The win was no more than Carlton deserved after a display, particularly in the first half, that was amongst the best of the season so far.
made two changes to the side which had lost at Grantham. Nick Hall and Reuben Wiggins-Thomas returned, with Adam Kimberley dropping to the bench and Ryan Goward unavailable.
The Royals went into the game with a number of absentees through injury and it showed in an opening 45 minutes completely dominated by the visitors.
On six minutes the impressive Wiggins-Thomas saw his shot saved by Niall Cooper in the home goal. Moments later Danny Marshall was called into action when he saved bravely at the feet of James Quiggin but it was a rare piece of action for the Millers stopper in the first period.
Nick Hall fired a good shot just wide and on 13 minutes Ashley Grayson beat Cooper to Josh Thornton
’s long ball, but Edward Booth was on hand to clear before the ball crossed the line.
Cooper spilled an Ashley Grayson free kick on 21 minutes but recovered in time before any Carlton player could pounce. Grayson then broke down the right wing and hit an excellent low cross to Ian Brown whose first time shot brought a stupendous save from Cooper.
As Carlton poured forward Hawkridge created an opening for Brown whose effort went over the bar.
The goal that had been coming all half finally arrived on 25 minutes. Brown’s header sent Grayson clear down the right and he sent over a pinpoint cross to Wiggins-Thomas who slotted home from six yards to the joy of the travelling supporters behind the goal.
Daniel Fletcher then ran down the left side, beat his man and crossed for Brown whose clever flick just failed to come off. Minutes later Fletcher combined well with Hawkridge and Grayson to create an opening for Wiggins-Thomas whose scuffed shot brought an excellent save from Cooper.
On 43 minutes the Royals enjoyed a rare breakaway and Craig Marshall held off a challenge from Rob Darkin
to cross from the right. Only a superb tip away by Marshall prevented the Royals from scoring a certain goal.
Back came the Millers looking to extend their lead but after Wiggins-Thomas won the ball on the right hand side and laid it off to Brown, the striker looked on in despair as his goal bound effort was cleared off the line.
The feeling at half time was that Sutton were bound to improve in the second half and the Millers may rue not killing the game off in the first half. Certainly it was a much tighter affair after the break and on 50 minutes James Reid missed a glorious chance to equalise when he took advantage of a poor header to create a clear opening. However, with the goal gaping he dragged his shot wide.
Carlton pushed on and After Wiggins-Thomas and Brown had combined well, Hawkridge hit a shot that was blocked with Wiggins-Thomas being unable to reach the rebound.
Ashley Grayson then saw a shot deflected inches wide before the Royals exerted pressure of their own and Marshall made one good block before Fletcher headed clear with Sutton looking set to score.
Theo Smith, having a productive game on the right, suffered what looked like a hamstring injury on 69 minutes and was replaced by Neil Grayson on the striker’s 47th birthday.
Hawkridge then saw two efforts go just wide before the Royals equalised on 76 minutes. Ashley Grayson burst clear in midfield and with the Millers three on three and Neil Grayson screaming for a pass on the right, Ashley Grayson delayed too long, was caught in possession, and the Royals poured forward down their left. Carlton conceded a corner which was taken quickly and when the shot came in Marshall allowed the ball to squirm away from his on the 3G surface, which allowed substitute Joel Fuller to gleefully strike home and end the Millers’ hopes of keeping a clean sheet.
Carlton to their credit pushed forward looking for the win and Hawkridge saw one effort tipped away by Cooper. Sutton too saw an opportunity to win the game and Luke Chapman volleyd a decent chance over the bar.
With seven minutes remaining McJannet replaced Brown with Robert Gill and three minutes later Carlton had an excellent chance to pinch the points. Wiggins-Thomas cut in from the right and laid the ball back to the unmarked Neil Grayson who side footed over the bar from just inside the area.
That looked to be the last chance the Milers were going to get but that reckoned without Gill, who won an excellent header on the half-way line on 89 minutes to allow Hawkridge to burst clear down the left. He calmly drew and rounded Cooper before chipping the ball into the net at an angle despite the desperate attempts of the chasing Sutton defenders to keep the ball out.
The small visiting support erupted, it was trumpet time again and the Millers saw out a somewhat nervy five minutes of stoppage time to secure a second victory of the season at Coles Lane.
Carlton Town: Marshall, Thornton, Fletcher, Darkin, Millns, Hawkridge, Hall, Smith (N Grayson 69), A Grayson, Wiggins-Thomas, Brown (Gill 83). Unused substitute: Kimberley.
Goals: Wiggins-Thomas 25, Hawkridge 89
Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM: Reuben Wiggins-Thomas