Steelmen stunned by five-star Altrincham

Chris Plummer
Chris Plummer

Corby Town were given a first-half rude awakening as they eventually went down to a 5-2 defeat at the hands of a rampant Altrincham side in the Blue Square Bet North.

The Steelmen were anything but pretty in pink in their away kit, which they were wearing as part of a fundraising effort at Steel Park for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

On Non-League Day, Corby took a worrying few steps backwards with a first-half display that was all-too familiar to those seen in the first five games of the season, which eventually saw Ian Sampson resign as manager.

And, to be honest, no-one would have seen it coming after Chris Plummer had seemingly steadied the ship with just one defeat in seven games before this one.

But a four-game winning run at home was ended in emphatic style.

However, nothing should be taken away from the visiting Robins who were excellent as they missed a penalty before storming into a 5-0 lead inside an incredible first 40 minutes.

Their movement, desire and finishing was first class while Corby were, at best, lacklustre and a far cry from the performances of recent weeks.

There was an improvement after the break as a mixture of the visitors taking their foot off the gas and the Steelmen finally turning up ensured it didn’t get any more embarrassing. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done.

Carl Piergianni was handed his debut after joining the Steelmen in midweek while Gillingham loanee Jack Evans returned and Leon McKenzie, who was captain for the day, also came back in with Jason Crowe, Avelino Vieira and Pierrick Briand making way.

The tone was set inside the first 120 seconds as Duncan Watmore shot wide. But no-one could really have predicted what would happen in the next 38 minutes.

Jake Moult was sent clear by Damian Reeves and skipped past goalkeeper Paul Walker, who hauled him down.

Walker was perhaps fortunate to receive only a yellow card and he rubbed salt into the visitors’ wounds by brilliantly diving to his right to save the prolific Reeves’ spot-kick.

Tom McGowan fired straight at Stuart Coburn at the other end but it was the visitors who looked more lively in attack and they earned a second penalty when Evans was adjudged to have tripped Nicky Clee.

This time it was Matt Doughty who stepped up and he made no mistake by hammering home from 12 yards.

And it got even worse for the Steelmen just before the half-hour mark when Watmore took aim from the edge of the area. Walker could only parry his strike and Reeves did what he does best as he finished it off from close-range.

Watmore caused all sorts of problems for Piergianni, who was playing at left-back, but everyone was powerless to stop the third and the winger cut in from the left and brilliantly curled his shot into the corner. Half-an-hour gone and game over.

From there it looked a case of how many Altrincham would get. And they got two more before the break as Corby caved in.

Moult made it four as his shot squirmed under Walker and no sooner had the game started again, a long punt over the top released Reeves who beat Walker with a low shot.

There would have been, no doubt, a few choice words from Plummer at the break and he threw on Avelino Vieira in place of Ryan Semple in an attempt to add some bite to the frontline.

Altrincham’s James Lawrie saw a header ruled out for offside before the Steelmen pulled a goal back 11 minutes into the second half when Piergianni headed home after Paul Malone had nodded a corner back into the six-yard box.

Clee tested Walker with a shot at the other end while, in a scrappy second half, Corby substitute Greg Kaziboni brought a decent save out of Coburn.

And it was Kaziboni who did grab another consolation in stoppage-time with an excellent curling shot.

The Steelmen produced a vast improvement in the second half but, ultimately, it was too late after that miserable opening period. Unfortunately, that is what everyone will remember.

Steelmen (4-3-3): Walker; Evans, Malone, Galinski, Piergianni; McGowan (sub Richardson, 77 mins), Wedderburn, Ives; Semple (sub Vieira, h-t), McKenzie (sub Kaziboni, 77 mins), Moreman. Subs not used: Briand, Webb.

Altrincham (4-4-2): Coburn; Densmore, Havern, Hall, Doughty (sub Leather, 64 mins); Watmore, Moult (sub Lacey, 80 mins), Rodgers, Clee; Lawrie, Reeves (sub Mitchley, 75 mins). Subs not used: Brooke, Greygoose.

Referee: Neil Hair.

Goals: Doughty pen (12 mins, 0-1), Reeves (27 mins, 0-2), Watmore (30 mins, 0-3), Moult (39 mins, 0-4), Reeves (40 mins, 0-5), Piergianni (56 mins, 1-5), Kaziboni (90 mins, 2-5).

Bookings: Walker, Havern (both fouls).

Attendance: 572.