Wednesday, 3 January 2018


1 JANUARY 2018 --- 3PM
A goal after just three minutes in from the head of Luke Keen was enough to wrap up the points for the visitors to Northamptonshire and much as Corby tried they could not find their way to the back of the Bedworth net, added to this the frustrating time wasting tactics of Bedworth in the second half this proved a disappointing afternoon for The Steelmen.  That frustration marked a miserable three game festive run that produced no points and no goals for Corby but with a sharper eye for goal things could have been so different but over the couple of games I have seen them the confidence seems to be ebbing away in the last third.
Having seen Corby at Basford a few days earlier and got in conversation with a few people who assured me that the pitch drains well and upon return saw The Steelmen were at home on New Years Day plans were put into action with trains running and no buses available it would just be the trip to base station and back to negotiate. 
Arriving at the station mid morning on New Years Day all was very quiet, thankfully, and throughout the day trains were on time, early and with seats available, there its not very often I say that!  Like a kid in a toy shop there was an excited anticipation today for Corby as a town never mind its football club would be new territory for me and previously I guess the town had become know as 'Kettering for Corby' on the train boards when it was the largest town in Europe to have no train station in the 70's and 80's.  This would have competed with Mansfield in its station less days when all was covered over by Alfreton and Mansfield Parkway a 25 minute bus ride away from stag town. Talking of Parkway's the first change was made at the East Midland variety of these a station that is dwarfed by the cooling towers of Ratcliffe power station.  Seat secured on the Nottingham to London service enhanced today by an old 125, always the way to travel, departure at Kettering was on time for the adjoining platform service which had a meridian on undertaking the ten minute journey to Corby and back once in the hour.  This was excellent as the previous day its was back to the bus replacement days of old due to engineering works the steady amble into Corby station produced a bright station with just one platform that normally runs hourly services to London.
The station was closed in the sixties like of course many others and made a brief one platform shuttle service appearance from 1987-90 funded by the local council to connect to services at Kettering, however when the grant ran out the services stopped and it would be 2009 before a station was re opened in Corby.  It this point I have to make clear that if corny or Corbyn appear anywhere in this blog it must be the place name I have most mis-typed for ages!
Upon arrival there was time to chunter, again, about the weather forecasters a lovely dry afternoon had been forecast and guess what?  It was raining as I departed from under the canopy and the wonderful forecasters had now changed the prediction to heavy rain for the next 2 hours, of course I was happy!  Years gone by we had a local man forecast the weather by viewing a selection of pine cones and I think maybe we should take the expensive computer equipment of the Met Office and go back to the 'good old days'.  More worryingly while in moan mode neither club at this stage, 1245, had mentioned this fixture on social media for Bedworth who seem to follow this pattern regularly and were the away club I thought no more of it, however for the home side it took them until 1.50pm before ant mention of this game being on appeared on their Twitter feed it never ceases to amaze me that clubs always say they are in need of more fans, are they?
Corby had a remarkable rise to popularity around its steel works of course as previously this was a  small village with the old hamlet adjacent to the railway station on the east whereas the new town, indeed it was declared so in 1950, is built to the north and a nice 15 minute walk from the station.  Overall for todays football ground 45 minutes away and a steady stroll to the town its one of those towns that has an inconvenient railway station although I guess on a standard day when buses are running this may not be the problem it was today.
Turning left out of the station and passing back over the railway line into the town like many of the new town generation they were superbly modern and functionally built, mainly in concrete, for their time but now have hit the buffers with a full pelt.  All sorts of descriptors have been written about Corby and yes its there if you look for it but to the head of the old precinct is the new, a theatre, library, coffee house under the title of The Cube and bright reflective windowed building within the same complex a new cinema, restaurant and swimming pool but still close by boarded up derelict land awaiting further development.  All this approaches the large parkland area that is central to Corby as a town and with the wet stuff still failing I opted for the big yellow signed restaurant for a comfort stop.
Checking on the walk time to the ground at 1.40 I found out it would take 40 minutes with the clubs new ground on the very edge of the town since their move from their historical home occupation Rd which was more central.  Todays destination The Rockingham Triangle Sports Centre houses tennis, rugby and athletics track [which the club used to use as their ground] and now of course Steel Park. 
Departing along the many Scottish named roads Argyll/Clydesdale/Shetland to name but a few gave way to this towns recent heritage and its often given title of 'little Glasgow' after many Scots came down to work in the steel plant, formerly Stewarts and Lloyds, before British Steel after nationalisation.   So much did Corby become a off shoot of Scotland that there were two Church of Scotland's in the town, Irn Bru was the highest selling soft drink in any town outside Scotland including I'm assured the delicacy of Irn Bru and vodka as a required tipple.  Alongside this some shops in the early days posted signs in Gaelic but today the symbols were the occasional Saltire flag on cars and houses plus thistles built into UPVC glass door panels. 
The walk to the ground was very much like Skelmersdale Utd a dog leg after dog leg through housing estates to final depart an footpath opposite an out of town Spoons and walk the footpath on a busy road to the ground.
There is little after the ground and without a car you need to be reasonably fit for the walk its a shame really as the club have a nice part developed ground which would definitely take any future required improvements.
Entering through the smart turnstile block approach to the immediate right is the club shop housed in a corporate coloured cabin with flat hard standing along this side giving was to the start of the show a cantilever stand proudly displaying 'CORBY' within its seats.  Behind the far goal is an excellent deep terrace with cover and crush barriers offering an excellent view of proceedings the next touchline gives up the dug outs ad for half of its length the back of the athletic stadiums stand which sits adjacent to the new ground.  Coming back to out entry point and the changing rooms and bar area which I only discovered at half time are houses in the building above the changing rooms indeed for new visitors the sign was that small that I missed it, but when I ventured up at half time was a nice sized facility.
The game itself pitted second placed Bedworth, who had leapfrogged Corby after Saturdays results, against a Corby side who had hit a difficult period in their season and it did not get any easier after just three minutes when the visitors took the lead.  Picking the ball up on the right Bedworth's number 7 Kieron Brehon put in a lovely cross for the unmarked Keen to deflect his header into the bottom left hand corner of the Corby goal.
Moments later it could have been worse when Alexander Troke popped up at the far post but his effort was ruled out for offside.  It could have been 2-0 when Keen failed to convert with a low cross again unmarked but this rose Corby from their slumber and Cretu first saw the visiting keeper block his effort before with three minutes to half time he had the ball in the net only for the offside flag to this time deny Corby.
Corby came out with a new gusto and Cretu and Jordon Crawford combined well with the latter firing over, shortly after Ben Bradshaw also saw an effort fly over the crossbar.  Bedworth had little intent in going forward and it was left to Corby to try to break them down as they started the uncomfortable to watch, even as a neutral, time wasting tactics which even the referee seemed unwilling to take action on.  Indeed at one stage he ran 50 yards to tell the visiting number 1 Dan Crane to hurry up taking the free kick but didn't book him and the game probably lost more time than his actions benefitted it.  From a Corby point of view you knew it wasn't going to be their day on 77 minutes when substitute Leon Lobjoit turned on the edge of the box and stuck a post with the ball re bounded to safety with the keeper beaten.  The latter stages saw three cautions in extra time as frustration raised its head 2 to Bedworth and one to the home side and as the referee signalled 5 minutes stoppage time, probably three minutes short of what we should have see, why is blatant timewasting/professionalism not taken action against?
Corby threw the kitchen sink at the Bedworth defence but they could not break down a resolute rear guard and failed to score for a third game running against a well marshalled defensive unit, frustrating football all round but the home manager Steve Kinniburgh can sit comfortable that they tried their best to entertain and play an attacking game but of course not the three points he so desired.
A dark walk back along Rockingham Rd towards the old village to cut back to the station followed with strangely street lighting on just one side of the road for the return walk making it appear even darker.  By the time I got back to the Occupation Rd junction it was raining and after a executive meeting with myself I decided against looking at the old grounds offices which are still in use today by of course a new business.
A comfortable 20 minutes to spare at Corby station allowed a dry down before connecting at Kettering for a direct service back to base station just after 8pm and enjoyable journey to a new ground and new town completed I shall watch out for Corby and hope they can get their promotion push back on the rails.

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