A goal in the third minute of injury time from Ant Lynam condemned Carlton to defeat at Rainworth Miners Welfare.
The Millers could have no complaints as the Wrens, featuring five former Carlton players, looked the sharper for the majority of a match played in dreadful conditions.
Les McJannet named an unchanged side from that which beat Sheffield two days earlier to secure a play off spot. The returning Ian Brown had to settle for a place on the substitutes bench in place of Ricky Gardner.
Carlton got off to the perfect start. The referee awarded a free kick in the right wing position and Alistair Asher delivered an excellent ball which found Sam MacVicar unmarked six yards out. He nodded home past Ali Barcherini to notch his third goal in two games.
A minute later Asher crossed to Reuben Wiggins-Thomas who saw his header cleared off the line as the Millers threatened to run riot. And with just 16 minutes on the clock MacVicar crossed to Wiggins-Thomas who neat chip was tipped away by Barcherini.
As the weather conditions became increasingly difficult, with a strong wind (at Carlton’s backs in the first half) being accompanied by driving rain, the Wrens fought their way back into the match.
Ashley Kitchen picked up a knock which saw him spend some time being treated off the pitch and eventually substituted on 29 minutes by Anthony Griffith Junior. That saw the influential Josh Thornton move to full back with Asher moving into central defence.
Andy Richmond had to be off his line quickly to save as the Wrens finished the half strongly. Ricky Hanson then put over a free kick which Matt Plant headed straight at Richmond and Ben Spargo went on a fine run from midfield which ended with a great shot just over the bar.
The Wrens brought on Curtis Shaw for the second half and he was to have an influential role in the game. He combined well with fellow former Miller Jermain Hollis but the eventual cross was cleared by Rob Darkin.
Nonetheless the home side levelled on 53 minutes. Jermain Hollis picked up the ball in plenty of space in the middle of the pitch. He advanced forward and struck well from 25 yards and beat Richmond to his bottom right corner.
The Millers finally had a second half shot on 65 minutes when Nick Hall won the ball and McVicar played the ball to Terry Hawkridge whose shot was well saved by Barcherini.
Darkin then strode out of defence and played a lovely ball to Daniel Fletcher whose dangerous cross was cleared by Rainworth.
Carlton seemed to be enjoying a spell of pressure and should have been awarded a penalty with 15 minutes to go. A move involving Hall, Wiggins-Thomas and Hawkridge saw the latter hit a fierce goalbound shot stunningly saved – with both hands diving to his left – by one of the Rainworth defenders. To vociferous appeals from the travelling support and the Carlton players the referee was unmoved. Even Wrens boss Kevin Gee was seen to smile at his side’s good fortune.
Wrens substitute Ant Lynam then fired just wide from 20 yards and with just two minutes left another former Miller Stephen Akers fired over after Carlton failed to clear a free kick.
With the game in its final minute Darkin played a back pass to Richmond which the goalkeeper played straight to Akers, but with the Rainworth man unable to control the ball Richmond won the race to grab the loose ball.
The referee signalled three minutes of injury time. In the final of those minutes Carlton were awarded a free kick. Rainworth cleared the ball, Asher was beaten to it on the half way line and Rainworth attacked at pace with a man over.
Some neat passing saw the home side shoot past Richmond only for Hall to make a magnificent clearance off the line. As they shot for goal again Darkin made a superb block but Carlton failed to clear the ball properly and when it fell into the path of Lynam eight yards from goal on the left hand side he cracked home the winner to the delight of the home support.
Carlton Town: Richmond, Asher, Fletcher, Darkin, Kitchen (Griffith Junior 29), Naylor, Hall, Hawkridge (Foster 86), Thornton, MacVicar (Brown 77), Wiggins-Thomas. Unused substitutes: Kimberley, Whitman.
Goal: MacVicar 3
Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM – Rob Darkin
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