STEELMEN FINISH WITH A WIN
By James McCafferty
KIDLINGTON 1 CORBY TOWN 2
Corby Town went into their final Southern League game of the season away to Kidlington still with plenty to play for. The Steelmen were looking for a good performance to put them in good shape for Wednesday's play-off semi final against Bedford Town at Steel Park and, more importantly, were seeking a victory to ensure that should they win the play offs their points per game rating would be sufficient to gain them promotion. Kidlington, meanwhile, needed a point to be sure of avoiding relegation.
After nine minutes Kidlington centre forward Anaclet Odhiambo got goal side of Corby's back line but, with only Dan George to beat, he was too slow to react and Sam Warburton got back to clear the danger.
Corby's first opportunity saw Jordon Crawford shoot just wide of the near post after Warburton had set up the opportunity.
The hosts then gained three free kicks in dangerous positions but the first taken by Declan Benjamin was easily saved by George, the second by Lewis Coyle was headed clear and Coyle's next effort was again gathered by the Corby goalkeeper.
In the 31st minute Corby showed how it should be done from a set piece. Crawford's ball to the far post was headed back in by Delroy Gordon to Elliot Sandy who spun round to fire a low shot past Kidlington's second choice goalkeeper Nick Lacey.
From their next attack the Steelmen had the ball in the net again but on this occasion Joel Carta was flagged offside. Steve Diggin then hit a shot just wide before Corby increased their lead with a goal of the highest quality five minutes before half time.
Crawford started the move on the right wing with a pass inside to Jack Newel and he helped the ball on to Gordon wide on the left wing. There then followed a series of swift first time passes as Warburton played the ball forward to Sandy, he flicked it on to Carta, who played a one-two with Crawford, and his backheel set up Carta for a sublime side foot finish. Words do not really do the move justice but I have done my best.
A comfortable second half and possible first clean sheet since New Years Day seemed to be on the cards at the interval but that is not the Corby Town way. In the 58th minute Tommy Castle pulled a goal back for the hosts when he found himself unchallenged at a corner and headed past George.
Castle then resumed his defensive duties to prevent a Sandy flick on at an Ashley Robinson long throw from reaching Carta before Sandy made way for Greg Ling. Castle was popping up all over the pitch and his next involvement saw him send in a cross from the right wing which was fractionally too high for Odhiambo.
Corby were soon back on the offensive and seemed certain to score when Diggin got on the end of a Warburton corner but the ball was scrambled off the line safely into the hands of Lacey.
The home side continued to create half chances without testing George as Odhiambo bobbled one shot wide and Josh Tooke blasted another into the car park following a Marvin Martin free kick.
Corby's last opportunity of the game saw Lacey get down to block a Crawford shot with his feet but at the final whistle the Steelmen had done enough to secure victory and raise the points per game rating to a high enough level to ensure promotion should they be successful in the play offs.
And there were smiles all round as, despite the defeat, Kidlington finished the season one place above the relegation zone.
KIDLINGTON:- Nick Lacey; Josh Tooke, Tommy Castle; Marvin Martin, Tom Franklin, Lewis Gabbidon (captain); Lewis Coyle, Elliot Osborne-Ricketts, Anaclet Odhiambo, Chris Jordan, Declan Benjamin. Substitutes: Jack Quainton, Harry Williams, Josias Carbon.
CORBY TOWN:- Dan George; Jamie Anton, Sam Warburton; Joel Carta, Delroy Gordon (substitute Ashley Robinson), Gary Mulligan (captain); Jordan Francis (substitute Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson), Jack Newell, Elliot Sandy (substitute Greg Ling), Steve Diggin, Jordon Crawford. Unused substitutes: Jake Bettles, Dan Smith (GK).
REFEREE:- Mr Tim Donnellan.