A second-half collapse cost Corby Town as they managed to surrender a two-goal lead against Stourbridge at Steel Park.
After an hour of an entertaining Calor League Premier Division encounter, the Steelmen were 3-1 to the good and in control of proceedings but they gave away two sloppy goals, a needless penalty and just to put the icing on the proverbial cake they finished the game with 10 men.
Needing to keep winning to stay in the hunt for a play-off spot, losing to a rival wasn’t what was ordered and time is not on their side.
The opening quarter of an hour was pretty grim in a footballing sense with neither side able to control or pass the ball with much conviction.
That the visitors were a goal to the good owed more to good fortune than skill as Sean Geddes’ speculative cross from the right in the fourth minute left Paul Walker helpless as it found the far top corner.
Corby didn’t offer a great deal until the 18th minute when Tom McGowan’s perfectly weighted centre found an unmarked Aman Verma eight yards out and he had no trouble volleying home.
As is often the case, this changed the complexion of the contest with the goal forcing Stourbridge to play on the counter while the hosts had the majority of possession.
Not many clear-cut chances were forged with a few shots from distance and the odd nervously dealt with cross making up what could be classed as action.
At the other end, the visitors could not take advantage of a pair of free-kicks on the edge of the box with the rest of their play having a menace of sorts in the final third but no real precision.
Corby looked to be getting a touch restless as their period of domination failed to yield any reward but in the final stages of the half they went in front for the first time.
Claudiu Hoban hit the right-hand post after a failed clearance but the ball rebounded to Cleveland Taylor who steadied himself before firing home clinically.
The start of the second period mirrored that of the first with both sides struggling to settle into any kind of rhythm but I doubt if Corby were too fussed as they doubled their lead.
Greg Mills found a way through and was brought down by Leon Broadhurst before converting from the spot in emphatic style.
This should have to Corby taking control but almost out of nowhere they contrived to throw away their cushion in the space of four minutes just after the hour mark.
Twice, indecisively, they failed to deal with balls into the box and twice they were punished by Chris Knight and Kayelden Brown respectively.
Call it sloppiness or a lack of concentration but Corby should never have got into this position and the result was any authority in their play dissolved as they lost their way.
The turning of the tide was summed up in a small passage of play which firstly saw Taylor fire yards over after crafting an excellent opportunity and not too long after Stanton gave away for a penalty which gave Geddes his second of the afternoon.
Stanton then decided to add idiocy to rashness by raising his hands following some pettiness between Walker and Geddes - a straight red card his punishment - and that made an uphill task all that more difficult.
There was a late flurry of corners as an equaliser was sought but these were well defended as time ran out.
It could have been better, it should have been better, but it wasn’t and they only have themselves to blame.
Steelmen: Walker, Thomas, Jelleyman (sub, Ives 83), Malone, Stanton, McGowan, Taylor, Carruthers, Mills (sub, Njie 85), Verma, Hoban.
Subs not used: Carpenter, Wright, May.
Stourbridge: Coleman, Benbow, Richards, Ramsey-Dickson, Geddes (sub, Tye 88), Birch (sub, Fitzpatrick 46), Washbourne (sub, Knight 60), Broadhurst, Brown, Billingham, Sansara.
Subs not used: Francis, Drake.
Referee: Ben Cooke.