Monday, 30 January 2012

Corby Town 1 Boston United 2

Back on the train again and a hideously complicated journey to Corby, which is hardly the most attractive destination when you finally get there after your three changes, four hours and trains ping-ponging around the counties of Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.
I roamed platforms in Sheffield, Leicester and Kettering before arriving in Corby, thoroughly baffled by the homogenous decor of those East Midlands carriages. As I said last season, Corby must be one of the most depressing places to live in the entire country - it was once a proud steel town which attracted legions of hard-working, hard-drinking migrants from Glasgow and the Clyde. They settled and brought their families and the subsequent generations knew nothing else. 
And then they took the industry away - the forges were closed down one by one and suddenly these hard-working thousands had nowhere to work and nothing to work for. So, you have what is essentially a Scottish colony in the English heartlands with vast industrial parks with humungous great mills that are silent, their staff on Jobseekers and their bairns facing a bleak future. Even the Weetabix factory has closed, which about sums up how bloody miserable it is. 
But there must be some money in the town because Corby Town Football Club have moved into a new ground this season, inevitably titled Steel Park. The official website made the new venue look magnificent - it was always going to be superior to the abomination that was the athletics stadium they played in before - but in reality it gives the impression of being a little, well, incomplete. 
There is a cute all-seated main stand and a terrace behind the far goal but that’s it really as though the money ran out half way through building it. The changing rooms remain in the athletics stand and the cramped bar hasn’t been touched. They do now have student discount though, which proved a major gripe last season, and some proper segregation (i.e. something that isn’t a length of rope).
Did Boston have sympathy with their neighbours’ plight in this crippling recession? No, obviously not. There was the ‘Sign On’ ditty, many references to Maggie Thatcher and very many ‘Ing-er-lands’. We even sang the national anthem in the second half and Rule Britannia. The funniest one though was remarkably topical for Boston fans - ‘You can shove your independence up your arse...’ I suppose if Salmond gets his way, they’ll have to fence Corby off and we’ll come back next year with passports and visas. 
There weren’t as many of us as last season, when about 600 descended and sent the stewards and bar staff into hysterics. Our number was about 200 I’d say but helped by some good acoustics, we dominated the vocal battle with the Jocks, particularly after scoring in the second half. 
Having put in a season’s best performance against Nuneaton Town last weekend, United started positively and forced a succession of corners which were wasted in the absence of Gaffer Lee, who once again stayed out of the squad. Our best chance came from a sweet, dipping shot from Danny Sleath which looked all the way a goal of the season contender until home keeper Chris Mackenzie palmed it away. 
We paid for not practising corners this week as Corby opened the scoring shortly before half-time. It was their first corner and Delroy Gordon persuaded the ball over the line at the second attempt. Like Sleath, Ian Ross played impressively and after firing a shot narrowly wide in stoppage time, he produced a stunning free-kick to equalise soon after the break. It was a majestic goal and from then on, there was only one winner. 
Corby hacked one off the line and Marc Newsham struck the crossbar, but when it seemed all the world like Corby would steal a point, Ben Fairclough intervened. It was the third minute of stoppage time and after the confident Conor Marshall delivered from the right, Fairclough’s whippet-like burst left him with a straightforward close-range finish. Everyone went ballistic, bouncing around and hugging each other. Stoppage time salvation once again. Magic. 
Next Match: Down that way again on Saturday, we’re at Hinckley United.