Carlton Town surrendered a 1-0 half-time lead to lose 3-2 at Hucknall Town.
Although the Millers might have stolen a point at the death, they could have no complaints about losing in their first league match against the Yellows since their days in the local Nottinghamshire leagues.
With Ashley Kitchen still out and Rob Darkin starting a three match suspension, Les McJannet brought new signing Mathew Milns into the starting eleven and named fellow new boys Ashley Grayson and Reuben Wiggins-Thomas on the bench.
Hucknall featured former Carlton winger Aidan Brady in their side, with Jared Holmes on the bench.
The Millers got off to a flying start, attacking the Hucknall goal from the start and it was no surprise when they took the lead on five minutes. A Rob Gill free kick was headed towards goal by Ian Brown and Theo Smith bundled home from close range.
Brwon could have put Carlton further ahead minutes later when he headed a Gill corner towards goal but the ball was cleared.
Hucknall regained their composure and Brady advanced well drawing a decent save from Danny Marshall. A couple of minutes later they counter-attacked from a Millers corner and Nathan Watson hit the side netting in a one-on-one situation with Marshall.
On 25 minutes Gill fired a free kick just over but that was a rare moment of Carlton pressure as Hucknall pushed the Millers back.
Kieren Watson created a chance for himself soon afterwards but fired wide, and moments later Daniel Fletcher made a last ditch saving tackle to prevent a goal-scoring chance.
Brady caused further problems on 37 minutes when he cut inside with a neat flick but his shot flew wide of the far post. The Yellows best move of the game followed on 40 minutes when they broke down the left and Nick Ghislanzowi hit a beauty from 25 yards which struck the outside of Marshall’s left hand post and flew to safety.
Although Carlton looked happy to get to the half time whistle with their lead intact, there was still time for one more opportunity as from a Jermain Hollis cross, James Lindley in the Hucknall goal spilled Brown’s header and Gill just failed to get to the loose ball.
It took the home side just 38 seconds of the second half to equalise. Brady’s cross from the left found Callum Lloyd all alone and he made no mistake with a close range header.
Worse was to come two minutes later as Nathan Watson advanced down the Hucknall right with no-one challenging and drew Marshall before this time making no mistake with his one-on-one chance.
As the half progressed the Millers finally put Hucknall under some pressure and Curtis Shaw shot just wide from 15 yards shortly before being replaced by Grayson the younger.
Suddenly it was all Carlton and they should have levelled on 68 minutes. Josh Thornton advanced well down the right hand side and crossed into the area. There was a good shout for hand ball against a Hucknall defender but in any event the ball dropped kindly into the path of Gill just six yards out. However he mis-hit his effort and Lindley was grateful to save.
Within a minute Smith blasted over from a tight angle and two minutes later Milns met substitute Terry Hawkridge’s cross with a spectacular scissor kick which flew over the bar.
McJannet made a final change with 15 minutes left bringing on Wiggin-Thomas and he made an immediate impact almost creating a clear chance.
On 77 minutes Milns met a Hawkridge corner with a bullet header which drew a terrific save from Linely at point-blank range.
The game was then effectively over as Hucknall took advantage of some poor defending as Carlton tried to play their way out of the penalty area and were caught in possession. Mathew Isamene hit the crossbar but the ball fell nicely for Ghisanzowi who smashed the ball into the unguarded net.
Carlton pulled a goal back in the second minute of stoppage time when Lindley couldn’t hold a Grayson header following a Ryan Goward cross and Wiggins-Thomas followed up to score. And in the last action of the game the Millers launched the ball into the box and it fell in front of Hollis who was agonisingly close to getting the touch it needed to bring a barely deserved equaliser.
Carlton Town: Marshall, Thornton, Goward, Fletcher, Milns, Hall, Shaw (sub A Grayson 65), Smith (sub Hawkridge 70), Hollis, Gill (sub Wiggins-Thomas 75), Brown. Unused substitutes: Kimberley, N Grayson.
Goals: Smith 5, Wiggins-Thomas 90
Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM – Nick Hall
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