“"Connor Kennedy had a shot blocked and Jordan Crawford fired an effort just wide"”
The Steelmen faced their most challenging pre-season fixture to date at home to Brackley Town on Saturday and despite the defeat came out of the game with some credit. David Bell's plans were dealt a blow when goalkeeper Jamie McAlindon injured a finger during the warm-up but fortunately we were able to borrow Brackley's second choice 'keeper Dan Farrell for the afternoon. Farrell has, of course, played for Corby in the past and has trained with us in pre-season.
The goalkeeping situation apart Corby fielded what is probably their strongest starting line up at present and gave a good account of themselves against a near full strength Brackley side who will be playing their football two levels higher than the Steelmen in 2017/18.
Corby were unable to make much of an impression as an attacking force as Brackley's blond defensive 'Triplets' of Jordan Williams, Gareth Dean and Alex Gudger used their strength to dominate the Steelmen's forwards.
At the other end, Corby's back four of Miles Smith, Kern Miller, Jamie Anton and Jordan Yong were proving equally miserly and chances were few and far between.
In the 33rd minute, however, the Steelmen failed to clear a right wing centre by Steve Diggin and Shane Byrne opened the scoring with a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
The visitors dominated possession throughout the game but in the second half Connor Kennedy had a shot blocked and Jordan Crawford fired an effort just wide.
Farrell was seeing more of the ball than his opposite number and in one frantic spell Yong, Miller and Crawford blocked goalbound efforts by Andy Brown, Steve Diggin and Ellis Myles. Gudger also went close to scoring with a free kick which crashed off the top of the bar with Farrell beaten.
With Hue and Cry playing live from nearby Rockingham Castle in the background this was certainly a 'Labour of Love' for the Corby defenders as they fought manfully to keep out the opposition.
There was little anyone could do in the 81st minute, however, when Glen Walker fired in a fierce long range shot which hammered against the underside of the bar and bounced into the net for Brackley's second.
Having suffered their first defeat it will now be interesting to see how Corby react when their pre-season roadshow continues at Wellingborough on Tuesday evening.
CORBY TOWN:- Dan Farrell; Miles Smith (substitute Dan Bendon), Jordan Yong (substitute Steve Kinniburgh); Conor Marshall (substitute Danny Setchell), Kern Miller, Jamie Anton; Connor Kennedy, Lee Stevenson (captain) (substitute Michael Ogilvie), Grant Ryan (substitute A.Trialist), Sam Mulready, Jordan Crawford. Unused substitutes: Lewis Jackson, Jordan O'Brien.
BRACKLEY TOWN:- Danny Lewis; Matt Lowe, Alex Gudger; Shane Byrne, Jordan Williams, Gareth Dean (captain); Connor Franklin, James Armson, Steve Diggin, Andy Brown, Adam Walker. Substitutes: Ellis Myles, Glen Walker.
REFEREE:- Mr Martin Dexter (Leicester).
Updated 12:59 - 19 Jul 2017 by James McCafferty