VERDICT – Sammons stars again as Steelmen stay unbeaten

Action from Corby Town's 2-2 draw with Chorley at Steel Park. Pictures by Alison Bagley
Action from Corby Town's 2-2 draw with Chorley at Steel Park. Pictures by Alison Bagley

In the end, it was a fair outcome as Corby Town maintained their unbeaten start to life in the Vanarama National League North.

The Steelmen have started the new season in confident fashion, hardly a surprise considering the momentum they had from the memorable title success back in April.

Corby Town boss Tommy Wright and assistant-manager Dave Clarke

Corby Town boss Tommy Wright and assistant-manager Dave Clarke

Having dispatched Gloucester City in midweek, it’s fair to say there was more than a hint of expectancy inside Steel Park as they welcomed Chorley to town. The Magpies arrived having suffered two defeats in their first two outings.

But this is where a slight reality check is probably needed. Chorley were the losing finalists in this league’s play-off final last season. In summary, they are no mugs regardless of what may have happened in the first 180 minutes of their season.

And so it proved as they gave the Steelmen a stern test - one they eventually came through thanks in no small part to midfielder Ash Sammons, who is very much the man of the moment.

Two goals in the first-day draw at Curzon Ashton and another against Gloucester, the man who was free-scoring for Redditch United last season had hit the ground running with his new club.

Action from the 2-2 draw between Corby Town and Chorley

Action from the 2-2 draw between Corby Town and Chorley

And he was at it again on this occasion with a cool finish and then a stunning free-kick helping the Steelmen to take a 2-1 lead after they had fallen behind.

His two strikes sent him to the top of the league’s early leading goalscorers chart while his general play wasn’t too bad either.

Boss Tommy Wright was adamant he had a real player on his hands when he signed Sammons and the manager looks to be spot on in his assessment if the early evidence is anything to go by.

It has been a positive start for Corby but there will be slight areas of concern for Wright.

The goals they are conceding seem, on the face of it, a bit too simple and a lack of concentration was almost so costly inside the first minute against Chorley.

Connor Kennedy dallied on the ball for too long and the impressive Darren Stephenson robbed him before somehow firing over with Paul Walker stranded.

Another warning came when James Dean lobbed the ball over Walker and, fortunately, the crossbar before the Steelmen struck the woodwork at the other end when Chris Carruthers’ cross was tipped onto the bar by Sam Ashton.

But was Chorley who drew first blood on 24 minutes as Stephenson again got the better of Kennedy on the left. He whipped the ball in and Dale Whitham rose above a static defence to head into the corner.

The lead was shortlived, however. Sammons grabbed his fourth of the campaign when he coolly fired home after Kabongo Tshimanga, who was fairly quiet after his explosive first appearance in midweek, had shown good strength to hold off his marker before laying the ball off.

If that was good, better was to come though. Chorley had already given away a couple of cheap free-kicks close to their own box and, when they did it again on 34 minutes, they were punished.

Sammons stepped up and gave Ashton no chance with a wonderful curling shot, which found the top corner.

With the turnaround complete, Wright would have been hoping his team would be able to take that lead into the break. Unfortunately they didn’t.

A pulsating first half ended with Chorley in the ascendency and they made it 2-2 when Andy Bond’s cross found Dean. He sliced his shot horribly off target but Josh Hine adjusted his body well at the far post to beat Walker with a good header.

Both managers, no doubt, would have had serious questions to ask about their respective sides’ defending and Wright reacted by withdrawing Kennedy and re-shuffling things with Duane Courtney moving to right-back for the second half.

And what followed was more of a scrap than the free-flowing nature of the opening period.

Chances were at a premium as the defending improved and both sides were restricted to just one good chance each.

Chorley were out of luck when Adam Roscoe’s rasping drive struck the top of the bar with Walker beaten.

And, at the other end, Aaron Brown got on the end of Cleveland Taylor’s free-kick but his header drifted agonisingly wide of the target.

Overall, a draw was the right result and, in the grand scheme of things, it was another good one for the Steelmen.

They remain unbeaten, their momentum and confidence both still intact ahead of a trip to Hednesford Town on Tuesday night.

Steelmen: Walker; Kennedy (sub Revan, h-t), Courtney, Aaron Brown, Carruthers (sub Thomas, 69 mins); Taylor, Anton Brown; Milnes, Sammons, Mills; Tshimanga (sub Weir-Daley, 69 mins). Subs not used: Donkin, Hartley.

Chorley: Ashton; Ross, Flynn, Charnock, Jarvis; Roscoe; Hine, Whitham, Bond (sub Cottrell, 74 mins), Stephenson (sub Carver, 69 mins); Dean. Subs not used: Burns, Dodd, Guy.

Referee: Declan Ford.

Goals: Whitham (24 mins, 0-1), Sammons (26 mins, 1-1), Sammons (34 mins, 2-1), Hine (42 mins, 2-2).

Bookings: Bond, Cottrell, Courtney (all fouls).

Attendance: 759.