Maltby Main 1-1 Carlton Town (FA Cup Preliminary Round) 21.08.21
A Brandon Whitfield strike ten minutes from time forced Carlton Town into a replay in their FA Cup tie at Maltby Main.
In an enthralling cup tie, both sides hit the woodwork multiple times and Carlton missed a penalty to boot. But the Millers looked to be heading through to the First Round qualifying following Tyler Blake’s second half opener until Whitfield’s thunderbolt late on.
Carlton managers Tommy Brookbanks and Mark Harvey made five changes to the side which beat Bedworth last time out. In came Jack Steggles, Tyler Johal, Toby Moore, Jared Holmes and James Matthews. They replaced Kieran Preston (ineligible), Daniel Fletcher (injured), Deon Meikle, Danny Elliot and Khyle Sargent.
Maltby featured ex-Miller Liam Marsden in their starting eleven. They came into the game top of the Northern Counties East Premier division and on the back of a 5-0 midweek win.
The early stages of the game were scrappy with neither side able to put together any coherent passing football and with both defences dominating.
Carlton though were awarded a glorious opportunity to open the scoring when goalkeeper Hugo Warhurst shoved Aaron Opoku to the floor on 27 minutes to gift the Millers a penalty. The striker himself took the spot kick, after some negotiation with Nat Watson, but could only watch in despair as his effort flew wide of the post.
Main immediately responded to the let-off by launching a quick attack that saw Connor Cutts hit a fierce shot against the crossbar.
Shortly afterwards the same player hit the bar again, this time from a free kick, and only a quick Dan Brown clearance stopped the home side from scoring from the loose ball.
Carlton finally produced some fluent passing football in the minutes before half time that led to a Matthews shot which drew a comfortable save from Warhurst. There was still time for a final Main attack with Steggles making a fine save from a Jamie Austin header.
Undoubtedly words were had at half time because the Millers emerged a totally different team in the second half and within 30 seconds of the restart they were in front.
Lawrence Gorman played a long ball into the area from the right-hand side. Blake seemed to have his shirt pulled but he kept his balance and nonchalantly flicked the ball past the stranded Warhurst and into the net in front of the delirious travelling support.
That led to a period of intense Carlton which should have brought a second goal. Blake and Opoku linked well and when Blake’s shot was saved, Watson fired wide from the rebound.
Opoku then won an excellent header in midfield before playing a delightful pass to put Blake clean through on goal, with no defenders nearby. Warhurst made a fine save and Matthews’s follow-up shot lacked power and the goalkeeper saved again.
Captain Tom Maddison was brought on for his first appearance of the season, with Sargent also being introduced to the fray. But Maltby responded. They claimed a penalty of their own on 67 minutes which wasn’t given but as play continued, the impressive Jonathan Hill hit a screamer of a drive that beat Steggles but hit the bar again, the third time in the game the home side had been denied by the woodwork.
Louis Czerwak came on with 15 minutes to go and immediately ran through on goal only to see Warhurst make another excellent save.
Carlton went even closer on 78 minutes when Opoku once again sent Blake clean through on goal. He had time to steady himself and fire past Warhurst, only to see his effort strike the post. That was a key moment in the game as within two minutes Maltby were level.
A move down the left saw the ball fed to substitute Whitfield and he hit a 20-yard strike from the left hand side of the penalty area that flew into the top corner, giving Steggles no chance.
Thomas Whiting then tried to win it for the home side, but Steggles made another good save. At the other end Opoku headed inches over the bar from a Watson corner.
As the game entered injury time Carlton poured forward in search of a winner. Watson, Maddison and Gorman linked well and when the ball was played back to Maddison he hit a 25-yard screamer that beat Warhurst but hit the crossbar again.
Finally it was Czerwak’s turn as he hit a powerful drive that looked to be going into the corner of the net before being deflected away by some last-ditch defending. The referee then brought an end to what turned out to be a breathless cup tie. Both sides left the pitch to generous applause and the Millers players responded in kind to the vocal travelling support. They will do it all again in a midweek replay.
Carlton Town: Steggles, Gorman, Johal, Brown, Moore, Holmes (Maddison 65), Watson, Matthews (Sargent 65), Opoku, Blake, Davie (Czerwak 75).
*Article provided by Sky Blue Miller.
*Main image @CarltonFans the cup on show at Maltby wrapped in yellow and blue.