Improved Steelmen are held by Redditch

Steelmen boss Tommy Wright
Steelmen boss Tommy Wright

Corby Town were forced to settle for a point as their clash with Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division fellow high-fliers Redditch United ended in a 0-0 draw.

The Steelmen produced a vastly-improved display after the weekend loss to Bideford and always looked the more likely to find a breakthrough.

But it never materialised while Redditch proved to be a threat with their pace on the counter-attack.

Tommy Wright kept faith with the vast majority of the team that started against Bideford.

He did make one change, however, with Elliott Chamberlain coming into the attack while Spencer Weir-Daley dropped to the bench, which also included the returning Kalern Thomas after a knee injury.

The Steelmen started brightly and Greg Mills tested Sam Hornby in the visiting goal with a long-range strike with just 36 seconds on the clock.

And Mills was out of luck as Corby’s impressive opening continued. A good move ended with Chamberlain in space in the area. Instead of shooting, he played in Mills on the left and, although his shot beat Hornby, Calum Flanagan was there to clear it off the line.

From there, it was competitive but chances at either end were at a premium until the final few minutes of the first half.

Having barely threatened all game, Redditch’s Jamie Spencer beat the offside trap and race away down the right. The midfield runners stormed forward and Spencer picked out Liam Spink who brought a good, low save out of Paul Walker.

The Steelmen responded and thought they had taken the lead when Chamberlain deflected Ben Milnes’ shot into the net, only for the celebrations to be cut short by an offside flag.

And it needed another fine save from Walker, this time from Ashley Sammons’ long-range effort, to ensure the first half ended goalless.

Corby started the second period with plenty of purpose and looked the more likely to break the deadlock.

Milnes forced Hornby into another save as he directed a header towards goal after Connor Kennedy’s long throw was flicked on by Paul Malone,

Malone was a touch unlucky when Mill’s corner from the left hit him in front of goal and went over while Chamberlain might have done better than to shoot weakly at Hornby after wriggling clear of his marker.

But the hosts got another warning of Redditch’s threat on the break when Spencer played in Sammons and Walker again came to the rescue as he narrowed the angle and made a good stop.

The final 10 minutes proved to be fairly frantic and both teams searched for the winner.

Corby had a decent shout for a penalty when Mills was wrestled to the ground just inside the area but referee Guy Stretton was unmoved.

Jamie Anton shot wide in stoppage-time but there was to be no winner as both teams had to settle for a point.

But the positive for the Steelmen was a much-improved performance and proof that they belong in the upper reaches.

Now it must be followed up at Frome Town on Saturday.

Steelmen: Walker; Kennedy, Malone, Appleton, Anton; Byrne, Taylor; Carvalho, Milnes, , Mills; Chamberlain (sub Weir-Daley, 79 mins). Subs not used: Thomas, Donkin, Morgan, Wright.

Redditch: Hornby; Jones, Scarr, Mutton, Flanagan; Angus, Spink, Oshungbure, Sammons (sub Caines, 90 mins), Carline; Spencer (sub Culliane-Liburd, 79 mins). Subs not used: Bridgewater, Young, Catlow.

Referee: Guy Stretton.

Bookings: Anton, Carvalho, Flanagan (all fouls).

Attendance: 230.