Steelmen’s winning run ended in first home game of the year

Corby Town joint-manager Andrew Wilson
Corby Town joint-manager Andrew Wilson

Corby Town’s three-game winning streak was ended in their first home game of 2014 as Frome Town maintained their own fine form in the Calor League Premier Division with a 1-0 success at Steel Park.

After enjoying some success on the road recently, the efforts of groundsman Gary Seymour and a band of volunteers were finally rewarded as the Steelmen were able to play on their own pitch for the first time since December 28.

But, in what proved to be a scrappy affair with few chances, they never really got going and were hit by a sucker-punch with 11 minutes to go.

Having won three games in a row away from home leading into the clash, it was no surprise that Steelmen joint-bosses Andrew Wilson and Tommy Wright named an unchanged side. The only changes came on the bench with Courtney Herbert returning from injury while goalkeeper coach David Clarke was also among the substitutes.

Frome arrived at Steel Park having won four out of their last five in the league, including a victory at leaders Hemel Hempstead.

But it was the hosts who started the better and Sam Ives forced Darren Chitty into a smart low save after Greg Mills’ cross was only cleared to the edge of the area.

Frome, despite losing captain Josh Ford to an early injury, came back into things and while the Steelmen enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening period, Paul Walker proved to be the busier of the two goalkeepers.

He reacted well to stop Ben Thomson’s back-heel after a goalmouth scramble and the Corby stopper also had to claw away Mark Cooper’s cross, which was clearly caught by the wind.

But Walker’s best save came soon after that when he denied Jon Vance, whose shot was heading for the top corner after a mazy run.

Despite seeing plenty of the ball, clear-cut chances were at a premium for the hosts and the closest they came was when Chitty misjudged Mills’ cross from the left, only to see it bounce off the crossbar to safety.

Chitty saved at the feet of Wright after Gareth Jelleyman had headed Ives’ cross back into the area and Walker was also forced into another stop before the break when he denied Frome substitute Matt Francis.

The visitors went so close to opening the scoring early in the second half when Matt Smith took aim from 25 yards and was so unfortunate as his shot beat Walker but crashed off the woodwork.

It proved to be fairly scrappy after that with Stuart Hendrie denied by Chitty before Greg Mills produced a rare moment of quality when he cut in from the left and curling a right-footed shot just over.

Herbert was thrown on in place of Nathan Rooney as the Steelmen looked for a winner but, instead, it was the visitors who grabbed it with 11 minutes to go.

Thomson got the better of Jelleyman down the Frome right and he rolled the ball across goal where Smith was waiting to beat Walker with ease from close-range.

And there was no way back for the Steelmen after that. They were unable to create another chance as their winning sequence was ended.

Steelmen: Walker; Thomas, Malone, Carruthers, Jelleyman; Rooney (sub Herbert, 74 mins), Verma; Hendrie (sub May, 84 mins), Ives, Mills; Wright. Subs not used: Moon, Clarke.

Frome: Chitty; Ford (sub Francis, 15 mins), Baggridge, Stephenson, Cooper; Miller, Smith, Vance, Wood; Thomson, Hulbert (sub Mundy, 89 mins). Subs not used: Groves, Cowler.

Referee: Mark Howes.

Goal: Smith (79 mins, 0-1).

Booking: Thomson, Wright (both fouls).

Attendance: 312.