VERDICT: Impressive Steelmen ease into the next stage
Corby Town produced another excellent display at Steel Park as they cruised into the first qualifying round of the Buildbase FA Trophy with a 4-1 success over Histon.
Having drawn 0-0 at the weekend, the Steelmen made no mistake in the replay as they deservedly secured a trip to BetVictor Southern League Premier Central outfit Redditch United a week on Saturday.
And the victory was made all-the-more impressive given that the Steelmen were without a number of key players.
Joint-boss Gary Mulligan sat out the second of a three-match suspension while Joe Burgess started his own four-game ban.
Captain Jake Duffy was also unavailable due to personal reasons and assistant-manager Elliot Sandy was still only fit enough for a place on the bench.
It meant another start for Coden Duncan while Curtis Hartley and James Ireland were also recalled.
It was Histon who threatened first when, after a corner was recycled, Max York found himself with a sight of goal but his final effort clipped the top of the crossbar and went out for a goal-kick.
But the Steelmen were soon into their stride and took the lead with a lovely team goal on eight minutes.
Duncan switched the play to the right-hand side, John Dean laid the ball back for Callum Westwood and his cross was brilliantly converted on the volley by Jordon Crawford.
Steve Diggin had a shout for a penalty waved away after he almost had his shirt taken off his back by a visiting defender but Corby continued to threaten and they went close to doubling their lead when stand-in skipper Charlie Wise rose to head Crawford’s corner against the outside of the post.
It continued to be the hosts who looked the more likely and, after Crawford had sliced wide from a decent position, they did get the second goal seven minutes before half-time.
Diggin took up possession on the left of the area and managed to skip past two defenders before coolly beating goalkeeper Sam Roach with a low finish into the bottom corner.
The Steelmen almost gifted the visitors a lifeline early in the second half and Wise would have been relieved as his heavy backpass went past Carpenter but also past the post.
But Corby put the game to bed on 52 minutes. They broke quickly from a Histon attack, the ball was clipped over the top and Dean turned on the afterburners as he raced onto it and fired past Roach who was caught in two minds as he raced from his goal.
It was almost four just a minute later when Greg Ling flicked on a corner, only to see his effort bounce off the frame of the goal.
Ultimately, that third goal sucked the life out of the tie but Histon did pull a goal back with 12 minutes to go when James Chivers was left unmarked to head home a free-kick from the right.
They had a real go after that but the Steelmen defence, well-marshalled by Wise and Hartley, remained firm and it was Corby who finished the game the stronger.
There was the welcome sight of Sandy returning to action for the final 10 minutes and he so nearly marked it with a goal but lost control at the crucial time as he attempted to go round Roach after being sent clear on goal.
However, the hosts did finish things off in stoppage-time.
The impressive Dean did the leg work down the left and pulled the ball back into the area where substitute Rev James was waiting and he finished things off with a confident strike into the top corner.
In the end, it was a fitting scoreline after another impressive Steel Park showing from the Steelmen.
The impressive campaign continues...
Steelmen: Carpenter; Westwood, Wise, Hartley, Warburton; Duncan (sub S Sandy, 81 mins), Ling; Dean, Ireland, Crawford (sub James, 72 mins); Diggin (sub E Sandy, 81 mins). Subs not used: George, Robinson.
Histon: Roach; Chivers, York, Ruddy (sub Lawrence, 60 mins), Camacho; Swinton (sub Alihonon, 64 mins), Bexfield; Gould, Harradine (sub Lewis, 70 mins), Brown; Rolph.
Referee: Lee Hartley.
Goals: Crawford (8 mins, 1-0), Diggin (38 mins, 2-0), Dean (52 mins, 3-0), Chivers (78 mins, 3-1), James (90 mins, 4-1).
Bookings: Dean, Westwood (both fouls).
The Raj (www.therajrestaurant.net) man-of-the-match: Charlie Wise - the big centre-half was named as captain for the evening in the absence of Jake Duffy and led by example. There were few mistakes from anyone in a Corby shirt from a defensive point of view and Wise certainly impressed alongside the returning Curtis Hartley. He almost capped it with a goal when a towering header struck the post in the first half.