Carruthers at the double as Steelmen impress

Steelmen joint-boss Tommy Wright
Steelmen joint-boss Tommy Wright

Corby Town produced one of their best performances of the season as they dispatched play-off chasing Bideford 3-0 at Steel Park.

The Steelmen, in general, forced the issue all afternoon and a double from central defender Chris Carruthers and a late strike from Greg Mills was the least they deserved for their efforts.

There was a welcome return to the starting line-up for Aman Verma as he recovered from a hip injury.

Verma came back in at the expense of Sam Ives, whose knee problem meant he was only fit enough for the bench along with joint-manager Tommy Wright who has been struggling with a neck injury.

There was no place in the squad for Nathan Stanton and joint-boss Andrew Wilson was again named amongst the substitutes to help fill the bench.

The Steelmen almost found themselves a goal down inside the first 60 seconds when they gave the ball away cheaply in midfield. Craig Duff seized possession and raced towards goal with three team-mates in support. He went alone but saw his shot deflected for a corner by Chris Carruthers.

What followed for the next 25 minutes was poor. Neither side took a firm grip on proceedings as Corby struggled to get their passing game going.

But the game did briefly come to life when the impressive Duff again took up the ball after Tom McGowan had given it away and saw his 25-yard piledriver crash back off the crossbar with Paul Walker beaten.

That seemed to spark the hosts into life and, almost immediately, Greg Mills burst into the area. He was forced wide but still drew a save out of Steve Oliver from a narrow angle.

And it was the hosts who went on to finish the half the better. Cleveland Taylor, on his home debut, should have done better when he got clean through but he shot early and Oliver saved.

Kalern Thomas got in behind the visiting defence and pulled the ball back for Courtney Herbert whose shot was deflected over and then, just before the break, Oliver held on to Taylor’s far-post header after a good cross from Verma.

A similar theme continued after half-time but Corby continuing to force the issue and Paul Malone saw a fierce effort blocked by Ian Sampson after ball had fallen to him after a free-kick.

Mills forced Oliver in a decent low stop just before the hour but the goal the Steelmen deserved did arrive on 69 minutes.

Taylor delivered an inswinging corner from the left and Carruthers darted towards the near post and his firm header flew into the far corner.

It should have been 2-0 10 minutes later when Herbert beat Oliver to the ball but then somehow hit the outside of the post instead of the net with the goal gaping.

And Corby almost paid for that with eight minutes to go when Kevin Squires met a cross from the right with a firm header and, although it beat Walker, Malone was there to hack it off the line.

That moment laid the foundations for a grand finale for the Steelmen as they made the game safe with Carruthers’ second of the game as he deflected the ball home from Verma’s volley.

And then Mills added the cherry to the top of a very tasty cake when he hammered into the top corner following more good work from Taylor on the left.

There was still time for Walker to make superb save to deny Matt Bye but the victory was no more than the Steelmen deserved as they ran out comfortable winners against a team that has been in and around the Calor League Premier Division top five all season.

More performances and results like this over the next four games could yet make Corby’s season very interesting.

Steelmen: Walker; Thomas, Malone, Carruthers, Jelleyman; McGowan, Verma; Hoban, Mills, Taylor; Herbert (sub May, 83 mins). Subs not used: Ives, Carpenter, Wright, Wilson.

Bideford: Oliver; Hockley, Furzer, Barker (sub Howe, 75 mins), Reed; Sampson, Groves (sub Phillips, 75 mins), Bye, Duff; Squires, Sullivan (sub Orchard, 88 mins). Subs not used: Mercieca.

Referee: Mark Hutchinson.

Goals: Carruthers (69 mins, 1-0), Carruthers (84 mins, 2-0), Mills (88 mins, 3-0).

Bookings: Mills, Howe (both fouls).

Attendance: 282.