Fans make their point as Steelmen are beaten

Steelmen joint-boss Andrew Wilson
Steelmen joint-boss Andrew Wilson

Corby Town surrendered ninth place in the Calor League Premier Division to Redditch United, who picked up a well-deserved 3-2 success at Steel Park.

It proved to be a night that, in general, showed this battle-weary Steelmen side are ready for this season to end as soon as possible.

After a first half in which they were completely outplayed, Corby did battle away after the break and pulled goals back through Kalern Thomas and Greg Mills, the latter from the penalty spot.

But anything other than a Redditch victory would have been unjust as they dominated for long spells and created enough chances to win by more.

It was also an evening on which the Corby fans made their point to under-fire chairman Kevin Ingram following the recent off-field struggles.

A group of supporters moved into the main stand at half-time and unveiled a banner calling for Ingram to leave while also chanting for his departure.

The Steelmen made one change to their starting line-up with joint-boss Tommy Wright returning to the side after he missed last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Burnham to attend his brother’s wedding.

Tom Ingram was ruled out due to a hamstring problem while Zondi Chunga and Ben Barton were included on the substitutes’ bench.

It was the visitors who made the brighter start and Corby must have been delighted that they didn’t find themselves behind inside the first 12 minutes or so.

Paul Walker pushed away a low cross from Jermaine Hylton while Connor Kennedy made a decent block to deny Leavi Oshungbure.

Redditch continued to pile forward early on as the hosts continually conceded possession too easily and Walker had to be quick off his line to keep out Omari Sterling-James before Ashley Sammons sent a curling effort just wide.

And the visitors’ luck was right out when Sam Youngs saw his fierce strike cannon off the crossbar and out for a goal-kick with Walker beaten.

Corby were dealt an early blow when Kennedy, a revelation in recent weeks, was forced off with an injury and it meant a reshuffle with Harry May moving into right-back while Chunga came off the bench to replace the young defender.

Mills forced Sam Hornby into his first save with a well-struck free-kick which the Redditch goalkeeper kept out at his near post.

But it was Redditch who continued to pose a threat and Walker saved well from Hylton before the inevitable happened on 27 minutes when the visitors took a thoroughly deserved lead.

This time, it was Oshungbure who was clear in the left channel and he made no mistake with a good finish across Walker into the far corner.

Corby struggled to get going during a fairly woeful first period and they paid the price three minutes before the break when Redditch deservedly doubled their advantage.

And one could only have sympathy for Walker. He made an excellent stop to deny Youngs but, while the defence stood still, Sterling-James raced in to blast home the rebound.

The Steelmen almost got an undeserved lifeline in first-half stoppage-time when Mills, one of a few livewires, saw another free-kick hit the outside of the post and go out for a goal-kick.

A group of Corby fans moved into the stand for the start of the second period and made their feelings towards the current regime clear, unveiling a banner calling for Ingram to leave.

On the pitch, Redditch went close to extending their lead early in the second half when another curling effort from Sammons struck the post while Mills’ corner was cleared off the line by Oshungbure at the other end.

And Walker again had to come to his side’s rescue when Chunga carelessly lost possession on the edge of his own area to Edwin Ahenkorah.

But, out of nothing, the Steelmen were given hope on 67 minutes.

A corner came in from the right, a Redditch head flicked it on and Thomas was there at the far post to head home.

However, a stirring fightback never really materialised and Redditch finished things off with 11 minutes to go when Hylton’s shot took a deflection off Thomas and left the helpless Walker wrong-footed.

That looked to be game over but Steelmen were given further hope when Sam Ives was fouled in the area by James Mutton and Mills stepped up to confidently beat Hornby from 12 yards.

And there was almost a twist at the death as Thomas fired just wide after winning possession in the midfield while Walker also came up for a late corner and was inches away from connecting for a dramatic equaliser.

In the end, that late show wasn’t enough. The overall performance wasn’t deserving of a point.

But, as was shown by the fans on this night, there are bigger issues off the pitch to resolve than on it.

Steelmen: Walker; Kennedy (sub Chunga, 18 mins), Carruthers, Thomas, Ives; McGowan, John; May, Mills, Hoban; Wright (sub Barton, 55 mins). Subs not used: Wilson, Carpenter.

Redditch: Hornby; Recci (sub Young, 85 mins), Jackson, Mutton, Flanagan; Oshungbure (sub Molyneux, 78 mins), Sammons; Sterling-James, Youngs, Ahenkorah; Hylton. Subs not used: Catlow, Caines, Bridgewater.

Referee: Andrew Fox.

Goals: Oshungbure (27 mins, 0-1), Sterling-James (42 mins, 0-2), Thomas (67 mins, 1-2), Hylton (79 mins, 1-3), Mills pen (87 mins, 2-3).

Bookings: Flanagan (dissent).

Attendance: 236.