STEELMEN COMPLETE LEAGUE DOUBLE OVER THE CUCKOOS
By James McCafferty
CORBY TOWN 3 YAXLEY FC 2
With two successive defeats behind them and the race to accumulate sufficient points to be sure of promotion should they win the play offs hotting up Corby Town were under pressure to regain their best form when Yaxley visited Steel Park on Easter Monday.
When the two sides met at Corby in the F.A Trophy back in October Yaxley right winger Matt Sparrow played a major part in his side's 3-1 victory. He wasn't in the team which was beaten 4-0 by Corby on Yaxley's 3G on New Years Day but he was back in the line up on this occasion and began in the same form he had shown on his previous visit.
The game was only a few seconds old when he made his first inroad into Corby's backline and sent in a cross which centre forward Dalton Harris somehow fired over the bar from just a couple of yards out.
Corby did not heed this warning, however, and when Sparrow played in another centre in the third minute Harris made no mistake with his header from virtually the same spot.
In the Steelmen's first meaningful attack Charlie Johnson put Jordon Crawford under just enough pressure to prevent the Corby forward from getting his shot at goal on target.
At this point Yaxley were still enjoying their share of attacking possession and Dan Cotton forced Dan George into a sharp save at his near post before Sparrow sent in another cross which no Cuckoo could get on the end of.
What Corby needed was a goal and it duly arrived nine minutes before half time when Steve Diggin fired in an excellent shot from the left edge of the penalty area. The Steelmen then had a strong penalty appeal turned down when Joe Butterworth appeared to handle the ball under pressure from Elliot Sandy.
After half time Corby began to turn the screw and just past the hour mark Harris was booked for an over robust tackle on Jack Newell, who was having an excellent game in Corby's midfield. This pressure finally paid off in the 74th minute when a mistake by former Corby goalkeeper Aaron Butcher gifted possession to the Steelmen. The Yaxley defence seemed to have successfully repelled the danger until the ball fell to Crawford out on the left and he found the back of the net in a similar fashion to Diggin.
If that goal was gift wrapped then Yaxley's equaliser three minutes later came with a bow on it. Visiting skipper Ross Watson hit a shot which was blocked by Gary Mulligan and Sam Warburton beat Sparrow to the loose ball - only for his clearance (!!) to find the top corner of the net with George a bemused onlooker.
It almost got worse for Corby seconds later when a header by Liam Hook following a corner was goalbound until the intervention of Newell on the line.
But the Steelmen were not to be denied their victory and in the 81st minute a Crawford centre found Sandy on the penalty spot and his fierce shot struck the underside of the crossbar before going in-off the back of the unfortunate Butcher, who was the third different goalkeeper used by Yaxley in their three games against Corby this season following Ollie Sutton and James Blake.
In Corby's next attack Diggin went for placement rather than power and Butcher blocked his shot with his feet but the final whistle went with the Steelmen holding on to their much needed win.
CORBY TOWN:- Dan George; Jamie Anton, Sam Warburton; Ashley Robinson (substitute Joel Carta), Delroy Gordon, Gary Mulligan (captain); Jordan Francis (substitute Jake Bettles), Jack Newell, Elliot Sandy, Steve Diggin, Jordon Crawford (substitute Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson. Unused substitutes: Greg Ling, Dan Smith (GK).
YAXLEY FC:- Aaron Butcher; Dalton Bettles, Frazer Garner; Joe Butterworth, Ross Watson (captain), Charlie Johnson; Matt Sparrow, Liam Hook, Dalton Harris, Dan Cotton, Kyle Nolan. Substitutes: John-Paul Duncliffe, Charley Sanders, Sam Spencer, Thomas Waumsley, Fraser Sturgess.
REFEREE:- Mr Jacob Lehane.
THE RAJ MAN OF THE MATCH :- Jack Newell.