TULIPS BLOOM AS CORBY WILT
DEFLECTED GOAL NOT ENOUGH FOR STEELMEN
Corby Town produced a disappointing performance to lose 2-1 away to Spalding United. Manager David Bell made just one personnel and one positional change from Saturday's line up, Miles Smith coming in at right back with Ollie Brown-Hill dropping to the bench and Connor Kennedy
moving from full back to midfield. The Spalding forward line included ex-Steelmen Lee Beeson, Gary King and Jamie McGhee.
The attendance at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing field was boosted to a just about respectable final total of 251 by a large contingent from Corby.
The Steelmen began well enough, winning two corners in the opening minutes and from the second of these Kern Miller directed a header straight at Michael Duggan in the home goal. But it would be another hour before Duggan was seriously tested again.
Despite several long throws from the right causing the Corby defence some problems Paul Bastock also remained untroubled for much of the first half. But with the interval approaching Spalding took a rather fortunate lead. Although the ball did bounce up and strike Phillip Trainer
on the hand there was clearly no intent on the Corby midfield player's part. Referee Mr Kieran Salmons saw it differently, however, and pointed to the penalty spot. Bastock dived to his left to push out Cenk Acar's kick but King reacted quickest to fire the rebound into the net.
Going in at half time a goal down was bad enough but within two minutes of the restart the hosts had doubled their advantage. The Corby defence cleared one corner with some difficulty but from a second Matt Varley rose highest to head past Bastock.
It was at this point that the Steelmen began to play, with the introduction of Conor Marshall and Ollie Brown-Hill bringing a better balance to the midfield.
Jack McGovern threw himself at a Miles Smith cross to send in a powerful goalbound header but Duggan proved equally acrobatic as he touched the ball over the crossbar. With Sam Mulready
hardly having a sniff of goal all evening it was left to McGovern to supply the attacking threat and he got on the end of another centre, this time from Jordan Crawford, but headed this opportunity high over the bar.
In the 77th minute an off-the-ball foul by Beeson on the edge of the penalty area gave Corby a free kick and Duggan was totally wrong-footed as Brown-Hill's effort took a deflection off the Spalding wall on its way into the net.
Corby were now beginning to dominate but were almost caught on the break when Tulips' substitute Jonny Lockie left defenders trailing in his wake as he ran from deep into his own half before shooting into the side netting.
Deep into injury time Corby created one last chance - and what a chance. Brown-Hill manoeuvred inside a crowded penalty area to make room for a shot which Duggan brilliantly pushed out. The loose ball fell to Jamie Anton
, on as substitute for the injured Steven Kinniburgh
, but with Varley throwing himself at the ball and two more defenders covering the line Anton's angled strike passed agonisingly wide of the far post.
As Duggan took the resulting free kick the final whistle blew and the reaction of the hosts afterwards showed just how highly they rated the Steelmen's scalp.