Cleethorpes Town 1 Corby Town 4
LACKLUSTRE OWLS CUT DOWN BY STEELMEN
A return to Bradley for the Owls as Corby Town were the visitors at the start of three fixtures over the Easter weekend.
Clee suffered a narrow defeat at Alvechurch on Tuesday and knew that they needed a bumper haul of points over the holiday to maintain pressure on the other play-off hopefuls. It has been a mixed campaign for the Steelmen, who currently sit 9th in the table. The reverse game in November finished in a hard-fought 1-1 draw, with Danny North grabbing the goal for the Owls.
Manager Marcus Newell made wholesale changes from Tuesday. Tim Lowe, Jack Richardson, Mark Gray, Andy Taylor, Liam Davis, Marc Cooper and Luke Aldrich all came in at the expense of Loz McKay, Liam Dickens, Matt Bloomer, Alex Flett, Brody Robertson, Danny North and Jon Oglesby respectively. Defender Lowe had the honour of being captain for the evening.
The game exploded into life in the 6th minute when Steven Leslie found space in the Owls’ box following a cross from the left-wing and guided his header beyond keeper Sam Vince into the corner of the net.
Not the start the home team were looking for and Aldrich responded with a shot that was smartly saved by away stopper Sam Wilson, after an excellent through ball from Oli Donald. Then, in the 19th minute, Richardson burst through midfield before drawing a foul. However, the delivery was too high for the gathered forwards.
The Owls were then rocked by conceding two goals in close proximity. On 25 minutes, Vince was dispossessed as he went to clear his lines and Jake Bettles stroked home to double the Steelmen’s lead. More trouble followed in the next attack. The Clee defence was caught square after a fast break on the right and a precise cross was converted by Sam Warburton.
Captain Lowe entered the referee’s notepad on the half hour, as tempers frayed following the disastrous start.
For whatever reason, the Owls just could not get going against a Corby side who were visibly growing in confidence as the half reached its dying stages. Vince atoned somewhat for his earlier error by saving well from a header and Gray was on hand to snuff out another dangerous moment.
HT Cleethorpes Town 0 Corby Town 3 (Leslie 6, Bettles 25, Warburton 28)
No doubt with the words of the management ringing in their ears, Clee started the second period with renewed vigour.
Two early free-kicks in from Davis caused a problem for the defence, with Donald heading narrowly over from the first. Curtis Bateson beat his marker and his low cross was well cut-out by Wilson.
A bright opening ten minutes from the Owls but it proved to be a false dawn, as the visitors put the game out of reach with a superb individual goal from Philip Trainer. Picking up the ball 20 yards out, the striker quickly got it under control, cut inside and unleashed an unstoppable curling shot into the top corner.
The home faithful were stunned by events and, as the rain began to beat down, three substitutions were made over the next quarter-hour. Flett, North and Oglesby all entered the field in place of Davis, Josh Lacey and Richardson.
Flett soon stung the keeper’s hands with a fierce drive and Cooper found the side-netting as Clee belatedly began to dominate. This was not to say that Corby had nothing left to offer, with Jordan Crawford almost adding to the misery.
A consolation arrived for the Owls with 5 minutes left on the watch, when a header from Cooper was only parried by Wilson and substitute North was on hand to tap home. This proved to be the final action of the rainy evening, as Clee slipped to successive defeats.
FT Cleethorpes Town 1 (North 85) Corby Town 4 (Leslie 6, Bettles 25, Warburton 28, Trainer 55) Attendance: 203
There have been many good days following the Owls over the last four seasons but, safe to say, this was not one of them!
Clee never got going and it is probably best to wipe the match from the memory banks. A year to the day since we endured a similar experience at Maltby, let’s hope we respond in the same positive manner. In case anyone has forgotten, we won every game afterwards!
We are next in action tomorrow (Saturday 31st March – 3pm) when we travel to face Sheffield. We will be keen to avenge our surprise 4-0 home defeat. Then on Monday 2nd April (3pm), we entertain Lincoln United. Let’s hope the game is as exciting as Boxing Day, when we triumphed 5-4 in a topsy-turvy match.
Hope to see you all over the holiday weekend! I will finish by wishing all Owls’ fans a very happy and peaceful Easter.
UP THE OWLS!