“Leslie stepped up to confidently beat Warhurst from the spot.”
Corby Town finally scored their first goal of 2018 but it wasn't enough as two late defensive lapses cost them dear. The Steelmen featured four players making their home debuts in the starting XI with another on the bench but unfortunately it was an all-too familiar story as a lack of punch up front was coupled with moments of slackness at the back
In general this was an uninspiring encounter between two teams with vastly contrasting recent form. Frickley were on a lengthy unbeaten run while Corby had lost their previous four games but despite this there was nothing between the sides.
Corby's first opportunity came when Jordan Crawford was fouled just outside the penalty area but Steven Leslie's free kick was comfortably held by Hugo Warhurst in the visiting goal. A surging run by Jake Bettles then took him deep into Frickley territory but his final pass just failed to find Matt Gardner.
At the other end a Jacob Hazel shot was diverted over the crossbar by Paul Malone's boot and Sam Wilson saved a Gavin Allott header from a centre by former Corby loanee Tyler Blake before Thomas Dugdale blazed a shot high over the bar from a good position.
The loss of Ashley Robinson with an injury just before half time was a blow to Corby but they could have gone in ahead at the interval as Sheffield United loanee Warhurst made an excellent save from a close-range Bettles effort in the dying seconds.
The Steelmen finally did break the deadlock from the penalty spot on the hour mark. A long ball forward by Malone was flicked on by Gardner to Crawford who had his progress checked illegally just inside the area by Jameel Ible for an obvious penalty. With no-one attempting to wrestle the ball from him Leslie stepped up to confidently beat Warhurst from the spot.
Corby thought they had doubled their lead minutes later when substitute Philip trainer fed a neat ball through to Crawford and his centre was put into the net at the second attempt by Gardner - only for a flag-waving linesman to rule it offside.
It still should have been a formality for Corby to play out the remaining minutes but it wasn't to be. In the 80th minute Jamie Anton did well to prevent Hazel from getting on the end of a cross by substitute Ishmael Dawson but the loose ball fell kindly to Allott who left Wilson helpless with a shot high into the net. Then, with just three minutes remaining, a defensive mix-up left Frickley skipper Allott with the simple task of walking the ball into net with the Steelmen appealing in vain for offside.
It was an ending which no-one saw coming and one which had Frickley celebrating as if they had already secured promotion at the final whistle.
CORBY TOWN:- Sam Wilson; Jamie Anton (captain), Sam Warburton; Paul Malone, Peter Dearle, Connor Kennedy; Steven Leslie (substitute Visan Vasile Cretu), Ashley Robinson (substitute Lee Garvie), Matt Gardner, Jake Bettles (substitute Philip Trainer), Jordan Crawford. Unused substitute: Dan Smith (GK).
FRICKLEY ATHLETIC:- Hugo Warhurst; Teddy Bloor (substitute Ishmael Dawson), Ben Algar; Cameron Hough, Jameel Ible, Danny Burns; Tyler Blake (substitute Jack Burton), Richard Patterson, Jacob Hazel (substitute Samuel Race), Gavin Allott (captain), Thomas Dugdale. Unused substitute: Paul Stancliffe.
REFEREE:- Mr Martin Chester (Lincoln).
Updated 09:38 - 31 Jan 2018 by David Tilley