“"It was nice to see the Steelmen top the table".”
Corby Town's bid to gain promotion from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 (South) at the first attempt got off to a winning start which was just as emphatic as the final score line suggests.
David Bell selected five debutants in his starting XI and the new look Steelmen went ahead just four minutes into the new season. A long throw from the right by Connor Kennedy was flicked on by first a Romulus defender and then Phil Trainer and Sam Mulready directed the ball over the line for a debut goal.
Corby were momentarily stopped in their tracks when poor defending allowed a long range header by Malachi Farquharson to sail over Paul Bastock's dive into the net for the equaliser. Romulus continued to look dangerous in their infrequent attacks but Jordan Francis was twice dispossessed by excellent tackles by Kennedy and Kern Miller.
Jack McGovern had an angled shot saved at his near post by visiting goalkeeper Leighton Smith before Corby went back in front in the 25th minute.
A free kick by Steve Leslie was met by Miller at the back post. The Corby skipper headed the ball back across goal to Phil Trainer, whose sliced shot fell kindly to Jordan Crawford. 'Crawf' played it back into the penalty area and although two Steelmen were unable to get a touch Miller made no mistake as he smashed in his first goal for the club.
A 37th minute right wing corner by Leslie, whose set pieces were top class all afternoon, was half cleared and picked up on the opposite flank by Crawford. He again put the ball back into the danger area and Jack McGovern forced it in from close range.
Romulus were still in the game at this stage and only an excellent reflex save by Bastock denied Farquharson a second goal with a powerful header seconds before the interval.
Corby stepped up the pace at the start of the second half and in the 64th minute Mulready was hauled down inside the box by Kieran Harrison. After the Romulus substitute had been shown a yellow card - with the crowd baying for red - Mulready stepped up to confidently score from the penalty spot.
The Steelmen saved the best til last as, eight minutes later, Crawford responded to calls of "have a dig" from the crowd by doing just that. And what a 'dig' as his shot from the edge of the box flew into the top corner of the net.
19-year-old goalkeeper Smith required several minutes of treatment after being flattened by a combination of Jason Lee and McGovern as they all challenged for a corner. The Steelmen then had an effort ruled out for a foul on the battered and bruised young 'keeper.
Leslie produced a good piece of skill to create a chance which he hit high over the bar and after Smith had saved a shot by substitute Shay Brennan the hat-trick seeking Mulready had a cheeky backheel blocked by a defender.
A Corby wag in the crowd voiced the opinion that Remus was probably better at football than Romulus. The silence which followed suggested that there were few scholars of ancient Roman history among his fellow supporters as the remark sailed high over their heads.
The visitors did produce a spirited late flourish which saw Kennedy clear the ball off the line, Bastock claw a long range shot over the bar and Lee tidy up at the back post after a corner had eluded everyone else.
This was, however, clearly Corby Town's day and although it is too early in the season to make any informed predictions it was nice to be able to see the Steelmen top the table on Saturday evening.
CORBY TOWN:- Paul Bastock; Connor Kennedy, Steven Kinniburgh; Phil Trainer (substitute Ryan Bell), Kern Miller (captain), Jason Lee; Jordan Crawford, Steven Leslie, Jack McGovern (substitute Shay Brennan), Sam Mulready, Ollie Brown-Hill (substitute Miles Smith). Unused substitutes: Jamie Anton, Jordan O'Brien.
ROMULUS FC:- Leighton Smith; Dean Morris, Matthew Jackson; Scott Goodby, Cameron Lee, Barry Fitzharris; Jordan Francis, Jordain Masidi, Nathan Waite, Malachi Farquharson, Mark Branch (captain). Substitutes: Ashley Jackson, Kieran Harrison, J'Cee Abraham, Keith Ndlovu, Charlie Anagho-Ntamark.
REFEREE:- Mr Edward Cook (Nottingham).
Updated 10:31 - 21 Aug 2017 by James McCafferty