VERDICT – Steelmen’s improvement is clear but it’s points that are needed

The Corby Town players show their disappointment while Nuneaton Town celebrate their third goal during the 3-1 win at Steel Park. Pictures by Alison Bagley
The Corby Town players show their disappointment while Nuneaton Town celebrate their third goal during the 3-1 win at Steel Park. Pictures by Alison Bagley

In a roundabout way, this game showed how far Corby Town have come in recent weeks.

The fact they will, no doubt, be extremely disappointed not to have taken anything from a clash against a play-off chasing side is evidence of the improvements that have been made of late.

Joe Ironside heads home Nuneaton Town's second goal at Steel Park

Joe Ironside heads home Nuneaton Town's second goal at Steel Park

When Greg Mills brought the Steelmen level with Nuneaton Town 11 minutes into the second half, it looked like they may well go on to pick up a second successive win at Steel Park.

In the end, the visitors had a moment of quality left in their locker and that set them up for the 3-1 success.

It is encouraging to have seen the improvement in Tommy Wright’s side.

But the truth is, they need to keep racking up the points as they bid to avoid the drop in the Vanarama National League North.

Greg Mills celebrates after he scored the Steelmen's equaliser

Greg Mills celebrates after he scored the Steelmen's equaliser

Brackley Town’s win at Hednesford Town ensured the Steelmen dropped back into the bottom three.

And the clock is ticking. Corby have 12 games to save themselves and there won’t be many bigger than the next one on Wednesday night when they head to Bradford Park Avenue, who could yet be drawn right into the relegation equation.

As far as the clash with Nuneaton was concerned, Wright and his players may well feel they missed a trick.

They made things hard for themselves. Having taken the kick-off, the Steelmen lost possession and found themselves a goal down after just 33 seconds as Tyrell Waite raced clear on the right of the penalty area and made no mistake with a neat finish to beat Sam Donkin.

Elliott Whitehouse shot straight at Donkin as Corby struggled to get going but they did grow into things with Mills shooting over from a good position before dragging another effort wide before the break.

Wright threw on Ryan Robbins at half-time and he did add an extra edge to their attacking game.

And the equaliser arrived when a ball into the box eventually dropped for Mills who produced a good, low finish to finally lift the flat atmosphere.

For the next 10 minutes, the Steelmen were firmly on top but were unable to create another chance of note.

Nuneaton weathered the storm and then hit the hosts with a sucker-punch on 68 minutes.

It was a decent goal as well. Former Kettering Town right-back James Clifton swung in an inch-perfect cross and Joe Ironside darted in front of everyone else to convert it with a near-post header that flew past the helpless Donkin.

That knocked the stuffing out of the Steelmen and the game was up with 11 minutes to go when Anton Brown brought down Waite in the area and Whitehouse stepped up to confidently send Donkin the wrong way from the spot.

The final outcome was probably a bit harsh on the Steelmen, indeed there wasn’t a great deal between the two sides all afternoon.

But it is a harsh old game when you are struggling at the wrong end of the table.

There’s still plenty of time to save this season but that clock continues to tick. A positive reaction will be needed on Wednesday night...

Steelmen: Donkin; Myles, Courtney, Appleton, Thomas; Taylor, Brown; Evans (sub Robbins, h-t), Milnes, M McDonald; Mills. Subs not used: Draper, Reay, Manship, Marshall.

Nuneaton: Smith; Clifton, J Keane, Rowe-Turner, Lyttle; Morgan, Byrne; Waite, Whitehouse, W McDonald (sub C Keane, 57 mins); Ironside. Subs not used: Duffy, Harewood, Warburton, Lane.

Referee: Anthony Tankard.

Goals: Waite (1 min, 0-1), Mills (56 mins, 1-1), Ironside (68 mins, 1-2), Whitehouse pen (79 mins, 1-3).

Bookings: Taylor (kicking ball away), Milnes, M McDonald, Byrne, Robbins, Mills, J Keane (all fouls).

Attendance: 651.