“Anton had a close range header blocked by the keeper's foot.”
Corby Town held on to second place in the Evo-stik Northern Premier League Division One South table despite putting in a below par performance on their first visit to Stamford's Zeeko Arena. The Steelmen's cause was not helped by the late withdrawal of striker Leon Lobjoit which saw Philip Trainer, so effective as a substitute this season, given a start up front and leave manager Steve Kinniburgh ith a bench consisting of a goalkeeper, two central defenders and a midfield player.
Corby were the first to threaten when Stamford goalkeeper Dan Haystead made a meal of clearing a free kick under pressure from Steven Leslie, Paul Malone played the ball back into the penalty area and Trainer rose above Delroy Gordon, possibly illegally, to head just wide.
The hosts also created chances early on as Liam Adams, on loan from Boston United, struck the post and Rob Morgan, who made 5 appearances for Corby in 2014/15, ended a surging run with a low shot which forced a good save from Sam Wilson.
Jordan Crawford was, as usual, always a threat for the STEELMEN and he had one shot saved by Haystead, fired another into the side netting after turning inside Ben George and saw Eliot Putman clear another goalbound effort off the line.
The stop-start nature of the game never allowed Corby to get into their stride, however, as there were too many niggly fouls and too few passes found their intended recipients.
Just as it appeared that the first half would end goalless Stamford broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute. Morgan showed greater determination than his Corby marker to win the ball just outside the penalty area, Bradley Wells played it out to the right and Adams fired in a first time shot which looped over Wilson.
To their credit Corby gave it a real go at the start of the second period as Crawford had a shot blocked by Henry Eze after a Visan-Vasile Cretu centre had been half cleared by George and Trainer hit a speculative overhead kick which was, unfortunately, also over the bar and over the perimeter fence.
The Steelmen's hopes of getting something out of the game were ended fifteen minutes from time when the defence failed to clear the danger and Morgan lifted a shot over Wilson to double Stamford's lead.
Corby were even denied a consolation effort as Connor Kennedy, moved upfield from full back in a late reshuffle as Steve Kinniburgh attempted to make the best use of his limited substitute options, had a shot deflected wide by Haystead and skipper Jamie Anton had a close range header blocked by the 'keeper's foot.
Stamford could even have netted a late third when substitute Jordan Smith found himself with a clear sight of goal but the former Steelman fired his shot off target.
AFC STAMFORD:- Dan Haystead; Ben George, Eliot Putman; Mike Armstrong, Delroy Gordon (captain), Henry Eze; Rob Morgan, Jake Duffy, Bradley Wells (substitute Jon Challinor), Liam Adams (substitute Jordan Smith), Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson (substitute Sam Hollis). Unused substitutes: Pearson Manyongo, Joe Burgess.
CORBY TOWN:- Sam Wilson; Connor Kennedy, Sam Warburton; Paul Malone, Jamie Anton (captain), Cameron Healey; Visan-Vasile Cretu (substitute Jason Lee), Ben Bradshaw, Steven Leslie, Philip Trainer, Jordan Crawford. Unused substitutes: Dean McBride, CJ Tanga-Gibson, Dan Smith (GK).
REFEREE:- Mr Matthew Law (Leicester).
Updated 18:06 - 27 Dec 2017 by David Tilley