“"Anton's angled strike flew agonisingly wide of the far post".”
Corby Town produced a disappointing performance to lose 2-1 away to Spalding United on Tuesday evening. Manager David Bell made just one personnel and one positional change from Saturday's line-up, Miles Smith coming in at right back, Ollie Brown-Hill dropping down to the bench and Connor Kennedy moving into midfield from full back. 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 respectable 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 free header straight at Mike Duggan. But it would be almost an hour before the Tulips' goalkeeper 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 Phil Trainer on the hand there was clearly no intent on the Corby midfield man's part. Referee Mr Kieron 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 Connor Marshall and 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 in 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 Steven Kinniburgh, but with Varley throwing himself at the ball and two more defenders covering the line Anton's angled strike flew agonisingly wide of the far post.
As Duggan took the resulting goal kick the final whistle blew and the reaction of the hosts afterwards showed just how highly they rated the Steelmen's scalp.
SPALDING UNITED: Michael Duggan; Paul Walker, Adam Jackson (captain); Matt Varley, Ellis Humble, Neal Spafford; Lee Beeson, Nathan Whitehead, Gary King, Cenk Acar, Jamie McGhee. Substitutes: Jack Fixter, Liam Harris, Jonny Lockie, Alex Smith (GK).
CORBY TOWN:- Paul Bastock; Miles Smith, Steven Kinniburgh (substitute Jamie Anton); Phil Trainer, Kern Miller (captain), Jason Lee, Connor Kennedy (substitute Ollie Brown-Hill), Steven Leslie (substitute Connor Marshall), Jack McGovern, Sam Mulready, Jordan Crawford. Unused substitutes: Ryan Bell, Shay Brennan.
REFEREE:- Mr Kieron Salmons.
Updated 10:31 - 21 Aug 2017 by James McCafferty