CORBY TOWN UNDER-18s 2 KETTERING TOWN UNDER-18s 1
STEELBOYS BEAT POPPIES AT STEEL PARK
Despite being well below their best the Steelboys kept alive their chance of taking top spot in the Northants Senior Youth League East Division table with this victory over Kettering Town.
During the first half Corby huffed and puffed but didn't look capable of blowing down even the flimsiest of paper houses. Half chances came and went at both ends before Kettering took the lead in the 40th minute. Corby goalkeeper Dan Smith was unable to hold onto a shot by Zack Allen and Ben Alibone reacted quickest to fire the loose ball into the net.
The Steelboys were much better in the second half but as the minutes ticked away it seemed this was not going to be their night - especially when they lost Adam Frisch with an injury. Then in the 72nd minute Frisch's replacement, Harry Belemonte, broke free on the right and played the ball inside to the unmarked Jason Smith who stroked it home.
A draw was not good enough to keep Corby's title ambitions alive so the Steelboys had no choice but to go for the winner. Jason Smith directed a header straight at Kettering goalkeeper Callum Snow and central defender Dean McBride found himself unmarked in front of goal but hit his effort off target.
With Kettering being short of numbers they had no respite from the bench while Corby were able to add fresh legs in Belemonte, Kieran Berry, Reece Day and Joe McBrearty and as the Poppies' overworked eleven tired Corby sensed the chance of a winner. It duly arrived in the 85th minute and again it was Jason Smith who claimed the final touch in a scramble at the back post.
Referee Mr Aaron Clipston seemed determined to continue playing into the early hours of Tuesday morning and during this lengthy period of stoppage time Kettering 'keeper Snow came up for a number of set pieces. On one occasion Snow was left stranded upfield as Belemonte broke through the middle but despite seeming to take his time and do everything right the Corby substitute's shot went agonisingly inches wide.
In the end that didn't matter as Corby held onto their lead until the final whistle, when it eventually came, and so took their season to a final game meeting at Stamford on Thursday evening. A Steelboys victory will give them the title while any other result will see Desborough Town finish top of the pile.
CORBY TOWN:- Dan Smith; Charlie Dawson, Ricky Carr; Dean McBride, Ben Welch, Jamie Porter; Adam Witkowski, TJ Tanga Gibson (c), Adam Frisch, Jordan O'Brien, Jason Smith. Substitutes: Harry Belemonte, Reece Day, Kieran Berry, Matty Chater and Joe McBrearty.
KETTERING TOWN:- Callum Snow; Sam Adams, Ross Eady; Jake Walpole, Jack O'Connor (c), Geani Stanciu; Ben Alibone, Fernando Karichi, Sven Sartin, Oliver Pardoe, Zack Allen.
REFEREE:- Mr Aaron Clipston.