Win Takes Millers Sixth

Carlton Town 2-0 Wisbech Town (Northern Premier League Midlands Division) 15.01.22

Goals in either half from Aaron O’Connor and Nat Watson saw Carlton Town to a 2-0 win against strugglers Wisbech Town at Stoke Lane.

Although it was ultimately a comfortable win, it was far from straightforward and the Millers were indebted to two superb saves from goalkeeper Kieran Preston when the score was 1-0 to keep the Fenmen at bay.

Tommy Brookbanks and Mark Harvey made three changes to the side which had drawn at Coleshill last time out.  In came Danny Elliott, Khyle Sargent and O’Connor, with the latter making his full debut.  Out went Tom Maddison, Jared Holmes and Tyler Blake.

The Millers began well on a pitch that is showing the benefit of the summer investment.  Aaron Opoku ran at the visiting defence on just three minutes and drew a save from Luke Pearson in the Fenmen goal.

A clever chip from Watson two minutes later brought another good save from the keeper, who went on to have a fine game for Wisbech.

Next it was Lawrence Gorman’s turn to fire at goal when a corner wasn’t cleared but his effort flew just wide of target.

Wisbech’s first opportunity came on 15 minutes when Brody Warren ran through on goal, only to be denied by a superb tackle from Dan Brown who then brought the ball out of defence calmly and instigated another Millers attack.

Opoku almost opened the scoring a couple of minutes later when he chased down an underhit back-pass from Jack Keeble.  Pearson’s attempted clearance cannoned into the striker and the ball ricocheted back towards goal, just missing the post by inches.

Carlton did open the scoring on 20 minutes with a fine goal.  Niall Davie hit a deep Crossfield ball from right to left.  Watson controlled and dinked a lovely cross into the area.  Opoku glanced it to O’Connor who fired high into the net via the inside of the post with Carlton queueing up to score.

Wisbech responded and cross from the right was met with a point-blank header from Danny Draper which was tipped over the bar by Preston.  It was a superb reaction save.

Back came Carlton and when Opoku crossed from the right, O’Connor hit a volley that looked a certain goal until Pearson flew across goal and made an outstanding save of his own.  Gorman followed up but the Fenmen rearguard did well to block the shot.

Toby Moore went close with a header from a Watson corner just before the break but there was still time for Wisbech to draw another stunning save from Preston, this time from a Layton Maddison free kick which took a full length Preston dive to palm around the post.

The Millers looked relatively comfortable in the second half, with Moore and Brown outstanding in the middle of defence ably supported by Gorman and Tyler Johal at full back.  But Sargent and Elliott were still having to work hard to ensure that Wisbech didn’t get a foothold in the game, and with only a one goal advantage Carlton knew they needed a second to make the game safe.

That duly came on 73 minutes and was a clear contender for goal of the season.  Opoku ran on to a through ball and was brought down by Luke Wilson on the edge of the box.  Wilson was perhaps fortunate only to get a yellow card, but Watson inflicted the real punishment when he fired the free kick into the roof of the net with Pearson helpless.

From then on it was all but over and only a magnificent save from Pearson to deny Tyler Blake kept the margin at two goals after substitutes Niall Towle and Blake had combined down the right.

Fellow substitute Alex Howes impressed during his spell on the pitch and he himself might have scored after a great run, but by then the damage had been done and Carlton had secured another win in their quest for a play-off place.

Carlton Town: Preston, Gorman, Johal, Brown, Moore, Elliott, Watson, Sargent, Opoku (Blake 73), O’Connor (Towle 79), Davie (Howes 58).

*Article provided by Sky Blue Miller.

*Main image @CTFC1904 Nat Watson (centre) post game after scoring a terrific free kick.

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