Steve Diggin’s two penalties ensured Corby Town’s unbeaten start to the new season continued as they ended AFC Dunstable’s 100 per cent record with a 2-0 success at Steel Park.
But that didn’t quite tell the full story as the Steelmen rode their luck as they came under pressure in the first half of the contest before Diggin opened the scoring just past the half-hour mark.
And Dunstable’s frustrations eventually boiled over as they ended the game with nine men with Corby comfortably seeing things out in the second half.
The Steelmen, who had joint-manager Ashley Robinson back on the sidelines after he returned from his honeymoon, were without Elliot Sandy due to him being away and that meant a return to the starting line-up for John Dean.
But it was the early leaders who were quick out of the blocks and they should have been in front inside three minutes when Ryan Frater headed against a post from Newman Carney’s corner with Joshua Crawley then heading against the crossbar as Corby struggled to clear.
Crawley should have scored soon after when Dan George could only parry Nathan Frater’s shot into his path but the Dunstable man couldn’t react quick enough as the ball squirmed out for a goal-kick.
But the visitors continued to have the better of things and Leon Cashman headed wide from two more set-pieces when he should have done better.
Little had been seen of Corby as an attacking force but they did take the lead with their only shot on goal on 32 minutes.
Jake Duffy sent over a corner from the right and Nick Elliot was adjudged to have pulled down Joe Burgess. The Dunstable man was booked for his troubles and Diggin stepped up to beat Dan Green from the penalty spot.
But Dunstable responded well and George had to be at his best to palm away a Carney free-kick before producing an even better fingertip stop as Kyal McNulty took aim from long range.
However, the visitors were reduced to 10 men just before the break when Elliot was shown a second yellow card for flying in towards Callum Westwood, despite making no contact.
It was a decision that left the Dunstable manager furious and he wouldn’t have been any happier four minutes into the second half when his team conceded a second penalty.
There was no doubt about this one as Jordon Crawford twisted and turned to get past Drew Roberts, who caught the winger with a trailing leg.
And, for the second time, Diggin was the coolest man in the building as he sent his spot-kick into the top corner.
Things went from bad to worse for the visitors just before the hour and there were few arguments this time as Carney became the second Dunstable player to see red as he was dismissed for a crude challenge on Dean.
Corby enjoyed plenty of possession after that against the nine men and Crawford was denied by a flying save from Green after a good strike from just inside the penalty area.
Green produced another fine stop to deny Crawford again after he was afforded too much time in the box and joint-manager Gary Mulligan also went close as his effort was deflected just wide after the ball dropped to him following a corner.
In the end, though, another goal wasn’t needed as Corby comfortably saw things out to maintain their own impressive start, which they will hope can continue when they head to Bedworth United on Tuesday evening.
Steelmen: George; Westwood, Mulligan, Wise, Warburton; Burgess (sub Ling, 72 mins), Duffy; Dean (sub Sandy, 82 mins), Ireland, Crawford; Diggin. Subs not used: Carpenter, Robinson.
AFC Dunstable: Green; Roberts, R Frater, Carney, Ajayi; McNulty (sub Tavernier, 60 mins); N Frater (sub Christie, 60 mins), Grant, Elliot, Crawley (sub Powell, 63 mins); Cashman. Subs not used: Baird, Fryer.
Referee: Martyn Fryer.
Goals: Diggin pen (32 mins, 1-0), Diggin pen (49 mins, 2-0).
Bookings: Elliot, McNulty, N Frater (all fouls).
Sendings-off: Elliot (second bookable offence), Carney (serious foul play).
The Raj (www.therajrestaurant.net) man-of-the-match: Charlie Wise - It was a tough day for the Steelmen defence. Dunstable played to their strengths. They were big, strong and physical and were a major threat in the early stages, particularly from set-pieces. It meant the Corby defenders had to be at their best and putting their bodies on the line for the cause. And Wise, alongside joint-manager Gary Mulligan, stood out as he matched that physical approach. He was cool on the ball and powerful in the air when he needed to be. It was a welcome clean sheet but goalkeeper Dan George also deserves a mention for a couple of excellent saves in the first half.