Boston United 1 Corby Town 1! Drury’s debut ends with a draw

Graham Drury.
Graham Drury.

Graham Drury’s first match in charge of Boston United ended in stalemate... against his former club.

Marc Newsham gave the Pilgrims a second-half lead, only for Sam Ives to pull Corby level within three minutes.

However, the Steelmen weathered a late charge from United to earn a point.

The Pilgrims’ preparations took a knock before the match had even started, with new assistant boss Paul Holden suffering a heart attack on Christmas Day.

He is due to leave hospital today, but will be unavailable to link up with the Pilgrims for about a month, club officials announced.

Holden is the one credited with the footballing brain out of the new backroom staff, but despite his absence United’s squad were up for it from the off.

Ben Milnes took just 20 seconds to have the first shot in the Drury era, but his low drive was well saved by Paul Walker.

A pass from Marc Newsham almost set Spencer Weir-Daley up, but the through ball was too heavy.

Newsham then had a shooting opportunity as he latched on to keeper Dan Haystead’s punt forward, but again the effort lacked the pace to beat Walker.

The first real chance of a gal came in the 25th minute as Tom Ward’s looping header had Walker flapping, before the keeper tipped over.

And seconds later the same man was at his best to pound Fairclough’s stinging drive away.

Next to try his luck was Weir-Daley, but again Walker did enough to hold on to the strike from the edge of the penalty area.

United’s Nathan Stainfield was dropped for the first time this season, but replacement Ward and Gary Silk were rarely troubled in the heart of defence.

As half time arrived, United had done everything but open the scoring.

However, they did just that in the 48th minute.

Newsham bagged his 20th of the season, and the club’s first under Drury, tapping home from close range after Walker could only parry Fairclough’s powerful drive.

But that lead lasted just three minutes as the Steelmen drew level.

Sam Ives was given time to turn and shoot inside the Pilgrims’ penalty area, and suddenly Corby were level with their first shot at goal.

The Steelmen then found their feet in the game, Nat Wedderburn seeing a 25 yarder drop just over Haystead’s goal before, at the other end, Paul Malone’s vital interception prevented Weir-Daley a tap-in.

Then things took a comedy turn as Corby sub Avelino Vieira missed an absolute sitter.

With an open goal he lost his footing, six yards out and with the ball under his control.

By the time he hit the ball goalwards, Haystead was to his feet and able to flap the danger away.

United then felt they should have been handed a penalty after Fairclough went down under attention from Carl Piergianni.

But ref Neil Hair said no, and play resumed.

Moments later and Ian Ross had his head in his hands as his free kick was palmed away by Walker.

In the final minute United thought they had snatched the points.

But Jordan Smith’s effort was flicked on by Newsham from close range, only for Walker to make another great block.

In stoppage time things were even closer, but Weir-Daley’s strrike on the turn beat Walker, only the smash against the inside of the post.

UNITED: Haystead, Marshall, Jelleyman, Silk, Ward, Ross, Jones, (J. Smith 64) Milnes, Newsham, Weir-Daley, Fairclough; Subs (not used): Stainfield, Reed, Stokes, K. Smith.

CORBY: Walker, Horne, Crowe, Malone, Piergianni, Webb, Semple, Wedderburn, Kaziboni, Ives (McGowan 81), Moreman (Vieira 42); Subs (not used): Richards, Manga, Harrison.

Att: 1,176.

Ref: Neil Hair.