Followers of Carlton Town have been spoilt for goals and entertainment this campaign as the Millers have been involved in some (extremely) high scoring encounters.
However, this match will live in the memory for probably less time than it took to return home along the A50 as both sides struggled for cohesion in a dull goalless draw.
Les McJannet will be the happier of the two bosses as his Carlton side made it three league fixtures unbeaten, earned a second successive clean sheet and picked up another crucial point towards their target of making the end of season playoffs. His side ultimately were grateful to a number of fine saves from new goalkeeper Andrew Richmond, particularly in the first half, for ensuring they left Staffordshire with anything at all.
McJannet made two changes to the side which won at Stamford. Captain Ashley Kitchen was ill so Alistair Asher returned to the team and Ian Brown replaced Reuben Wiggins-Thomas up front.
The Millers began well and hit the bar in the fourth minute when Anton Foster’s cross deceived Steve Hodgson. However, the game degenerated into a scrappy midfield affair with neither side able to create anything of note.
Kidsgrove went close on 23 minutes when Richmond made a decent stop from a long range free kick and the Staffordshire side almost scored on 39 minutes when Mark Beeston’s half volley flew just wide of the right hand upright.
With the game entering first half stoppage time Richmond made his best save of the game, superbly tipping over a close range header following a Kidsgrove corner.
The home side missed a good chance to take the lead in the early stages of the second half when Steve Brannan shot wide from close range.
An excellent run and cross by Josh Thornton saw Brown head just wide on 54 minutes before Richmond made another fine stop, dealing with a long range effort.
As the game entered the final 15 minutes Matt Millns headed just wide before Kidsgrove shot wide at an angle in front of goal.
McJannet brought on Adam Kimberley with six minutes remaining and the former Glapwell man had an immediate impact, earning a corner with his first touch and then, from the flag kick, jinking his way into the penalty area and putting over an excellent cross which Brown headed narrowly wide.
That was pretty much that, and although both sides huffed and puffed, there could be no surprise about the final outcome.
Carlton Town: Richmond, Asher, Fletcher, Millns, Darkin, Hall (Kimberley 84), Naylor, Foster, Thornton (Griffith Junior 68), McVicar (Wiggins-Thomas 68), Brown.
Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM – Andrew Richmond
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