STOCKSBRIDGE PS 1-0 CARLTON TOWN - MATCH REPORT
A goal from substitute Ben Rhoads seven minutes from time was enough to send Carlton Town to a 1-0 defeat at Stocksbridge Park Steels.
Rhoads struck when it looked like the Millers would hold out for a valuable point after a period of second half Steels pressure. The loss was all the more frustrating as Carlton had controlled the entirety of the first half but failed to capitalise on their advantage.
To make matters worse, Riece Bertram, impressive so far this season, was sent off in injury time and faces a ban of at least one game.
Manager Wayne Scott made one change from the side which beat Gresley last time out with Jordan Pick starting ahead of the absent Ben Stokes.
Carlton, playing the ever-familiar 3-5-2 began well on an excellent pitch. Pick, impressive in possession, moved the ball left to Aaron Opoku and from his lovely cross Ben Hutchinson fired just wide at the back post.
Jack Steggles made a comfortable save from a Rory Coleman free kick before Luke Smithson saw a shot deflected into the path of the goalkeeper.
Carlton were controlling midfield and Smithson and Niall Davie were up and down the flanks throughout. Steels threatened rarely but Steggles did make a decent save from Tyler Williams midway through the half.
Pick then found Opoku with an excellent pass. The striker got to the by-line before crossing to Hutchinson, whose attempted back heel into the net from six yards was saved. It was Carlton’s best chance of the first half.
Steels had plainly had a talking-to a half time and Steggles made a stunning save within minutes of the re-start from Aaron Moxam before Edward Clarke headed the follow-up shot of the line.
Scott withdrew Pick on 49 minutes and gave a debut to Joshua Kwade. Kwade moved into the left wing position with the team seeming to change to 3-4-3. The loss of a midfield player seemed to allow Steels to gain control of that area and they started to push Carlton back towards their own penalty area.
Nonetheless, some stout defending kept the home side at bay and it was Ben Hutchinson who in fact went closest to scoring. A Niall Davie cross was met by a fierce drive from Hutchinson which beat the goalkeeper but was cleared by Coleman from a position that looked suspiciously over the goal line. It was hard to tell, the linesman was up with the play and he signalled no goal so that was that – it was an excellent block in any event.
Hutchinson followed that with a free kick heading to the corner of the net until Jordan Greaves made a stunning save.
Steggles then made an excellent save from Coleman as Steels looked for the winner.
Kwadu went on a lovely run and his cross to Opoku saw the striker’s goalbound effort blocked and cleared.
The only goal came on 83 minutes. A long ball and headed flick saw the Carlton midfield / defence all over the place. The ball was played right to Rhoads who picked his spot, firing low into the corner past Steggles.
With the game in added time Bertram brought down Luke Mangham on the edge of the box. He could have no complaints about the second yellow card and his night ended about 30 seconds before the rest of the players.
Carlton Town: Steggles, Smithson, Davie, Bertram, E Clarke, Walker (Frost 88), Sargent, O Clark, Opoku, Hutchinson (Tomlinson 71), Pick (Kwadu 51). Unused substitutes: Robinson, Moore
Goals: Ben Rhoads 83
Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM: Aaron Opoku