SATURDAY FOOTBALL '“ Steelmen on the brink of relegation but Poppies and Diamonds maintain their play-off pushes
Corby Town are on the brink of relegation from the Vanarama National League North after they suffered a 3-2 home defeat to FC United of Manchester.
Tommy Wright was forced into a change with Oliver Sutton, son of former Norwich City, Blackburn Rovers and Celtic striker Chris, starting in goal with Sam Donkin suffering from a calf strain.
And Jon Breeze was also able to finally make his debut for the Steelmen after his international clearance came through.
After an even start in front of over 1,000 fans at Steel Park, it was the visitors who took the lead when Sutton was given no chance by a fine free-kick from George Thomson, which found the top corner.
But the Steelmen found an equaliser on 24 minutes when Callum Ball found Greg Mills with a quick free-kick and he played in Ben Milnes who skipped past a challenge and then slotted past Dylan Forth.
Mills had a good shout for a penalty waved away after he was blocked off by Scott Kay but it was FC United who took control at the start of the second half.
Thomson made it 2-1 with another excellent strike into the top corner and then, from another set-piece, the Steelmen conceded again when Luke Ashworth headed home.
That quickfire double all-but ended the contest, although Mills forced Forth into a couple of decent saves.
And Mills was on the spot when he converted a stoppage-time penalty after Ellis Myles had been fouled.
But there was to be no comeback as the Steelmen edged ever closer to the drop.
Kettering Town extended their unbeaten run to 10 matches in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division as their play-off push continued with a fine 3-0 win at Chesham United.
With a flurry of fixtures still to come next week, Marcus Law rang the changes with youngster Ben Baker, Will Grocott, Ben Stephens and Perry Cotton all brought into the starting line-up while Chris Carruthers replaced the injured Gary Mulligan.
After a bright start that saw Brett Solkhon shoot off target, the Poppies went in front when Baker did well to keep the ball alive and his cross was volleyed home by Howe.
And Baker went from provider to scorer soon after as he made it 2-0 with a far-post finish after good work from Liam Canavan.
The Poppies remained fairly comfortable for the remainder of the half, although Chesham had an appeal for a penalty for handball waved away early in the second period.
Canavan forced a save from the home goalkeeper while Craig Hill also made a decent stop at the other end.
But the win was wrapped up late on when Stephens beat a defender before firing into the bottom corner.
Liam Dolman grabbed the only goal of the game as AFC Rushden & Diamonds continued their push for promotion in the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central with a 1-0 home success over Hanwell Town.
Andy Peaks made two changes to his starting line-up with Lewis Leslie and Jon Stevenson replacing James Jepson and the injured Tom Lorraine respectively while Tom Liversedge was named on the bench after a long spell on the sidelines.
Diamonds started well with Claudiu Hoban having a shot blocked but they did take the lead on 19 minutes.
A Hoban corner came back to him and he then had a shot deflected into the air and Dolman headed home.
Diamonds were dealt a blow when striker Elliot Sandy went off with a head injury, which required treatment on the sidelines for the remainder of the half.
But they continued to have the better chances with Jason Lee hooking an effort just wide before the break.
Things were even after half-time and, despite some late pressure from Hanwell, Diamonds held on to get back to winning ways.