“Trainer's first swing with his right foot displaced only fresh air.”
Corby Town achieved their first away victory since mid-December in a controversial game at Stocksbridge Park Steels. The result possibly hinged on the 18th minute incident which led to the controversy. As Phil Trainer chased a forward pass into the penalty area Steels' goalkeeper David Reay safely gathered the ball but caught Trainer on his chest with his high leading foot. The far side linesman, who had a good side-on view of the incident, immediately flagged to alert referee Mr Ian Johnston of some wrong doing.
After a lengthy discussion Mr Johnston showed a red card to the disbelieving Reay and pointed to the penalty spot. With no replacement 'keeper on the bench Steels' skipper Liam McFadyen took over the gloves and his first act was to retrieve the ball from the back of the net after Matt Gardner emphatically buried his shot into the bottom corner of the net.
Despite being reduced to ten men Stocksbridge took the game to Corby and Alex Wiles sliced a shot wide after finding himself well placed on the right edge of the penalty area. Corby were then fully stretched to clear a near post corner and when the ball was returned into the box Kurtis Turner headed just over the bar.
The home side were also taking no prisoners and Tom Charlesworth picked up a yellow card for a dreadful challenge on Sam Warburton. Jordan Crawford also limped off at the half time whistle after being the victim of a foul tackle.
The Steelmen brought on Dino Tuskar for goalscorer Gardner at the start of the second half and the substitute was quickly in action down the left wing, firing in a low shot which was well saved by McFadyen. Within minutes Jake Bettles broke clear on the opposite flank but he was also denied by the impressive stand-in goalkeeper.
Corby did score a second goal just past the hour mark when Crawford, showing no ill-effects from his first half injury, clipped the ball in from the right wing and Tuskar got to the centre a fraction ahead of a defender at the near post to steer it past McFadyen.
At this point the odds were on Corby adding to their total as Bettles seemed to be barged in the back as he challenged for a cross by Connor Kennedy and Kennedy himself had a long range shot comfortably gathered by McFadyen.
Jamie Anton then sent in a cross from the right which Tuskar headed goalwards to force another good save from McFadyen.
Stocksbridge were not prepared to meekly lie down, however, and in the 70th minute a shot by Richard Stirrup was deflected wide. The resulting corner escaped the grasp of Corby 'keeper Wilson and although Dean McBride prevented Joe Lumsden from getting in a shot the loose ball was fired through a crowd of players by Scott Ruthven to make the score 2-1.
Corby recovered quickly from this blow and with seven minutes remaining appeared to put the game to bed. Crawford pulled the ball back from the by-line and although Trainer's first swing with his right foot displaced only fresh air his second attempt with his left sent the ball high into the net.
Any thoughts that Stocksbridge's ten men would tire near the end were dispelled as they finished the game strongly. Wilson made an excellent save to deny Lumsden but could not prevent Stirrup from heading in the corner which followed.
With the referee playing a lengthy period of stoppage time both teams had one final opportunity. For Corby Lee Garvie was just unable to turn in a centre by Ashley Robinson while at the other end Steels had a big penalty shout turned down when Rory Coleman went down under the challenge of substitute Robinson.
STOCKSBRIDGE PARK STEELS:- David Reay (Liam McFadyen); Tom Charlesworth, Rory Coleman; Alex Wiles, Liam McFadyen (captain), Matt Reay; Brodie Lichfield, Richard Stirrup, Joe Lumsden, Scott Ruthven, Kurtis Turner. Substitutes: Ben Rhodes, George Grayson, Lee Thompson, Ryan Laight, Chris Hilton.
CORBY TOWN:- Sam Wilson; Jamie Anton (captain), Sam Warburton; Paul Malone, Dean McBride, Steven Leslie (substitute Ashley Robinson); Jake Bettles (substitute Lee Garvie), Connor Kennedy, Philip Trainer, Matt Gardner (substitute Dino Tuskar), Jordan Crawford. Unused substitutes: Peter Dearle, Dan Smith (GK).
REFEREE:- Mr Ian Johnston.
Updated 19:22 - 25 Feb 2018 by David Tilley