Paul Malone was a happy man as he marked his return to league action for Corby Town by playing a key role in the 0-0 draw at Vanarama National League North leaders Nuneaton Town.
Nearly 10 months of frustration were finally ended for the popular central defender as he completed 90 minutes in his first competitive game for the club since suffering a double leg break and dislocated ankle in the 5-1 win over Weymouth in February.
Malone had played two matches for Stamford as part of his recovery but was brought back into the Steelmen squad by manager Tommy Wright after he had seen his team conceded five goals in the last 18 minutes in the 6-2 defeat to Tamworth in the FA Trophy.
And the centre-half was delighted to play a part in what he described as “a very good overall display”.
“I played the two games for Stamford and, from a personal point of view, they were so important,” Malone said.
“I think there were people saying ‘if he can play there, why can’t he play here?’ but to be honest I still had a fair bit to overcome from a psychological point of view.
“But it was great to be back in there at the weekend. I didn’t think about the injury at all. The only thing on my mind was making sure we got a good result.
“To be honest, it was an ideal game for me to go back into. I just wish we’d had a few more set-pieces to give me a chance of getting a goal!
“Individually and collectively, we performed very well and we needed that after what happened at the end of the Tamworth game.
“Everyone went out there and did their best to win their individual battles and that all led to a very good overall display.
“I think it pretty much went to plan from our point of view. If you had given any Corby fan a 0-0 draw at Nuneaton before the game I think they would have snapped your hand off.”
Malone, meanwhile, revealed he and midfielder Anton Brown helped each other through the tough times over the past couple of months.
Brown also made his first start since suffering a dislocated wrist at the end of August at Nuneaton.
Malone added: “Anton and me have been like brothers in arms!
“He has experienced a broken leg before so he knew what I was going through.
“We have been helping each other through it and we have both been frustrated. It was good to both be back out there at the same time.”
Read more from Paul Malone in Thursday’s Corby Telegraph