“Malone spun round to fire a low left foot shot across goal and into the far bottom corner.”
It may have been only November 4th but there were fireworks aplenty at Steel Park on Saturday and fortunately it was Corby Town who were supplying the rockets. The die was cast as early as the seventh minute when a Steven Leslie corner was headed goalwards by Paul Malone and visiting full back Dominic Allen nodded clear from underneath the crossbar.
The Steelmen gained a succession of early corners, each one taken by Leslie and all aimed at the head of Malone. The Corby central defender directed his next effort straight at Danny Roberts and then saw the Belper goalkeeper juggle his header out as far as Sam Mulready, whose follow-up shot was blocked. These corners were all taken on Corby's left but Leslie proved to be equally proficient from the opposite flank when he sent in a flag kick which was headed narrowly wide by the diving Malone.
Corby's next opportunity came from a Jamie Anton throw-in which was headed on by Malone to Sam Mulready who got in front of Allen but nodded the ball against the post.
It was Malone who opened the scoring in the 27th minute, but in a rather less predictable manner. Having gone upfield for a Sam Warburton throw-in Molly was still inside the penalty box when the half cleared ball was played back in by Jamie Anton. The unmarked Malone spun round to fire a low left-foot shot across goal and into the far bottom corner.
On the half hour Warburton broke up a rare Belper attack and combined with Jordan Crawford to take the ball almost the length of the field. Crawford gained a corner kick which was - not surprisingly - taken by Leslie and although Anton could not direct the ball goalwards he did play it back out to Leslie. His cross was met by Malone and although his initial header was blocked he reacted quickest to fire the rebound into the net.
Corby added a third in the 37th minute when Belper's appropriately named skipper John Guy got to a through-ball fractionally ahead of Jordan O'Brien and instantly wished he hadn't as his attempted clearance looped up over the head of Roberts into the net.
Belper made a spirited go of it at the start of the second half and had a decent appeal for a penalty turned down by Solihull referee Mr Andrew Ellis.
Any hopes of a visiting comeback were ended in the 55th minute when Crawford took the ball from deep in his own half to the edge of the Belper penalty area, at which point he curled a peach of a shot which Roberts could only stand and admire as it sailed in.
Roberts did well to keep out a shot from Mulready but enjoyed a slice of good fortune when he allowed a long range effort by Leslie to bounce off his chest with no Steelmen following up to take advantage.
O'Brien then ended a good run down the right with a shot into the side netting as Corby continued to carve open the Belper defence almost at will.
Right back Allen was finding life particularly difficult against Crawford and Warburton and after picking up two yellow cards for stopping them illegally he inevitably saw red. He was a little unfortunate as the second offence was barely more than an obstruction on Crawford but Mr Ellis deemed it worthy of the ultimate punishment.
This foul produced a free kick on the edge of the box which was floated to the far post by Leslie. The ball was headed back across goal by Jason Lee and O'Brien supplied the finishing touch virtually on the line before being spun round like a rag doll by Malone in celebration.
With the game well and truly won manager Steven Kinniburgh sent on Visan Vasile Cretu for his debut and the Romanian struck the bar from close range after an effort by Mulready had been blocked.
A sixth successive league victory, five goals scored and none conceded will certainly put Corby in good spirits for next week's testing trip to Frickley.
CORBY TOWN:- Sam Wilson; Jamie Anton, Sam Warburton; Paul Malone, Jason Lee (captain), Steven Leslie; Jordan O'Brien, Ben Bradshaw, Philip Trainer, Sam Mulready (substitute CJ Tanga-Gibson), Jordan Crawford (substitute Visan Vasile Cretu). Unused substitutes: Steven Kinniburgh, Dan Smith (GK).
BELPER TOWN:- Danny Roberts; Dominic Allen, Haydn Goddard; Kieran Harrison, Max Hunt, John Guy (captain); Leandro Brown (substitute Joe Hunt), Josh Barr-Rostron, Ben Hutchinson (substitute Dylan Garnett), Kieran O'Connell, Alex Steadman (substitute Sam Birks). Unused substitutes:- Dexter Atkinson, Mark Rathbone (GK).
REFEREE:- Mr Andrew Ellis (Solihull).
Updated 18:38 - 5 Nov 2017 by David Tilley