MILLERS CRUISE TO VICTORY TO END SEASON ON A HIGH
Carlton Town ended their Evo-Stik First Division South campaign on a high, beating bottom club Spalding Utd 4-0 in Lincolnshire.
Thanks to BRIAN DENNETT for this report.
The result meant that the Millers finished in eighth spot in the table, one better than last season, with more points, more goals and more wins than last season.
It ranks as a hugely impressive showing from a group of players who in the main only joined the club last summer and of course the management team that led them through the season. But for a poor spell in January or February, it could have been even better, but back in August no one at the club would have said no to eighth place and a Cup Final and the season as a whole has undoubtedly been a success.
For this final league game Les McJannet made three changes from the side that lost on Saturday against Brigg, with goalkeeper Dan Marshall returning in place of Neil West, assistant manager Mark Clarke replacing Deon Meikle and Aaron Large coming in for the injured Nick Hall.
Spalding goalkeeper Leigh Cook was soon into the action against a lively Millers forward line, Theo Smith testing him with a long range shot. Smith was giving the Tulips regard a testing time, going on a run which took him past four defenders before full back Alex Lyons had to concede a corner. Curtis Shaw’s flag kick was easily dealt with.
Terry Hawkridge then advanced down the left and forced Tom Ingram to concede another corner. This time Shaw’s kick reached Neil Grayson who tried an overhead kick which just went by Cook’s right hand post.
Carlton's pressure paid off on 12 minutes when winger Josh Nodder tripped Smith in the box. Referee James Turner awarded Carlton a penalty which Shaw himself put away with ease.
Five minutes later Carlton increased their lead. Grayson chased a ball down the left before crossing from the goal line to the far post where Smith played it back across goal to find Hollis who neatly tucked it away.
The Tulips then rallied, Ashley Kitchen fouling Jammal Shahin near the left touchline. Nodder’s free kick was overhit, giving Marshall a chance to gather easily. Corey Currithers then had a shot from distance saved at the second attempt.
Josh Thornton had a cross into the box turned out for a corner by Sean Baker, but Shaw’s flag kick was easily cleared.
On the stroke of half time, Carlton gave away another free kick. Nodder’s delivery just evaded centre forward Alistair Holding, who should have done better.
The Tulips started the second half brightly but didn't cause the Millers defence many problems.
Carlton increased their lead further mid-way through the half when Thornton found Hawkridge with a long cross-field pass. He streaked down the right before crossing to substitute Steve Chaplin, only on the pitch for a minute or so, at the far post, who lashed the ball home on the volley.
Dan Marshall then made a great save from Holding before turning an effort from Brewer over the bar as Spalding tried to reduce the deficit.
Carlton grabbed their fourth goal of the match when substitute McDonald sped down the right before playing in Hawkridge to finish with a fine shot from inside the six yard box.
At the final whistle the players left to a standing ovation from the small but vocal travelling support, who had clearly enjoyed themselves not only during the match, but before it as well by the looks of them.
Carlton Town - Marshall, Thornton, Goward, Clarke, Kitchen, Shaw, Large (sub Fletcher 55), Hawkridge, Grayson (sub Chaplin 64), Hollis (sub McDonald 70), Smith. Unused substitute: Troughton.
Goals: Shaw 12pen, Hollis 18, Chaplin 65, Hawkridge 79
Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM - Ashley Kitchen