Carlton Town 1-1 Ilkeston Town (Northern Premier League Midlands Division) 18.09.21
A last gasp strike denied Carlton Town a fourth successive home win as they drew 1-1 with Ilkeston Town.
Charlie Wakefield fired home from close range in the fifth minutes of added time to score the first goal Carlton have conceded at home this season, just as it looked as if the Millers were going to hold on for the win. In truth, the Robins deserved something out of the game that was not exactly a classic, but having put up such staunch resistance there was obvious disappointment in the home camp at the final whistle.
On a gloriously hot afternoon and in front of a record home league attendance of 331, including WBA world welterweight champion Leigh Wood, Carlton managers Mark Harvey and Tommy Brookbanks made three changes to the side which had drawn at Halesowen last time out.
In came Deon Meikle, Tom Maddison and Tomani Omotola for Toby Moore, Khyle Sargent and the injured Aaron Opoku. Ilkeston featured ex-Millers Billy Bennett and Alex Troke.
Without talisman Opoku there was some concern about how the Millers would fare, but Carlton started the better of the two teams. Nat Watson and Niall Davie were the chief architects of Carlton’s early threat, with Watson playing one delightful ball which Davie lifted over the head of Kyle Tomlin before seeing his shot blocked.
Maddison and Omotola then combined before the latter played a neat pass to Davie who hit a shot inches wide of the post from just outside the area.
As the half wore on Ilkeston improved and Zak Goodson drew a fine save from Kieran Preston before another Robins attack saw Preston save excellently from Remaye Campbell.
Omotola was doing a fine job in holding the ball up and causing the visitors problems and he got his reward with the opening goal on 40 minutes. Watson once again started the move with a clever pass to Davie. He cut inside and when his attempted pass was cleared the ball ended up with Maddison. He fed Omotola who held off Kieran Fenton before firing at goal, with Ross Durrant blocking the shot but in doing so the ball ricocheted off Fenton and into the net.
Tyler Johal, having a fine game at left back, then sped down the wing before hitting a fierce drive that was palmed away inches beyond Tyler Blake.
Omotola and Jared Holmes both went off at half time, with Danny Elliott and Louis Czerwak coming on. That meant a different focus to the Millers attack with Blake in particular having to do an extraordinary amount of work in the second half.
Ilkeston were in the ascendancy and Meikle headed an early effort off the line before Preston made a superb save from a Campbell header.
Bennett then went forward and had a shot but Preston saved comfortably.
The Millers broke well from a Robins corner with Blake advancing before slipping the ball to Watson. He in turn fed an overlapping Czerwak who fired just over the bar.
It was then Ilkeston’s turn to move quickly from defence to attack through James Carvell and Goodson and only a fine tackle by Johal denied a clear sight of goal.
Watson was withdrawn with 15 minutes to go replaced by veteran Daryll Thomas and Meikle cleared another Goodson shot off the line as time was running out.
Davie might have sealed the win on 89 minutes but he shot just wide. At the other end a dangerous move down the right was only cleared by a fine Dan Brown header.
The referee indicated four minutes of added time and the Carlton defence saw the period out but in the fifth minute a long ball into the box saw Brown clear off the line. Wakefield reacted quickest and his shot seemed to be deflected beyond Preston and into the net.
It wasn’t the best of games, and it clearly wasn’t the best of finishes from a home perspective, but both sides had clearly given their all in baking conditions and had earned the applause they received as they left the pitch.
Carlton Town: Preston, Gorman, Johal, Brown, Moore, Holmes (Elliott 46), Watson (Thomas 75), Maddison, Omotola (Czerwak 46), Blake, Davie.
*Article provided by Sky Blue Miller.
*Main image @GBoatsy Boxer Leigh Wood was at the match with his world championship belt.