MARKET DRAYTON TOWN 1-2 CARLTON TOWN
Two late goals from Anthony Dwyer helped Carlton Town to their first win of 2016 away at Market Drayton Town.
The Millers had to come from a goal down at play-off chasing Drayton but the win was no more than the Millers deserved after a fine performance. In the second half in particular, they dominated the game and limited the home side to very few opportunities on goal whilst passing up a host of chances themselves.
The evening kick off and travelling distance plus a bout of illness meant Wayne Scott had only 13 players at Greenfields at kick-off and striker Romaine Graham, stuck in traffic, had to be named on the bench.
Scott brought Josh Rae, Kameron Campbell, Matthew Newton and Kevin Lusamba back into the starting line-up. There was also the welcome return of Tom McConway to the bench.
In an even start to the game the Gingerbread Men’s James O’Neil had the first effort on goal but his free kick was well held by Jack Steggles.
At the other end Josh Rae saw a good header turned away for a corner. Newton then fired just wide of the target as Carlton forced their opponents back.
Lusamaba advanced down the left and drew a foul from James O’Reilly. Rae’s free kick was played by Daniel Gordon to Anthony Howell whose clever pass went just beyond Romello Nangle.
By now Carlton had gained the upper hand. Kieron Walker’s throw-in was cleared back to the same player and he fired a dipping 25 yard half volley which went inches past Ashley Rawlins’s post with the keeper well beaten.
Against the run of play Market Drayton took the lead on 24 minutes. The ball was played cross-field from right to left to Cohen Bramhall. The wide man advanced to the edge of the penalty area and fired a shot across Steggles and into the corner.
Carlton should have equalised on 32 minutes when Corbin Shires met Daniel Gordon’s corner at the back post but his effort struck the post and went wide.
Shires then had a recurrence of his hamstring problem and had to be replaced by McConway shortly before half time.
Dwyer then chipped just over the bar after some clever play and on the stroke of half time Walker shot wide from another excellent Gordon corner.
On the excellent playing surface Carlton began the second half in control of the game, moving the ball around crisply and snuffing out any danger from the home side.
Nangle was fouled in the opening minute of the half and after Gordon’s free kick was deflected wide, his corner was met by Walker whose header went wide.
From the other side Rae sent over a corner which Lusamba headed wide.
It was all Carlton pressure and Scott brought on Graham to add impetus to the attack.
He was involved in a quite astonishing miss on 71 minutes. The ball was lifted through and Graham did well to bring it under control, hold off Jeff Watkins and advance into the penalty area. He looked certain to score but he scuffed his shot and Rawlins, diving to his left, parried the ball into the path of Dwyer.
Dwyer was just eight yards out with an empty net in front of him but somehow managed to get the ball stuck under his feet and he too scuffed his effort. Rawlins was able to recover and get a hand to the ball. It still dropped loose in the six yard box but Graham was on his knees with his head in his hands despairing at the double-miss and so was unable to take advantage.
Carlton, without a goal in 2016, were unlikely to create any better chances than this all season and it seemed as if it would be another frustrating night.
But the team kept its belief and continued to attack and they got their reward in the final ten minutes.
Newton, having a fine match, sent a deep cross over from the right hand side. Dwyer kept the ball in play and advanced into the penalty area. O’Neill brought him down and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
Dwyer himself stepped up and fired the ball into the roof of the net.
Better was to come within a couple of minutes. Newton once again advanced down the right and his cross was met by Dwyer at the back post whose first time shot flew past Rawlins into the bottom corner to the delight of the small travelling support.
Gordon almost added a third a minute later when his fierce free kick was held at the second attempt by Rawlins.
Drayton applied some pressure in the closing stages and Walker made a great block from Simon Everall but the Millers saw out five minutes of added time to record a victory.
Carlton Town: Steggles, Campbell, Gordon, Walker, Shires (McConway 42), Newton, Dwyer (Sturgess 90), Howell, Nangle, Rae, Lusamba (Graham 57).
Goals: Dwyer 80 (pen), 82
Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM – Anthony Dwyer.