“The long throws of Ashley Robinson were causing problems for the home defence.”
A fourth successive defeat without a goal leaves Corby Town in mid-table with a play-off spot rapidly disappearing into the distance. With three debutants in the starting XI and another on the bench no-one can say that Steve Kinniburgh is not doing his best to stop the rot. But even the Corby manager declared himself to be "speechless" after this loss at Belper.
During the opening forty five minutes the Steelmen bombarded the Nailers' goal but only forced goalkeeper Danny Roberts to make one save worthy of the description.
It might have been very different had Corby been awarded the penalty they thought had been given in the 15th minute when Max Thornberry blocked a Jordan Crawford centre with his hand. Referee Mr Kevin Saunby pointed immediately to the spot but then saw a raised flag from his assistant and gave Belper a free kick for offside.
A free kick on the edge of the box by Steven Leslie cleared the crossbar and landed in a piece of waste ground behind the goal, as did a fierce shot from Jake Bettles after Callum Lloyd had headed out a right wing corner.
The long throws of Ashley Robinson were causing problems for the home defence and another half clearance was fired into that piece of no-man's land by Leslie.
Crawford had three decent opportunities in the first half but his first was blocked by a defender, the second was saved low down by Roberts and the third was a free kick which was hit into the defensive wall.
Leon Lobjoit had the ball taken off his head by a defender at the far post following a corner but the Northampton Town loanee was struggling to make an impact and his over-eagerness saw him flagged offside on several occasions.
Belper finally got a shot on target with the very last kick of the first half but even that did not unduly trouble Sam Wilson in the Corby goal.
The hosts showed more attacking intent at the start of the second half as Lee Williamson sliced a shot wide, Wilson made a decent save at the foot of a post from Sam Birks and Leandro Brown saw his close range effort strike the crossbar.
Corby were still creating chances, however, and Roberts made a good save from an angled Crawford shot after the Steelmen forward had turned Thornberry inside out down the left. A neat back heel by Lobjoit created a chance for Connor Kennedy but Roberts again did well to block the Corby player's effort.
Lobjoit and Crawford then both had weak shots plucked out of the air by Roberts when passes to the overlapping Sam Warburton were probably the better option.
The nagging fear was that Corby would live to regret wasting some many chances and so it proved in the 74th minute. A quick break had the Steelmen on the back foot but they still had ample opportunities to clear the danger. They failed to do so, however, and Williamson was left with a simple finish just inside the post.
At this late stage Corby resorted to playing hopeful balls upfield but even with five minutes of injury time they were unable to produce anything resembling a real chance.
Two final points of interest, this was Paul Malone's 200th appearance for Corby Town while Lee Garvie made his debut as a second half substitute - fourteen years after being included in the first team squad as a youth team player.
BELPER TOWN:- Danny Roberts; Max Thornberry, Haydn Goddard; Dominic Allen, John Guy (captain), Kieran Harrison; Leandro Brown, Callum Lloyd, Sam Birks (substitute Alex Steadman), Lee Williamson, Dylan Garnett (substitute Cameron Steele). Unused substitutes: Kane Baldwin, Jack Hallahan, Aaron Cole.
CORBY TOWN:- Sam Wilson; Jamie Anton (captain), Sam Warburton; Paul Malone, Peter Dearle, Ashley Robinson; Jake Bettles (substitute Lee Garvie), Connor Kennedy, Leon Lobjoit, Steven Leslie (substitute Philip Trainer), Jordan Crawford. Unused substitutes: Dean McBride, Dan Smith (GK).
REFEREE:- Mr Kevin Saunby.
Updated 12:20 - 21 Jan 2018 by David Tilley