CARLTON TOWN 5-2 DAVENTRY TOWN
Braces from Josh Rae and Romaine Graham and another goal from Daniel Gordon gave Carlton Town a second win in three days as they beat Daventry Town.
Thanks to JAMES MORTON for this report.
The win, thanks to more late goals in a pulsating encounter against a side chasing promotion, was enough to move the Millers out of the relegation positions on goal difference and give Wayne Scott’s side genuine cause for optimism as 2016 approaches.
Carlton opened the scoring inside the first minute as straight from the kick off Rae made a great move through the middle and ended up slotting the ball into the back of the net.
The early pressure was all from Carlton, as they went close again but Gordon blazed the ball over. Not that it mattered too much as a few minutes later Gordon got another chance from a free-kick, which was deflected by Curtis Hartley and into the back of the net with Ben Heath motionless in the Daventry goal.
A rare corner though for the visitors, just before the half hour mark, allowed them back into the game as Ricky Hill rose highest at the back post, and his powerful header powered past Jack Steggles in the Carlton goal.
Daventry then had a chance to level, but Hartley, who was in a great position, blazed his effort over the bar.
Before the break, Carlton mustered up a couple of great chances, both ending up with Romaine Graham. His first effort, one-on-one, was blocked by the legs of Heath. Then his second was turned behind the post for a corner.
After the interval, Daventry came racing out of the blocks, and rattled the bar minutes into the second half, before also having a shot cleared off the line.
Carlton still looked threatening going forward, and Graham did well to hold up the ball in the box, unable to get a shot away, before laying it into the path of Gordon, but the Daventry defence were able to block the shot.
The visitors must have felt they had levelled the game when Edilson Panzo-Antonio had two glorious chances, with the first effort going well over the bar from close range, then the latter forcing a good save from Steggles.
After the close shaves at the one end, it was the Millers’ turn to have a go, with Rae’s curling effort going just over the bar. However, he did made it 3-1 minutes later when Graham played a great square ball across the floor to Joe Fitzpatrick, who played it straight to Rae, who smashed the effort past Heath.
Not that the Daventry threat was nullified, as they went close again through skipper Jason Lee, but his shot from distance was well saved by Steggles.
Carlton though had their tails up and Rae will feel he should have had a hat trick, after Gordon battled well to win the ball before playing it back to Rae whose effort struck the post. The rebound fell straight to Romello Nangle, but his effort went wide.
Then within a minute Graham had a shot go just wide of the target, before Rae had an effort go over the bar after beating Heath.
Back came Daventry, with Adam Creaney having an effort go over the bar.
With four minutes to go the Northamptonshire side did reduce the deficit once more when a low cross was converted by the sliding Panzo-Antonio from close range.
If Carlton were nervous they didn’t show it and wrapped up the game with two goals in the final minutes. On 89 minutes Graham managed to find the back of the net, after a delightful ball from Rae over the top fell straight to him. His first effort rattled the bar, but he was able to control the rebound before slotting the ball home.
Then in injury time, Graham went for the showboating finish, when he took the ball round Heath, just keeping the ball in play, then walking along the goal and passing the ball into the back of the net.
Carlton Town: Steggles, Knight (Fitzpatrick 62), Fletcher, Walker, Marshall, Newton, Rae, Howell, Graham, Davie (Nangle 56), Gordon. Unused Substitutes: Sturgess, Wholey, Hill.
Goals: Rae 1, 67, Gordon 19, Graham 89, 90(+1).
Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM: Josh Rae