would expect to see in a team of Rangers' stature there was an international flavour added by the inclusion of Northern Irish centre backs Danny Findlayson and Kyle McClelland, French Youth international Yanis Bensaber - on trial from Lille - Joao Balde, who was recently called up into Portugal's Under-18 squad, and Englishman Nathan Young-Coombes.
It was former Crystal Palace and Chelsea youth player Young-Coombes who got the game off to an explosive start by opening the scoring in the first minute.
Corby, who were missing Elliot Sandy and Delroy Gordon but had Connor Kennedy back from suspension, quickly recovered from this early set back and despite losing Jordan Francis with an injury drew level when Joel Carta netted following a Sam Warburton corner.
Carta then planted a header onto the roof of the net from another Warburton flag kick and teenaged goalkeeper Brian Kinnear did just enough to touch a Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson centre away from Jake Bettles. Carta hit a long range shot just over the bar, Bettles attempted an overhead kick which was also too high and Jordon Crawford had an effort saved by Kinnear before Carta put Corby ahead with a strike from just outside the penalty area which has become his speciality.
Dan George had to be alert to keep out free kick taken by Kai Kennedy, who in February was named Player of the Tournament when Rangers' Under-17 team became the first British side to win the prestigious Alkass International Cup in Qatar and Bensaber had a fierce strike deflected wide for a corner as the visitors strove in vain to go in level at the interval.
Early in the second half Crawford hit a shot wide of one post from the edge of the box and fizzed another effort just past the other upright after cutting in from the right wing before Rangers achieved the equaliser their efforts deserved.
A right wing cross by substitute Owen McGinty was flicked off the head of an incoming forward by Dean McBride but the ball fell to Bensaber on the left edge of the box and he was clearly delighted with the firm shot which he hit across goal into the opposite bottom corner.
Minutes later Rangers were in front at 3-2 when another good right wing centre by the impressive McGinty was flicked in at the near post by Stephen Kelly.
That lead was not to last long, however, as a shot by Bettles took a wicked deflection off the unfortunate Findlayson which wrong footed half time replacement goalkeeper Nicky Hogarth and we were all square at 3-3.
A foul inches outside the penalty area earned Luke Aridegbe a yellow card and gave Rangers a free kick which Cameron Palmer hit narrowly wide but there was to be no further scoring and with honours even everybody went home happy.
CORBY TOWN:- Dan George; Jamie Anton, Sam Warburton (substitute Luke Aridegbe); Joel Carta, Ashley Robinson, Gary Mulligan (captain) (substitute Dean McBride); Jordan Francis (substitute Jake Bettles), Connor Kennedy, Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson, Greg Ling, Jordon Crawford (substitute Steve Diggin). Unused substitutes:- Danny Furey, Dan Smith (GK).
RANGERS:- Brian Kinnear (substitute Nicky Hogarth): Zac Butterworth, James Maxwell; Ben Williamson, Danny Findlayson (captain), Kyle McClelland; Kieran McKechnie, Ciaran Dickson, Nathan Young-Coombes, Kai Kennedy, Yanis Bensaber. Substitutes:- Joao Balde, Owen McGinty, Cameron Palmer, Stephen Kelly, Lewis Mayo, Matthew Shiels, Jordan Houston, Andrew Dallas.
REFEREE:- Mr Daniel Middleton (Derby)
ASSISTANTS:- Mr Robert Evans (Northampton)
Mr Paul Evans (Northampton)
FOURTH OFFICIAL:- Mr Ruebyn Ricardo (Leicester)