Steelmen held at home again

Steelmen joint-manager Tommy Wright
Steelmen joint-manager Tommy Wright

Corby Town were held to a second successive draw at Steel Park as they again squandered a lead in the 1-1 stalemate with Biggleswade Town in the Calor League Premier Division.

The Steelmen took the lead through Stuart Hendrie but they conceded just two minutes later and were unable to convert their second-half possession into a winner.

Corby made one change from the team that drew 2-2 with Chippenham Town at the weekend with Port Vale loanee Wilson Carvalho handed his first start at the expense of Tom McGowan, who was named on the bench. Injured pair Gareth Jelleyman and Nathan Fox weren’t included in the squad.

Corby started brightly enough and Carvalho had a shot well blocked inside the first minute after being teed up by Aman Verma.

But, in what proved to be a fairly open contest, Biggleswade responded with Craig Daniel crashing a superb 25-yard strike off the crossbar with Paul Walker rooted to the spot.

However, it was Corby who drew first blood on the quarter-hour. Carvalho swung in a corner from the right, Paul Malone flicked it on and it fell to Hendrie at the far post who took a touch before firing home.

But the lead lasted only two minutes as the Steelmen’s defensive frailties appeared again.

A corner was sent into the six-yard box, the first header wasn’t and in the ensuing scramble, Brett Donnelly eventually forced the ball over the line.

The game became scrappy after that lively opening but both sides created clear-cut chances to take the lead late in the half.

Only a brilliant reflex save from Walker stopped Steven Gentle from putting the hosts in front as he unleashed a fierce volley from 18 yards.

And, at the other end, a good run and cross from Sam Ives saw the ball eventually fell for Carvalho and, although his effort beat goalkeeper Alex Taylor, Cam Mawer was there to block it.

There was a flashpoint when Biggleswade’s Lee Smith left his foot in on Carvalho.

The challenge sparked an angry response from the Steelmen players but referee Adrian Gillett calmed the situation before showing Smith yellow.

Donnelly headed straight at Walker before the break after Malone’s looping header had landed on top of the net at the other end.

It was the visitors who started the second half the better and Chris Carruthers was forced to clear Gentle’s shot off the line before Walker was forced into another fine stop from substitute Joel Mason’s blockbuster from 30 yards, which looked destined for the top corner.

But Corby went close themselves in remarkable fashion. Greg Mills got clear in the left channel and his shot across goal cannoned off the inside of the post and back to him. But he was only able to hit the outside of the other upright from a narrow angle.

Carvalho and Malone both had efforts blocked while Carruthers headed wide from a Mills corner with 12 minutes to go.

But, in truth, the chances at both ends of the pitch dried up as Corby remained relatively solid at the back while being unable to finish anything off in front of goal.

Their best chance came when Mills’ cross found substitute Louis Greenway-Tambini but he could only drag his shot wide of the post.

There was plenty of endeavour from the Steelmen but they lacked the final finish, something that will be of concern for joint-bosses Andrew Wilson and Tommy Wright as they now prepare for the long trip to Truro City at the weekend.

Steelmen: Walker; Thomas (sub May, 75 mins), Malone, Gascoigne, Carruthers; Ives Verma; Hendrie (sub Greenway-Tambini, 72 mins), Mills, Carvalho; Wright (sub McGowan, 57 mins). Subs: Carpenter, Clarke.

Biggleswade: Taylor; York, Gentle, Mawer, Iwediuno; Donnelly, Daniel (sub Witham, 64 mins), Allinson, Key, Smith; Peacock (sub Mason, 35 mins). Subs: Eaton, Bates, Harper.

Referee: Adrian Gillett.

Goals: Hendrie (15 mins, 1-0), Donnelly (17 mins, 1-1).

Bookings: Smith, Donnelly (both fouls).

Attendance: 175.