If ever the phrase ‘a game of two halves’ could be used to describe a match, then it was certainly this one as Hednesford Town were forced to settle for a single point following a pulsating encounter which swung one way and then the another against Corby Town.
As they looked to put Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Harrogate Town behind them, the Pitmen started very much on the front foot and were 1-0 up inside two minutes as Curtis Tilt headed home from just inside the six-yard box from a corner whipped in from the right-hand side.
The quick start continued and they doubled their lead in the tenth minute when Kyle Perry nodded the ball down to Tyrone Williams and the defender blasted home from 15 yards out.
Hednesford were now well on top and were unfortunate not to make it three in the 14th minute as the lively Nathan Modest fed Andy Todd who saw his shot beaten away.
Five minutes later the home side went close again as Ben Bailey’s long throw into the box found Ahmed Obeng, but the striker’s first time effort was somehow kept out by Corby goalkeeper Paul Walker.
The Pitmen were completely dominant during the first period and another chance came and went in the 29th minute as Perry headed over from a Sean Williams’ cross.
Two minutes later Obeng was put through and as he shaped to shoot he unfortunately put too much on the ball and it flew wide of the post.
Right on the stroke of half-time came the big turning point in the match as the home side lost their skipper when Ben Bailey was forced off with concussion, following a blow to the side of his face.
This proved to be pivotal, as while the Pitmen were still organising themselves at the back in the opening minutes of the second half, the visitors got themselves back into the game when Kabongo Tshimanga fired home after 48 minutes.
Two minutes later disaster struck for Hednesford as, following a mix-up at the back, the ball eventually fell to Tshimanga who slotted home from 12 yards despite two defenders being in close proximity.
The quick starting pace to the second period didn’t hold up and the visitors’ live wire front man completed an excellent nine-minute hat-trick in the 54th minute as he was left in acres of room inside the box, allowing him to finish low under Dave Parton.
The Pitmen rallied after this shell-shock start and were level after 62 minutes when Obeng saw his overhead kick saved but Nathan Modest stooped to head the rebound home.
Back came the visitors and Tshimanga thought he’d put his side back into the lead in the 69th minute, only to see his effort roll across the six-yard box and narrowly wide of the far post.
Hednesford appealed for a penalty in the 75th minute as a Paul Ennis free kick struck the arm of a Corby man in the wall, but his appeals were waved away by the officials. From the resulting Ennis corner, the ball bounced off the top of the bar and away, allowing the visitors to break, only for Obeng to race back and clear up.
Both sides continued to press until the final whistle, but despite the game being very ‘end-to-end’ neither side could force home that one last chance that would earn them all three points.
Hednesford now prepare for a tough looking trip to North Ferriby United where they have enjoyed mixed success in recent seasons.
Hednesford Town: Parton, T Williams, James, Bailey (Ennis 46), Tilt, Thorley, S Williams (Digie 75), Modest, Perry (Robinson 79), Obeng, Todd
Subs not used: Adams, Spencer
Corby Town: Walker, Courtney, Carruthers, Anton Brown, Aaron Brown, Milnes (Thomas 25), Mills, Taylor, Tshimanga, Revan (Weir-Daley 78), Sammons
Subs not used: Hartley, Kennedy, Donkin
Star Man: Kabongo Tshimanga
Entertainment Rating: Four Stars