CARLTON TOWN 1-2 FRICKLEY ATHLETIC - MATCH REPORT
Carlton Town conceded a late winner for the second time on four days as they went down 2-1 to Frickley Athletic at Stoke Lane.
Having lost to a late goal at Stocksbridge Park Steels in midweek, the same happened against Frickley as Gavin Allott struck with 12 minutes remaining.
Conceding late winners was a bad Carlton habit last season and is already a concern this year as Carlton lost for the fifth time in seven games this campaign. Linked to that issue is the lack of goals – just six in seven games and only one from open play. There is plenty for the Carlton management team to think about.
Wayne Scott made two changes to the side which lost at Steels. There were debuts for Toby Moore and Connor Bartle with Kieran Walker and Jordan Pick making way.
Frickley featured ex-Coventry City Premier League striker Gary McSheffrey in their starting eleven.
It was the visitors who almost went ahead on five minutes when Jack Steggles fumbled a harmless looking Jacob Hazel effort and had to scramble to his goal line to keep the ball out.
Carlton settled and moved the ball reasonably well without creating a great deal in the early stages. Niall Davie, playing just behind the forwards, headed just over the bar from a Bartle throw in.
The Millers were awarded a penalty on 29 minutes when Sam Liversidge brought down Luke Smithson following a mazy run by the wide man. Ben Hutchinson made no mistake from the spot, sending Hugo Warhurst the wrong way. It was Warhurst’s last action of the match; he’d picked up a knock earlier in the game had to be substituted. With no reserve goalkeeper on the bench, striker James Morris came on in goal.
This should have been the signal for Carlton to bombard the stand-in keeper and test his mettle. Instead, it was Athletic who grabbed an equaliser just before half time. McSheffrey delivered a pin-point free kick from the right hand side, arcing to the back post where Jameel Ible met it unmarked with a powerful header.
Carlton began the second half well and when Davie’s run into the box saw the ball cleared to Khyle Sargent, his fierce drive was deflected over the bar.
At the other end a ricochet in the Millers defence fell nicely to McSheffrey whose curling drive was just over the top.
Another free kick from McSheffrey was saved by Steggles before the striker was substituted, to warm applause from all sections of the ground.
Smithson and Hutchinson linked up well and Smithson got to the by line, crossed to Bartle who headed over the bar from a good position.
Carlton’s best chance came minutes later. Bartle fed Davie who attacked and beat Connor Smith and whipped a lovely cross to Aaron Opoku on the penalty spot. The striker tried to place a first time side-foot into the corner of the net but didn’t get enough power and Morris was able to dive to his left and save.
Opoku then sent a deep cross into the box which Richard Patterson sliced inches over his own cross bar.
At this stage it looked as if it was only a matter of time before Carlton scored, but, as has been so often the case in recent years, they were punished for their failure to score when on top. Hazel advanced down the right and played the ball into Daniel Palmer. His effort was blocked but the ball bobbled around and Allott was on hand like a proper striker to fire home from close range.
Steggles then had to save from Patterson while Davie saw a shot tipped around the post by Morris.
Hutchinson headed over from the follow-up corner and he also saw Morris make a decent save in added time from a 25-yard half-volley, but as neat as Carlton’s football was, it was a third home defeat of the season.
Carlton Town: Steggles, Smithson, Bartle, Bertram, E Clarke, Moore, Sargent (Frost 75), O Clark, Opoku, Hutchinson, Davie. Unused substitutes: Robinson, Tomlinson, Pick, Stokes
Goals: Hutchinson 29 (pen); Jameel Ible 42, Gavin Allott 78
Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM: Luke Smithson