Corby Town remain unbeaten in 2017 after earning a well-deserved 0-0 draw with Warrington Town at Steel Park.
And while this may be seen as a setback following back-to-back wins over teams chasing play-off places, it was anything but.
Such has been the Steelmen’s luck at times this season, their supporters could have been forgiving that this might not be their day when the team sheet was revealed.
They were already without Phil Trainer due to suspension but the loss of frontman Stefan Moore to a hamstring injury and all-action youngster Connor Kennedy to illness were further devastating blows, which posed further tests to Gary Mills’ squad.
But there was no sign of any sulking and the desire didn’t waiver as Mills made his changes and his players responded with another determined display.
Youngster Ryan Bell ran himself into the ground, Jamie Tank and Steve Kinniburgh slotted back into the back four and Aaron Brown put himself out in a makeshift striker’s role.
It all added up to an even game against an equally hard-working Warrington Town team. The fact both teams could have argued that they’d done enough to win suggests the final outcome was about right.
The first half was fairly uneventful as Ben Milnes had an effort saved by Tony McMillan from a narrow angle before Aidan Grant produce a fine early save to deny Ciaran Kilheeney from close-range.
Brown saw a volley deflected over but it needed a good clearance on the line from Jason Lee to prevent Sam Ilesamni from giving the visitors the lead after he got through and got round Grant.
Brown went so close to breaking the deadlock early in the second half when his header from a right-wing cross looped over the advancing McMillan but clipped the top of the crossbar.
Warrington responded well and Kilheeney’s half-volley went just over before the Steelmen got a stroke of luck when Ilesamni’s shot came back off the inside of the post and into the grateful hands of Grant.
The big goalkeeper made another terrific reflex stop from point-blank range when Kilheeney looked certain to score but the Steelmen were left fuming by a late decision that could so easily have earned them all three points.
Milnes went down in the area under a challenge. It looked clear-cut. The whistle went, the crowd erupted but were soon silenced as referee Daniel Hanna instead booked the midfielder for diving.
The Steelmen felt hard done by and there were to be no further opportunities as the game ended in stalemate.
It’s another point on the board, another step closer to the tough target of avoiding relegation from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division.
It’s a tough battle for the Steelmen to win but they have shown, once again, that it’s a battle this squad is well and truly up for.
Steelmen: Grant; Smith, Tank, Lee, Kinniburgh; D Bell, R Bell (sub Draper, 89 mins), Milnes, Leslie; Brown, Crawford. Subs not used: Anton, B Marshall, L Marshall, Magee.
Warrington: McMillan; Gumbs, Robinson, Shaw, Metcalfe; Ventre, Harries, Vassallo (sub Hand, 81 mins), Codling; Kilheeney, Ilesamni (sub Deegan, 75 mins). Subs not used: Cardon, Richards, Lambert.
Referee: Daniel Hanna.
Bookings: Milnes (diving), Ventre (kicking the ball away), Codling (foul).