Struggling Steelmen beaten by Harrogate

Chris Plummer
Chris Plummer

Corby Town’s hopes of avoiding the drop in the Blue Square Bet North suffered another setback as Harrogate Town recorded a 2-0 win at Steel Park.

Only a heroic effort from Steel Park groundsman Ian Hopewell and his team allowed the game to go ahead following the heavy downpours earlier in the morning.

Referee Stephen Daly made a final inspection at 1.45pm and gave the game the green light, despite the water still being visible in the centre of the pitch and in one of the goalmouth.

The playing surface held up pretty well all told but Corby paid the price for a slow start to the second half as play-off chasing Harrogate sealed a win that keeps them well in the hunt for a play-off place.

Steelmen boss Chris Plummer named all three centre-halves - Paul Malone, Carl Piergianni and Stefan Galinski - in his starting line-up and the curveball was Malone who started in a striking role alongside recent arrival Joseph N’Guessan with Avelino Vieira serving the first of a three-game ban.

Paul Walker was forced into action early on when Dominic Knowles’ shot hit Jason Crowe and headed for the bottom corner but the Corby goalkeeper got down well to save.

From there, it was all fairly even, although the Steelmen probably created the better openings.

Josh Moreman poked an effort straight at Craig Macgillivray while Piergianni was off target with a header and N’Guessan dragged a shot wide of the mark.

Tom Platt shot off target on the turn for the visitors, whose approach play was decent although they often lacked an end product.

And it was Corby who finished the half on top with N’Guessan shooting straight at Macgillivray while Moreman was also denied by the visiting goalkeeper after a trademark drive into the box ended with a little chip that Macgillivray got a good hand to.

Harrogate made a lively start to the second half and they were rewarded six minutes after the restart when the deadlock was broken.

And it was all too simple as Colin Larkin’s low cross was missed by Walker and it left Knowles with the simple task of tapping home from six yards.

The visitors continued to look dangerous after that, particularly on the counter-attack with Corby giving away possession too easily and too often.

Walker saved well to deny Knowles a second while, at the other end, Ryan Semple’s free-kick was turned away by Macgillivray.

Corby did try to put the pressure on but they were caught out on 67 minutes. A cross from the right to the far post appeared to hit Nat Wedderburn’s hand. But while everyone waiting for a whistle for a penalty, Adam Bolder carried on and finished it off to make it 2-0.

It was fairly scrappy after that as Harrogate looked comfortable while Corby struggled to put any pressure on at the other end.

N’Guessan forced Macgillivray into a sharp save at his near post and Piergianni brought an even better stop out of the visiting goalkeeper in injury-time as the hosts tried to force a grandstand finish.

However, it never came and the Steelmen remain in deep trouble at the wrong end of the table.

Steelmen: Walker; Crowe (sub Ives, 85 mins), Galinski, Piergianni, Jelleyman; Semple, Wedderburn, McGowan, Moreman (sub Kaziboni, 72 mins); N’Guessan, Malone (sub Ivey-Ward, 77 mins). Subs not used: Webb, Bryan.

Harrogate: Macgillivray; Samuels, White, Killock, Merris; Platt, Nowakowski, Bolder; Bolland; Larkin, Knowles. Subs not used: Chilaka, Woods, Forrest, Bloomer, Dean.

Referee: Stephen Daly.

Goals: Knowles (51 mins, 0-1), Bolder (67 mins, 0-2),

Bookings: Malone (foul).

Attendance: 273.