SPALDING UTD 1-2 CARLTON TOWN - MATCH REPORT
Goals from Jake Carlisle and Daniel Gordon earned Carlton Town an impressive 2-1 win at Spalding Utd.
The win, Carlton’s first at the Sir Halley Stewart stadium in over six years, was well deserved as Carlton for the most part controlled matters against last season’s beaten play-off finalists. Indeed, had Mamoke Akaunu’s late effort gone in instead of crashing against the bar the margin of victory would have been greater.
Manager Wayne Scott made two changes from the side which lost to Barwell last time out. In came William Mellors-Blair and Jake Carlisle in place of Danny Elliott and Aaron Hooton. There was once again no place in 16 for Daniel Fletcher and Brandon Mutibvu, who in the main has featured only as substitute, left the club in the week.
Scott reverted to 4-4-2 with Darol Lucas at left back and Riece Bertram in midfield.
On a sticky pitch Carlton started brightly, moving the ball crisply with Kaylum Mitchell looking lively and causing the home side problems.
Kieran Walker did well to dispossess Lewis Willington in the area before Jordan Wilson advance deep into the Tulips box, only to be denied by a fine tackle from Ellis Humble.
Robbie McNicholas then sent the ball in from the right for Wilson to head at goal but Michael Duggan was able to make a comfortable save.
Mellors-Blair, making his first start for the Millers since last season’s Notts Senior Cup final, was looking dangerous as he repeatedly ran at the Spalding defence and the Tulips were struggling to gain any meaningful possession.
Mitchell went close to opening the scoring on the half hour when he headed inches wide from a Gordon corner, but Carlton only had to wait a further two minutes to take the lead.
Another Gordon corner was whipped into the near post where Carlisle reacted quickest, placing a bullet header past Duggan and into the corner of the net.
Spaldling rallied towards the end of the half and Jack Steggles made a fine full-length diving save to hold onto a goal-bound Ben Davison header after a good run and cross by Cenk Acar.
The Millers began the second half in the same manner as the first with Mellors-Blair shooting just wide on 50 minutes.
Five minutes later Carlton doubled their lead from another set piece. Gordon was fouled just outside the penalty area central to the goal. The defensive wall jumped expecting one of his trademark top-corner shots, only to see a grass-cutter fly beneath them and past the unsighted Duggan.
At this stage there looked no obvious way back into the game for Spalding but Scott took off Mitchell and Carlton lost some of the ball-carrying ability he brings to the team. As a result the last half hour saw the ball spend more time in the Carlton half than it had in the first hour of the game.
The Tulips pulled a goal back on 67 minutes. Lee Beeson sent a free kick over from the right, Kieran Walker’s header fell to Davison on the edge of the box and he turned and shot neatly into the bottom corner of the net.
The home side then pushed for the equaliser but the Carlton defence looked solid throughout and the midfield gave little away. Indeed, Carlton created the best chance of the final stages of the match with four minutes to go.
Hooton headed away a Spalding corner to Mellors-Blair, who played a lovely ball into Akaunu. He held off two men, ran into the area and crashed a shot against the crossbar. With the goal gaping, Akaunu and Hooton got in each other’s way and the rebound ended up wide of the post.
It mattered not as Carlton played out the six added minutes to secure an away win that delighted the travelling support.
Carlton Town: Steggles, McNicholas, Lucas, Schoenecker, Carlisle, Walker, Mitchell (Elliott 58), Bertram, Wilson (Akaunu 74), Mellors-Blair, Gordon (Hooton 70). Unused substitutes: Stovell, Gnahore
Goals: Carlisle 32, Gordon 55; Ben Davison 67
Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM: Riece Bertram