“Only the goalkeeping of Duggan stood between the Steelmen and a landslide victory.”
When Spalding United won 2-1 at home to Corby Town in the second game of the current season they did, by their admission, overdo the aftermatch celebrations. Fast forward to the Saturday before Christmas and Spalding had little to celebrate as they became the latest victims of Steve Kinniburgh's resurgent STEELMEN. Only three Corby players, Connor Kennedy, Steven Leslie and Jordan Crawford started both games and the average age of the squad is now considerably younger. The current Spalding team included three former STEELMEN in Conor Marshall, Lee Beeson and Gary King.
Corby are well aware of Beeson's prowess from set pieces and he didn't disappoint as an early free kick was met by the head of Ellis Humble and required an excellent reflex save by Sam Wilson in the Corby goal.
Corby did appear to have two plausible penalty shouts waved away when the returning Leon Lobjoit and Paul Malone both seemed to be impeded in the penalty area.
But in the 16th minute, however, another cross by Beeson was headed powerfully past Wilson by Ben Davison to give Spalding the lead.
For a time the STEELMEN were visibly rattled by this turn of events but they quickly put it behind them and were level within seven minutes. Ben Bradshaw won possession in a crunching tackle on Beeson in midfield and the ball was played out to left wing - always a productive area for Corby. Jordan Crawford played it back to Sam Warburton and Bradshaw read the flight of his centre perfectly to direct a downward header into the bottom corner of the net.
Connor Kennedy then hit a shot from distance narrowly wide and Crawford took the ball round goalkeeper Duggan but could not get it out from between his feet before Neil Spafford got a clearance in.
Corby completely controlled the second half and only the goalkeeping of Duggan stood between the STEELMEN and a landslide victory. He pushed away a low Crawford shot at full stretch and was in the right spot to clutch a Paul Malone header following a Steven Leslie free kick.
In the 57th minute Corby supporters again appealed for a penalty when Lobjoit was bundled over by Adam Jackson but the Corby forward played to the whistle and set up an opportunity for Cameron Healey who fired in the Steelmen's second goal from the edge of the penalty area.
Duggan then made another good save from a Malone header before Corby wrapped up the points in the 71st minute. Lobjoit beat Humble for pace down the left and played the ball into the path of Phil Trainer who rifled in the third goal from just inside the box.
Supersub Trainer headed an effort inches past the post, Leslie brought another fine save from Duggan and Lobjoit fired a shot wide as Corby totally dominated the final stages.
Deep into injury time referee Mr Oliver Mackey did point to the spot when Lobjoit was felled inside the area but with the last kick of the game Lodjoit was denied the goal his performance deserved as he slipped in the act of shooting and the ball went wide off the outside of the post.
CORBY TOWN:- Sam Wilson; Connor Kennedy, Sam Warburton; Paul Malone, Jamie Anton (captain), Cameron Healey; Visan-Vasile Cretu (substitute Phil Trainer), Ben Bradshaw, Steven Leslie, Leon Lobjoit, Jordan Crawford (substitute CJ Tanga-Gibson). Unused substitutes; Dean McBride, Jason Lee, Dan Smith (GK).
SPALDING UNITED:- Michael Duggan; Jack Fixter, Adam Jackson (captain); Conor Marshall (substitute Layton Maddison), Ellis Humble, Neil Spafford; Cenk Acar (substitute George Couzens), Lee Beeson, Gary King (substitute Jonny Lockie), Ben Davison, Jordan Neil Unused substitute: Alex Smith (GK).
REFEREE:- Mr Oliver Mackey (Leicester).
Updated 20:10 - 24 Dec 2017 by David Tilley