Ex-Hatter Andy Burgess ensured that Corby Town finished their pre-season with a flourish as the Steelmen came out on top against Blue Square Premier title favourites Luton Town at Steel Park on Saturday.
Burgess found himself unmarked on the edge of the area and hammered home from 20-yards, a sweet strike that flew straight into the top right-hand corner. The chance arose after Matt Rhead managed to flick Will Jones’ mammoth free-kick down to goalscorer Burgess.
It was Corby who first took advantage of both teams’ adventurous nature, Rhead grabbing the opener. James Ozmen was the provider as a good run down the right led to him floating a ball into Luton’s penalty area. The cross was so inch-perfect that all striker Rhead had to do was nod in from five yards.
Rhead was unlucky not to claim his second of the game just 12 minutes later after he followed up Nick Rogan’s nod across goal with a header of his own. Unfortunately for him the ball clipped the crossbar and went out for a Luton goal kick.
Corby played with a high tempo in the first half and were quick to close down any impending Luton attacks. As a result, most of the Hatters’ first half chances were limited to 30-yard shots. Matt Paterson summed up their half when he blasted a long effort almost 50-yards above Corby’s crossbar, a shot which as it continued to rise left the stadium completely.
Luton manager Gary Brabin sensed a change was needed and sent all three of his substitutions on for the second half. The Hatters responded positively to the changes, Corby defender Paul Malone having to deal with a number of threatening attacks.
Malone could do nothing to stop the Luton equaliser however, which came 15 minutes after the re-start. A Nathan Elder corner was half-cleared by Andy Hall and the ball fell to Christian Tavernier on the edge of the box. Tavernier left Jones with no chance, as his first time volley hit the back of the net.
Corby defender Malone turned saviour again for the Steelmen in the 70th minute, somehow managing to block Jean Phillippe Yam Fam’s five-yard effort on the line. His heroics were not in vain as Burgess’ 20-yard shot left the home fans in raptures just three minutes later.
Boss Graham Drury praised his side after the game, with particular praise for match-winner Burgess. The win leaves Corby Town undefeated at Steel Park and Drury stressed the importance of making their new home “a fortress” in the upcoming season.
Despite his team finding themselves on a five-match unbeaten run, Drury told corbytownfc.co.uk, "We cannot get carried away with our great end to pre-season. It is great to be unbeaten at home going into the season, and we really need to make this a fortress, but we have to remember that he real work begins at Halifax on the 14th August."