VERDICT - Young O'Brien salvages a point for Steelmen

Corby Town boss David Bell
Corby Town boss David Bell

Teenager Jordan O’Brien came to the rescue for Corby Town as his late goal helped them claim a 1-1 draw with Sheffield FC at Steel Park.

The 16-year-old was introduced as a substitute on the hour with the Steelmen trailing and heading for a fourth defeat in a row in the Evo-Stik League South.

But an energetic display from him was eventually rewarded with a fine finish in the first minute of stoppage-time to bring some welcome relief for manager David Bell.

In a bid to arrest the poor run, Bell opted for a change in formation with Kern Miller, Paul Malone and Jamie Anton making up a back three while new signing Lee Beeson joined the manager and Steven Leslie in the middle of the pitch.

The early signs were fairly encouraging with Beeson’s early corner being headed wide by Malone but it became a bit of a stalemate after that.

Mohammed Tijani went close with the visitors’ best opening of the period when his shot on the turn went just wide but it was Corby who finished the half the stronger.

A deep cross was headed back into the danger area by Phil Trainer and Sam Mulready’s header was blocked before Sheffield cleared their lines with Malone waiting to pounce.

And Beeson, who was all over the pitch in the first half, went close with a curling effort from 20 yards.

But it was Sheffield who broke the deadlock early in the second half.

They should have gone in front when substitute Joel Purkiss beat the offside trap but shot straight at Paul Bastock but just 60 seconds later, they were in front.

And there was more than a hint of controversy about it as Derry Robson’s fierce strike smashed onto Jamie Anton’s arm in the area.

There wasn’t a great deal the Corby man could do about it but referee Richard Walker awarded the spot-kick and Andrew Gascoigne stepped up to send Bastock the wrong way from 12 yards.

The Steelmen reacted by throwing on Jack McGovern and youngster O’Brien with the latter bringing some much needed energy into the side.

He exchanged passes with Steven Leslie before forcing Brett Souter into a save at his near post and the 16-year-old did his work in defence with a good bit of covering, although his back-pass which was picked up by Bastock thankfully went unnoticed by the referee.

Unfortunately, despite plenty of possession, Souter was rarely troubled again with Mulready forcing him into a save after he went clear in the right channel.

But then, as the game ticked into injury-time, Jordon Crawford sent O’Brien through and he rolled the ball past Souter and it eventually found its way in off the post.

It was a well deserved goal for the teenager who was a bundle of energy from the moment he arrived on the pitch, some of those around him could learn something from that.

And, more importantly, it stopped the rot for the Steelmen. There is, at least, something to build on from here.

Steelmen: Bastock; Miller, Malone, Anton; Crawford, Beeson, Bell, Leslie, Warburton (sub O’Brien, 60 mins); Trainer (sub McGovern, 60 mins), Mulready (sub Smith, 79 mins). Subs not used: Kennedy, Kinniburgh.

Sheffield: Souter; Turnbull, Cooksey, Adams, Algar; Tijani, Robson, Price (sub Magee, 85 mins), Gascoigne, Gregory (sub Purkiss, 38 mins); Mawson (sub Roney, 79 mins). Subs not used: Ingham, Goodwin.

Referee: Richard Walker.

Goals: Gascoigne pen (53 mins, 0-1), O’Brien (90 mins, 1-1).

Bookings: Adams, Mulready, Turnbull (all fouls), Leslie (retaliation), Gascoigne (time-wasting), Smith (entering field without permission).

Attendance: 358.