Hednesford Town had to settle for a point in this clash of the bottom two sides in the National League North – although things could have been much worse if Corby Town hadn’t squandered a penalty kick just before half-time.
The Pitmen were able to bring in midfielders Jonathan Royle and Stephane Ngamvoulou to the starting line-up and it was the visitors who began on the front foot with Kennedy Digie heading wide from a corner in the third minute.
Ngamvoulou was then in the thick of the action in the 11th minute as his powerfully driven effort from just inside the box was blocked away for a corner before the midfielder almost capitalised on a mistake from Corby goalkeeper Sam Donkin as he sliced his clearance, only to force the attack wide.
This break had come after Corby’s Cleveland Taylor had seen his fierce drive blocked by Royle on the edge of the box as the Pitmen broke and looked to use the swirling wind and rain to their advantage.
Despite forcing a number of attacking set pieces the Pitmen were unable to really test Donkin in the home goal, and it was from one of those that they were nearly made to pay the most.
After playing a short corner the ball was cleared away by Corby and a loose pass from Royle let Taylor in and after bursting into the box he picked out Greg Mills but his shot was superbly cleared off the line by Shelton Payne. Just when it looked as if the danger had passed though Digie tripped Ben Milnes inside the box to give away a penalty.
Up stepped Mills in the 43rd minute but with the goal at his mercy from 12 yards he blasted his effort well wide of the right-hand upright.
A minute late Francino Francis was on hand to produce a superb block and this almost led to a goal at the other end as Hednesford countered with Adam Thomas fizzing in a cross which was just missed by Tom Peers.
The first half-chance of the second period came as a corner ball fell to Ben Bailey but his effort whistled a foot over the bar three minutes in before the Pitmen somehow cleared their lines in the 55th minute as a cross bounced around in the area.
Nine minutes later Payne did well down the left and his shot stung the palms of Donkin before Bailey made an excellent block inside his own area in the 68th minute with the follow up effort from Nathan Hicks flying just wide of Dan Crane’s upright.
The two best chances of the game for the Pitmen would come in the 71st minute when Ngamvoulou fired in a low shot that Donkin turned away for the corner which in turn saw Danny Glover picked out but his free header went over the bar.
In the last ten minutes both sides forced corners in search of the breakthrough but in the end both had to settle for a point which does neither much favours in the battle to avoid the drop.
Corby Town: Donkin, Myles, Thomas, Courtney, Appleton (Ogilvie 61), McKenzie, Mills, Taylor, Wright (O’Hanlon 21 (Kromah 79)), Milnes, Hicks
Subs not used: Draper, Marshall
Hednesford Town: Crane, Digie, Trainer, Bailey, Francis, Royle, Thomas, Williams, Peers (Glover 61), Ngamvoulou (Cham 79), Payne (Ennis 69)
Subs not used: Ransome, Truelove
Entertainment Rating: Two Stars
Star Man: Jonathan Royle