Shepshed Dynamo 1-1 Carlton Town (Northern Premier League Midlands Division) 14.08.21
Carlton Town began life in the newly created NPL Midlands division with a 1-1 draw at Shepshed Dynamo.
The Millers will feel mildly frustrated at not having secured all three points having taken the lead and controlled large passages of the game, but Shepshed always carried a threat and did enough on the day to merit their point.
Managers Tommy Brookbanks and Mark Harvey gave Carlton debuts to Kieran Preston, Nat Watson and James Matthews with returning former players Jared Holmes and Deon Meikle also in the starting eleven. With Toby Moore injured, Dan Brown accompanied Meikle at centre half with Lawrence Gorman and Daniel Fletcher at full back.
Shepshed featured ex-Loughborough striker Karl Demidh, a man who has regularly scored against the Millers over the years. In the dugout was former Carlton coach Kelvin Dudley.
On a wet summer’s afternoon, Carlton began the better and Tyler Blake headed inches wide on nine minutes after some lovely play by Watson on the left. Blake went even closer shortly afterwards when his spectacular overhead kick from a Niall Davie corner struck the crossbar with Matty White in the Shepshed goal well beaten.
The Millers in general were controlling the game, but failing to really test White. Dynamo, playing their first step 4 game in nine years, kept their shape well, with centre-half Jordan Smith particularly impressive, and limited the Millers to efforts from outside the area, despite the constant threat of Aaron Opoku.
The home side also created a couple of chances of their own in the first half, with Demidh firing wide of target and John King drawing a fine save from Preston.
Opoku controlled a Fletcher throw-in and ran into the area before going down under challenge from Liam Canavan. He claimed a penalty but the referee wasn’t interested.
On the stroke of half time the Millers went desperately close to scoring. Davie picked up a Gorman throw, darted down the right and the pulled the ball back to Watson on the edge of the box whose fierce drive flew inches over the cross bar.
Dynamo began the second half better and Preston had to be alert to thwart King as the Dynamo man tried to go around him. King then followed that with a low rifled effort that Preston did well to get down to and turn away for a corner.
At the other end Blake ran onto a clever Holmes pass and fired wide in what was fast becoming a scrappy encounter.
Khyle Sargent, another returning former player. Was introduced on 64 minutes and within 60 seconds Carlton were ahead. There seemed little danger with the ball bouncing around midfield but a Meikle header sent Opoku clear of the home defence. The striker kept his composure and coolly slotted the ball into the corner of the net to the delight of the small band of travelling supporters.]
Shepshed rallied and levelled eight minutes later. A King cross from the left found Demidh unmarked at the back post and he expertly steered a controlled volley past Preston.
Dynamo then had a ten minute spell with their tails up and the Millers defence, in general excellent all afternoon, kept them at bay, with Brown and Meikle looking particularly solid in the middle.
As the game entered its closing stages it was Carlton who looked more likely to win it. Watson showed excellent control before finding Holmes whose lovely pass sent substitute Tolani Omotola, another debutant, through but Smith was able to fend off the striker.
Louis Czerwak, another debutant substitute, then met a Holmes cross with a crisp strike that flew just over the crossbar.
Fletcher then played the ball to Omotola who cut inside his man but his shot was comfortably saved by White before Gorman got in on the action, darting away on the right before sending over a peach of a cross that was cleared by Smith with Sargent just waiting to add the final touch.
There was still time for Omotola to advance into the area and pull the ball back to Czerwak who seemed to slip at the crucial moment. In truth, a winning goal at that stage would have been harsh on either team given their efforts in the game and a draw was a fair result.
Carlton Town: Preston, Gorman, Fletcher, Brown, Meikle, Holmes, Watson, Matthews (Sargent 64), Opoku (Czerwak 76), Blake (Omotola 71), Davie.
*Article provided by Sky Blue Miller.
*Main image @Shepshed Dynamo the home side attack a set play.