Corby Town’s problems in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division grew as their unbeaten start at Steel Park was ended by a 2-1 defeat to Stourbridge.
Things had looked good for the Steelmen when Liam Marshall’s magnificent free-kick two minutes into the second half put them in front.
But two goals in three minutes from striker Luke Benbow secured the points for the visitors as Corby were sent tumbling to a third straight defeat.
The latest setback, which came after two losses on the road at Buxton and Warrington Town, leaves Tommy Wright’s team really struggling at the wrong end of the table.
Wright made two changes to his starting line-up following the 2-1 defeat at Warrington Town.
Fit-again Reece Webb returned and Roger Lee was handed his full debut with Duran Martin, who is on international duty with Antigua, and Shaquille Whittingham making way.
It was an even start with few chances at either end as Benbow sent a half-volley into the side-netting for Stourbridge while the lively Jordon Crawford had a shot saved at the second attempt by visiting goalkeeper Matt Gould.
But defences remained on top during the opening period as the Steelmen struggled to get an attacking game going while their defence snuffed out any threat that Stourbridge posed.
Benbow curled a free-kick just wide for the visitors but Corby really should have opened the scoring just before the break when Jamie Anton had a free header from a set-piece but sent it off target and it fell to Danny Draper who nodded over the bar.
But the Steelmen did break the deadlock two minutes after the restart.
Draper was hauled down by Stuart Pierpoint, who was booked for his troubles, and Liam Marshall stepped up and curled in a wonderful 20-yard free-kick off the inside of the post.
With a spring in the Steelmen’s step, Crawford twice fired over as they went in search of a second but it took a decent save from Aidan Grant to keep the scores level as he tipped Benbow’s shot over at his near post after good work from Kayleden Brown.
Grant pushed away a low strike from Chris Lait as Stourbridge grew back into the game.
And the visitors were rewarded when Brown was sent through on goal before being brought down by Grant as the striker tried to skip past the goalkeeper.
Grant was booked before Benbow coolly sent him the wrong way from 12 yards.
And just three minutes later, the visitors were in front. Benbow received the ball on the left side of the area and while his effort back across goal was struck firmly enough, Grant will have been disappointed as it went under his body and nestled in the far corner.
The Steelmen responded with Callum Ball having a shot deflected just wide after he turned in the six-yard box and he then forced Gould into a fingertip save with a long-range effort.
But Stourbridge remained a threat and Grant made a good stop to deny Benbow his hat-trick late on.
There was to be no late drama for the Steelmen on this occasion as they failed to threaten the visiting goal.
It’s proving to be something of a struggle for Wright and his troops, some of whom dropped to the pitch as the final whistle sounded.
There’s work to do and it needs to start when bottom side Ilkeston come to town on Saturday…
Steelmen: Grant; Anton, Gascoigne, Marshall; Orenuga (sub Bell, 72 mins), Webb (sub Milnes, 80 mins), Draper, Lee (sub Whittingham, 84 mins), Kennedy; Ball, Crawford. Subs not used: Johnson, Ogilvie.
Stourbridge: Gould; Green, Pierpoint, Scarr, Probert; Canavan (sub Dodd, 80 mins), Tonks, Birch (sub Broadhurst, 76 mins), Lait; Benbow, Brown (sub Richards, 84 mins). Subs not used: Heath, Smikle.
Referee: Steven Abbott.
Goals: Marshall (47 mins, 1-0), Benbow pen (66 mins, 1-1), Benbow (69 mins, 1-2).
Bookings: Pierpoint, Grant (both fouls).