Corby Town 1 Thame United 3
By Jake Collinge
If United supporters feared the worst after successive defeats and a trip to face a side unbeaten at home then, quite simply, they did not need to.
With a performance that not only stifled the home side, but saw the visitors create a series of good goal scoring opportunities, the players and management team delivered a thoroughly deserved result against a side that, without doubt, will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.
United lined-up as they had done the previous week at Royston Town, with Dan West – the only doubt following stitches to a head injury at Royston – declared fit. United were quickly in their stride and could have opened the scoring inside the opening ten minutes when Harry Scott raced clear only for a slightly heavy touch sufficient to give Dan George in the home goal enough of a chance to collect the ball. The home side probed with long diagonal balls from right to left that were well dealt with by right back and man of the match, Harry Mepham, whilst United continued to look dangerous through the channels and, from one such run, Liam Tack struck an effort from 20 yards just over the barn on 23 minutes. Captain Ben Sturgess was then just unable to connect with the ball when well placed in the penalty area, before the visitors took the lead on 40 minutes.
Good inter-play between West and Lynton Goss saw the latter through on goal and, from the right hand edge of the box he slipped the ball wide of the on-rushing George and in to the back of the net. It was, at this point, no less than the visitors deserved and silenced the 400+ crowd.
With a double substitution at the break, United anticipated an onslaught from the home side and, in the opening minutes, Warburton on the left delivered some dangerous balls in to the United box that were well cleared. However, it was United who extended the lead on 51 minutes when Goss raced on to a ball over the top from Mepham, beating his marker before slotting the ball wide of George from an acute angle. Two became three on 58 minutes when, following a corner on the right, the ball was recycled back to Harry Scott who delivered an inch perfect curling cross that was met at the back post by a thumping header from Jamie Essex, giving George no chance.
At this stage United were in complete control but, with just over twenty minutes remaining, a reckless and unnecessary challenge from Aaron Jewell near the corner flag saw the centre back dismissed. This gave the home side impetus and, on 75 minutes, another dangerous cross from Warburton saw the unlucky West put the ball in to the back of the net. United re-organised with Gledhill replacing West and operating alongside Essex in the centre of defence. The home side continued to press but the United defence held firm and, on the few occasions they were breached, Hill in the Thame goal was commanding in both collecting the ball and, more particularly, in denying substitute Bettles when well placed. Calvin Evans and Finlay Murray replaced Scott and Goss and, United saw out the five minutes of injury time with relative comfort to secure a return to winning ways.
Hill, Mepham, Lynn, Essex, Jewell, Ashworth, Tack, Goss (Murray), Sturgess, West (Gledhill), Scott (Evans)