Steelmen battle back for another dramatic victory

Corby Town boss Tommy Wright and his assistant Dave Clarke
Corby Town boss Tommy Wright and his assistant Dave Clarke
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Corby Town maintained their title hopes in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division with another dramatic victory as they claimed a fine 4-2 win at St Neots Town.

Having led 1-0 after a confident first-half display, the Steelmen threatened to throw it all away after Drew Roberts’ double had put St Neots 2-1 up with 17 minutes to go.

But a remarkable finish saw Edi Appleton equalise before Ben Milnes and Elliott Chamberlain, with his second of the day, completed a stunning fightback to keep Corby level with Poole Town at the top of the table.

Tommy Wright made two changes from the team that started the 1-0 victory over Poole.

Paul Malone came straight back into the side at the expense of Connor Kennedy with Kalern Thomas moving to right-back and Jamie Anton to the left side of the defence.

The other change was enforced with Spencer Weir-Daley being ruled out due to illness and that meant a start for Wilson Carvalho.

The opening exchanges were even with the only shot of not coming from Milnes as his deflected effort was comfortably held by veteran home goalkeeper Paul Bastock.

But it was the Steelmen who drew first blood on 18 minutes.

Greg Mills sent in a corner from the right. It was cleared as far as Milnes on the edge of the box and, although Bastock saved the midfielder’s fierce half-volley, Chamberlain was there to stab home the rebound.

Corby grew in confidence after that goal and it really should have been 2-0 nine minutes later.

Carvalho did well down the right and sent in a low cross but Chamberlain completely missed his kick from a couple of yards with the goal at his mercy.

The Steelmen continued to dominate the first period but were unable to find a second goal before the break.

Mills also missed his kick in front of goal after Chamberlain pulled the ball back to him while Shane Byrne curled another effort high and wide.

St Neots made third substitution at half-time following a couple of injuries in the opening period, meaning they had few options for the rest of the game.

But, after a scrappy start to the second half, the hosts drew level just past the hour mark.

Malone was forced to clear away for a corner after a mistake from Edi Appleton had let in home substitute Lorenzo Ferrari.

But from David Hutton’s resulting corner, Ryan Frater flicked it on and Roberts nodded home at the far post.

That gave St Neots the initiative as Corby seemed to freeze in the cold temperatures.

And the hosts took the lead with 17 minutes to go. Nathan Frater was out of luck after his shot came back off the inside of the post before being cleared.

But from the corner that followed, it was cleared as far as Hutton. He drove it back in and while Corby waited for a flag, Roberts made no mistake by finishing it off.

Visibly stunned, the Steelmen didn’t look like they would find a way back.

But they regrouped and found an equaliser on 80 minutes. Byrne was the creator and it all ended with Chamberlain’s shot being half-saved by Bastock. The frontman carried on and his cross gave Appleton the easiest of tap ins from close range.

And a breathless second half was summed up when the Steelmen grabbed another dramatic late goal shortly after Cleveland Taylor had forced Bastock into a save.

Chamberlain did the leg work as he got in the right channel. He drew Bastock in and then pulled the ball back for Milnes, who made no mistake from six yards.

The game was up for St Neots and a dramatic second half was completed in stoppage-time when Chamberlain found space and his deflected shot found the net via the underside of the crossbar.

The Steelmen did things the hard way but their character to come back was a joy to behold, much like the celebrations with a big army of fans at the end.

And so they march on...

St Neots: Bastock; York, R Frater, Ward, Ford; N Frater, Hilliard (sub Ferrari, h-t), Cracknell (sub Davis, 18 mins), Hutton; Mackey (sub Davies, 40 mins), Roberts. Subs not used: Plowright, Greygoose.

Steelmen: Walker; Thomas (sub Kennedy, 76 mins), Malone, Appleton, Anton; Taylor, Byrne; Carvalho, Milnes, Mills (sub Wright, 70 mins); Chamberlain. Subs not used: Hartley, Bentley, Donkin.

Referee: Nigel Smith.

Goals: Chamberlain (18 mins, 0-1), Roberts (62 mins, 1-1), Roberts (73 mins, 2-1), Appleton (80 mins, 2-2), Milnes (87 mins, 2-3), Chamberlain (90 mins, 2-4).

Bookings: Hilliard, Hutton, Malone, N Frater (all fouls), R Frater (dissent).

Attendance: 462.