VERDICT - Steelmen impress in draw with Cleethorpes

Corby Town caretaker-manager Steve Kinniburgh
Corby Town caretaker-manager Steve Kinniburgh

Corby Town produced an excellent second-half display as they drew 1-1 with fellow high-fliers Cleethorpes Town in the Evo-Stik League South at Steel Park.

Caretaker-manager Steve Kinniburgh rang the changes following last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at Frickley Athletic.

He handed a debut to Dino Tuksar who joined the club from United Counties League Premier Division side Harborough Town this week while there was also a first start for Romanian frontman Visan-Vasile Cretu.

Connor Kennedy returned from suspension with Jason Lee, Jordan O’Brien and Phil Trainer all starting on the bench.

For the most part, the opening half was an even affair although Cleethorpes went close to opening the scoring early on when Jack Richardson met Adam Drury’s right-wing cross with a half-volley which struck the top of the crossbar and went out for a goal-kick.

Daniel North had the ball in the net soon after but was denied by an offside flag but Corby grew were right in the game and Steven Leslie’s 30-yard free-kick was fumbled wide for a corner, from which Paul Malone headed over.

Cretu went close when he held off a challenge before sending his shot just off target and Malone had another header from a Leslie corner held by Walton.

But it was the visitors who finished the half the better and, after Sam Wilson had denied Jonathan Oglesby, they took the lead a minute before the break.

Corby were caught out by a free-kick and North took advantage as he beat Wilson with a low shot from a narrow angle.

But the Steelmen responded well after half-time and they were level 10 minutes after the restart.

Paul Malone produced a superb through-ball to release Tuksar in the left channel and his low cross was stabbed home by Sam Mulready at the near post.

And they so nearly took the lead soon after when Sam Warburton’s left-wing cross reached Cretu at the far post but his sidefooted effort back across goal was just wide.

The Steelmen continued to make the running and they went close again when Jordon Crawford’s shot on the turn hit the outside of the post.

Cleethorpes gave it a go late on and only an excellent block from Sam Warburton prevented Drury’s shot from finding the net.

But it was the Steelmen who looked the more likely to nick a winner and they probably should have done in stoppage-time when Mulready looped a free header over the bar after a cross from Phil Trainer.

Had that gone in, there couldn’t have been many arguments but the Steelmen had to settle for a point and a much-improved display after last week’s disappointment.

Steelmen: Wilson; Kennedy, Anton, Malone, Warburton; Leslie, Bradshaw; Cretu (sub O’Brien, 59 mins), Crawford, Tuksar (sub Trainer, 71 mins); Mulready. Subs not used: McBride, Tanga-Gibson, Lee.

Cleethorpes: Walton; Drury, Bloomer, Lowe, Winn; Davis (sub Aldrich, 86 mins), Richardson, Dickens, Oglesby (sub McKay, 70 mins); Mascall, North. Subs not used: Taylor, Parker.

Referee: Martyn Gospel.

Goals: North (44 mins, 0-1), Mulready (55 mins, 1-1).

Bookings: Dickens, Kennedy, Lowe, Bloomer (all fouls), Leslie (kicking the ball away).

Attendance: 471.