GRAYSON & HALL SEE OFF BARWELL
Goals from Neil Grayson and Nick Hall helped Carlton Town complete a well-earned double over league leaders Barwell.
Thanks to BRIAN DENNETT for this report.
Les McJannet made two changes from the side which drew at Stamford in midweek, with Grayson and Hall returning for Jermaine Hollis and Theo Smith respectively.
Carlton made their intentions clear from the whistle, putting the home side's defence under pressure in their first attack. Curtis Shaw played a cross-field ball to Terry Hawkridge on the left. He whizzed past his covering defender before crossing to Grayson who played it into the path of Massiah McDonald who was caught offside.
Richard Morris in the Barwell goal then had to tip over an effort from Shaw. Immediately afterwards Lavell White then turned full back Chris Hollist before crossing to Grayson whose shot just cleared the bar.
Barwell fought back with Darkin having to make headed clearances from both Charley and Dodds.
Hollist then fouled White and from the free kick by Shaw, McDonald headed wide.
Barwell then took the lead against the run of play. Scott Rickards broke down the right before playing the ball through to an unmarked Lewis Dodds to finish confidently with a neat shot across Marshall.
Thornton, who had been struggling with a knock since the opening minutes of the game, was replaced by Daniel Fletcher with Ryan Goward moving to right back.
Barwell had another opportunity as Towers headed over a Stanley cross.
But the Millers regained their composure and were level within three minutes. Ashley Kitchen’s free kick was poorly defended by the home side and as the ball fell to Grayson he delicately chipped over the keeper and into the net.
Fletcher then fouled Towers, with the free kick taken by Rickards being cleared by Carlton defence.
The Millers continued to press the Barwell defence looking for an opening and the lead arrived in the 38th minute. Hawkridge earned a corner, Barwell failed to clear Shaw’s delivery and the ball fell for Hawkridge on the right hand side of the penalty area. He drove the ball in hard and low into the six-yard box. The Canaries could only clear to Nick Hall standing 12 yards from goal and he rifled in a thunderous shot that went in via the crossbar.
Barwell hit Carlton on the break at the start of the second half, Towers’s run ended by Fletcher at the expense of a corner which was cleared.
Carlton's Lavell White then had a great chance to increase their lead, when sent clear on a one to one. However, he could only shoot straight at Morris and the chance was gone.
Fletcher then went on a run down the left past three defenders before turning on the goal line and putting a great cross into the six yard box, but there was no one there to take advantage.
White was fouled by Sanders, who received a yellow card for his actions. Carlton then forced two corners in quick succession but both were cleared.
Barwell’s best chance of the second half came as Towers crossed to substitute Barlone who headed well over with the goal at his mercy.
Dodd then had a decent chance of equalising but his weak shot was easily gathered by Marshall.
Carlton had a few nervy moments as they looked to protect their lead, none more so than, with ten minutes left, Marshall was called into action to make a tremendous save from Barlone from close range.
But the reality was that the Millers looked hungrier than Barwell and constantly won the second balls in the midfield. It would have been a travesty had they not held out and indeed should have sealed victory in injury time when Curtis Shaw broke clear on the left. He tried to cross for an unmarked Steve Chaplin to tap in but the cross in fact fell to an Theo Smith, bursting forward from midfield. He somehow contrived to blast the ball over the bar from six yards out, but with no further chances for either side it didn’t matter.
This result is unlikely to prevent Barwell from winning the league – they clearly deserve to do so. Nor is it likely to see the Millers into the play-offs – virtually all the other contenders won as well, so the gap remains seven points but with a game less left. But none the matter – it provides tremendous encouragement for what this team can do in this division next season if they can consistently perform like that.
Carlton Town - Marshall, Thornton (sub Fletcher 29), Goward, Darkin, Kitchen, Shaw, Hall, Hawkridge, Grayson (sub Chaplin 82), McDonald, White (sub Smith 88). Unused substitutes – Gardner, Large.
Goals: Grayson 32, Hall 38.
Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM – Nick Hall.