Corby Town’s revival was stopped in its tracks as 10-man Coalville Town held on to claim a 2-1 success at Steel Park.
The defeat, which ended the Steelmen’s four-match unbeaten run, left Gary Mills’ team still seven points adrift of safety in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division.
Corby paid the price for a slow start and finish to the first half but their overall display lacked the sharpness of recent matches,
Coalville, for their part, did a bit of a job on Mills’ team. They were physical in their approach and showed plenty of pace in attack while also being clinical with the chances they created.
Indeed, it wasn’t until former Corby man Anton Brown had seen red for a second bookable offence that the hosts really got into it but, in the end, Ben Milnes’ goal proved to be only a consolation.
The Steelmen were boosted by the returns of Connor Kennedy after illness and Stefan Moore who had recovered from a hamstring problem.
But Mills stuck with central defender Aaron Brown in an attacking role alongside the returning Moore while former Steelmen Steve Towers, Anton Brown and Ryan Robbins were all included in the Coalville line-up.
The visitors started brightly and Corby had an early let-off when Rory Coleman’s low strike cannoned off the post with Aidan Grant beaten.
But Coalville got the goal their quick start deserved when Anton Brown got away down the right.
The assistant flagged for a foul against Steven Leslie but, as Corby waited for a whistle, referee Scott Postin played a good advantage and the ball ended up at the feet of Coleman who curled a low strike into the far corner.
Corby gradually worked their way into the game and Milnes forced Matt Coton into a routine save before Mr Postin’s unpopularity amongst the home faithful grew when he waved away appeals for a penalty when Aaron Brown appeared to be pushed over in the area.
There was a flashpoint when Anton Brown went in hard on Aaron Brown and although the former Corby man won the ball, he left plenty on the current Steelman. Handbags followed and the Coalville man escaped with a booking.
And Corby were hit with a hammer blow just before half-time when Jason Lee hauled down Lukasz Rojewski in the area. A clear penalty and Coleman stepped up to send Grant the wrong way from the spot.
Jordon Crawford sent an effort wide as the hosts hunted a quick reply but they lost Moore, who wasn’t moving freely after the break, and he was replaced by Ryan Bell.
But it was Coalville who continued to pose the bigger threat and Anton Brown went close to a third when his fine strike from 25 yards flew just wide with Grant rooted to the spot.
However, the former Corby man would play little further part as he was sent-off for a second bookable offence after bringing down Miles Smith in full flight.
That gave the Steelmen just over half of the second period at 10 men but it wasn’t until nine minutes from full-time that they gave themselves a lifeline.
Steven Leslie swung in a corner from the right, it landed at the feet of Ben Milnes at the far post and he took a touch before curling his shot in via the underside of the crossbar.
The Steelmen gave it a go late on and Coton got down to save a Leslie effort before Milnes’ goal-bound effort in stoppage-time was headed clear by a defender.
But that was as close as the hosts would come as they ultimately paid a heavy price for a lacklustre first-half display.
All, of course, is not lost yet. But the importance of Saturday’s clash at fellow strugglers Ilkeston has just gone up a notch or two...
Steelmen: Grant; Smith, Tank, Lee, Leslie; D Bell, Kennedy, Crawford, Milnes; Aaron Brown, Moore (sub R Bell, 55 mins). Subs not used: Anton, Draper, Marshall, Kinniburgh.
Coalville: Coton; Bryan, Foster, Jenno, Torr; Walshe (sub Watson, 83 mins), Coleman, Towers, Anton Brown; Robbins (sub McMillan, 69 mins), Rojewski (sub Antonio, 87 mins). Subs not used: Dean, Hornby.
Referee: Scott Postin.
Goals: Coleman (9 mins, 0-1), Coleman pen (42 mins, 0-2), Milnes (81 mins, 1-2).
Bookings: Kennedy (dissent), Anton Brown, Robbins (both fouls), Rojewski (kicking ball away).
Sending-off: Anton Brown (second bookable offence).