VERDICT – Another capitulations raises serious questions of the Steelmen

Paul Malone (on the ground) is shown a red card during Corby Town's 4-0 defeat to Stockport County. Pictures by Alison Bagley
Paul Malone (on the ground) is shown a red card during Corby Town's 4-0 defeat to Stockport County. Pictures by Alison Bagley
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It is becoming an all-too familiar tale for Corby Town.

The Steelmen produced another second-half capitulation at Steel Park as Stockport County were allowed to escape with what proved to be an all-too easy three points.

Kayode Odejayi scores Stockport's third goal at Steel Park

Kayode Odejayi scores Stockport's third goal at Steel Park

The sending-off of Paul Malone on his return to league action on home turf could perhaps be used in mitigation.

Ultimately, that won’t wash as the Steelmen surrendered far too weakly again having been more than a match for the visitors in the opening 45 minutes.

It’s all becoming a bit desperate for Corby. They are stuck in the bottom three and will have to watch on next weekend while everyone else around them plays.

It won’t be until Boxing Day and the first of three huge games over the festive period when they will get the chance to right the wrongs.

The reaction of the Steelmen players says it all as Stockport claimed a 4-0 win at Steel Park

The reaction of the Steelmen players says it all as Stockport claimed a 4-0 win at Steel Park

This game marked the halfway point of Corby’s league season and the half-term report doesn’t make pleasant reading.

A six-match unbeaten run at the start of the season is now a distant memory. The second half will be all about the fight to survive.

And there’s the key word - fight. Another worrying capitulation creates questions over whether this Steelmen squad does have the stomach for this fight.

Manager Tommy Wright is clearly right up for it. And some of his players need to follow suit quickly if this campaign isn’t to end with all of the hard work from last season in getting promoted being wasted.

Stockport started brightly and only a fine save from Harry Burgoyne to deny Jonny Margetts, who broke the offside trap to race clear, prevented the visitors from taking an early lead.

But the Steelmen gradually grew into it and they went close to breaking the deadlock just before the break.

Greg Mills skinned two players on the left wing and his shot was only parried by Andreas Arestidou. It fell to Andre Johnson but the goalkeeper reacted quickly to block the rebound.

If the first half was a close contest, the second was anything but.

The visitors took the lead three minutes after the restart as Karl Ledsham was sent through on goal and he made no mistake when one-on-one with Burgoyne.

And then disaster struck just before the hour. Ben Milnes conceded possession cheaply in midfield, the ball was swept forward and Malone’s desperate attempt to challenge Margetts resulted in him hauling down the frontman.

The inevitable penalty and red card followed and Margetts picked himself up to send Burgoyne the wrong way from the spot.

Instead of steadying the ship, the Steelmen folded and it was too easy for Kayode Odejayi to head home the third from a Danny Morton cross on 67 minutes.

And the misery was complete with 17 minutes to go when Duane Courtney hauled down Margetts in full flight and the frontman again converted from the penalty spot.

It could have been worse had substitute Mo Cham not fluffed his lines in front of goal late on.

But for Stockport the job was done and done comfortably.

Wright and his players now have just under two weeks to regroup and prepare for the Boxing Day derby at Brackley Town.

With home clashes with Lowestoft and Brackley again to follow, Corby have three matches against teams who are down there with them.

It represents one of the most important festive periods in recent history for the Steelmen.

Are they up for the fight? By the time 2016 dawns, we’ll have a fair idea...

Steelmen: Burgoyne; Taylor, Courtney, McDonald, Malone, Thomas; Milnes, Brown, Downey (sub Revan, 68 mins); Mills, Johnson (sub Kennedy, 68 mins). Subs not used: Donkin, Draper, Ball.

Stockport: Arestidou; Morton, Smalley, O’Hanlon, Garvin; Tonge; Rule (sub Joyce, 28 mins), Montrose, Ledsham; Odejayi (sub Cham, 84 mins), Margetts (sub Evans, 82 mins). Subs not used: O’Hara, Roberts.

Referee: Ben Cooke.

Goals: Ledsham (48 mins, 0-1), Margetts pen (60 mins, 0-2), Odejayi (67 mins, 0-3), Margetts pen (73 mins, 0-4).

Bookings: Downey, Garvin, Joyce (all fouls).

Sending-off: Malone (professional foul).

Attendance: 575.