Millers Cup Joy & Moors In Town
The cold weather at the beginning of February would see the first weekend of the month hit with many postponements and Carlton Town were no exception. Due to the adverse weather conditions they were left with a free weekend as for the first time all season a frozen pitch at Sheffield would prevent this fixture from going ahead.
Belper Town 2 – 1 Carlton Town
So, a week on and with fresher legs the team would travel up into Derbyshire for a fixture that over recent seasons has always produced tight encounters and with the odd goal either way producing a winner. This one was to be no different than any other game from recent times with the home side having the better of the play for the majority of the first half and deservedly leading at the interval. The Millers would rally in the second half and improve on their first half performance but would still struggle to break down the home team. It was only during the final ten minutes when Carlton really pressed and dominated that they would get some reward from the game. A goal by Opoku via a sublime pass from Stovell just before injury time was just reward for the millers persistent in the latter stages of the game after having been two-nil down at the break. A rousing finish to the game would see the home side cling on and Carlton again would return home disappointed at not having got anything from the game.
Carlton Town 2 – 2 Solihull Moors
With players returning from injury and suspensions a mid-week fixture was arranged to give some of the squad an opportunity for game time and match fitness for the next league encounter in three days time. Solihull Moors, a conference league club, whom the previous evening had won and gone top of their division would bring a squad of players for a work-out at stoke lane which in the end would prove to be a good advert for the game. Here was an opportunity for both teams to see what options some of their fringe players would offer them for the remainder of the season and i’m sure that at the conclusion of the game both managers were left with food for thought as they say. It was a pretty even game throughout with both sides at times producing some good combinations and free-flowing football. Solihull were to open the scoring and take the lead into half-time, but the millers would start the second half the better team and be rewarded with an equaliser from the returning centre-half Eddie Clarke. With the game now going from end-to-end and both sides level-pegging the Moors would press on again and ten minutes on from the equaliser regain their lead. However, Carlton’s fighting spirit would continue and with twenty minutes left on the clock see Stovell hit a thunderous shot into the top of the net to bring the teams level. Bartram would hit a post late on in what was a positive work-out and one that should encourage the players to produce a performance on Saturday.
Carlton Town 1 – 2 Spalding United
Three days on from a good and productive performance would see a team that the millers had over-run earliar in the season come to town. Spalding were lying in a similar position in the league as Carlton and this was definitely billed as a six-pointer. The millers never really got out of the dressing room in this one and showed too much respect and time to their opponents. The away side would lead at the interval by a single goal and with not much dividing the two sides ability wise would have more endeavour to go two-up with nine minutes to play. A consolation goal for Motshweni in injury time would reduce the deficit in what quite frankly was an average display from the home team.
Carlton Town 2 – 0 AFC Mansfield
The senior cup was next on the agenda for the millers and a quarter-final against opposition whom had beaten them in the boxing day league fixture see an opportunity to gain revenge. The home side would not disappoint in this one ,but would start slowly and at times struggle to break down the opposition. Stovell, who was a constant threat with his pace and guile would cause the opposition a lot of problems in the first forty-five minutes but the game would stiil be a stalemate at half-time with neither side being able to break the deadlock. Five minutes into the second half would see Keiran Walker finally open the scoring and this now encouraged the home side to keep pressing the opposition. A late goal from Ollie Clark was to confirm the result and put the millers into the semi-finals for the second year in succession. The game would end bitterly though when Broadhead for the visitors would see red by kicking out at goalkeeper Steggles when he had the ball firmly clutched in his hands. A good performance all in all and with an added boost for the team with Ben Hutchinson getting some game time after recovering from a fractured sinus bone suffered in the victory over Pickering Town at the beginning of January.
And so March is upon us and possibly the most important month of the season regarding gaining results. The squad will need to be strong and pull in the same direction even more as the games will come thick and fast ,and with a lot of points to be won at stake, a good run of results with consistency and hard work is now required as we enter the penultimate month of the campaign.