Carlton Edge Past Struggling Soham

Carlton Town 2-1 Soham Town Rangers (Northern Premier League Midlands Division) 29.01.22

Goals from Nat Watson and Aaron Opoku were enough to earn Carlton Town a third home win on the bounce as they beat Soham Town Rangers 2-1 at Stoke Lane.

In tough conditions due to a very strong wind, the Millers were made to work for their win by the relegation-threatened visitors who were much improved on the side that had lost the reverse fixture 6-0 at home.

Carlton made four changes to the side which had drawn at Loughborough last time out.  In came Martin Ball, Danny Elliott, Tyler Blake and Niall Davie.  They replaced Toby Moore, Jared Holmes, Aaron O’Connor and Khyle Sargent.

Carlton played with the wind at their backs in the first half but a common theme was passes being overhit and running out of play or through to the Soham goalkeeper Finlay Iron, simply because the wind was so strong.

Indeed, in a scrappy opening period, it was Rangers who had the first effort on target when Sidik Atcha’s cross-shot from the left drew an excellent save from Mark Rathbone in the Carlton goal.

The Millers opened the scoring on 27 minutes with a well-worked goal.  Lawrence Gorman’s throw-in from the right was flicked on by Davie and Watson reacted quickest, darting forward and planting a firm header into the corner of the net from 10 yards.

Soham really should have levelled eight minutes later when Dan Brown misjudged a through ball and Declan Rogers ran clean through on goal.  But with only Rathbone to beat the striker pulled his effort wide of target to the relief of the home support.

Centre-half Max Mattless hit a long-range effort for the visitors shortly before half time which drew a comfortable save from Rathbone.

Shortly before half time Davie and Gorman combined on the left with Davie sending over a superb cross that Blake just failed to connect with in front of goal and Soham cleared.

In the early stages of the second half Soham were doing exactly what Carlton had done in the first period – overhit all of their passes and lose possession cheaply.  The Millers on the other hand had to keep the ball on the floor and looked more dangerous as a result.

The second goal duly arrived on 52 minutes.  Captain Tom Maddison knocked the ball to Blake on the half way line.  Blake swivelled superbly and played a delightful pass to send Opoku away on goal.  Blake was clattered by a Soham player in the process but the referee played an excellent advantage.

Opoku still had plenty to do but he outpaced Julien Saka, drew Iron and then rifled the ball past the goalkeeper and into the net.

Carlton looked in complete control at this stage and when Watson lofted a ball into the path of Blake, the striker controlled excellently before advancing into the area.  He was bundled to the floor by Mattless for what looked like a clear penalty but the referee wasn’t interested.

Blake, Davie and Opoku then combined in a lovely passing move but Atcha did really well to clear the danger.

Ball and Brown were dealing with the wind-assisted long balls forward and Gorman and Tyler Johal had the measure of the Soham wide threat.  With Carlton having to keep the ball on the floor – anything in the air was simply blowing back towards the Carlton goal – Elliott, Davie, Maddison and Watson were buzzing around the midfield and Blake and Opoku always offered an outlet.

The Millers continued to press and Davie drew a decent save from Iron before Opoku ran at the Soham defence after yet another pass by Watson, only to be denied once again by a last-ditch challenge.

Brown was next to be involved.  He won an excellent header on the half way line which led to Watson feeding Blake but the striker’s shot was cleared.

Although Soham by this stage looked beaten, they never gave up and kept looking to get beyond the Millers rearguard.  And directly from the clearance from Blake’s shot, they went down the pitch and pulled a goal back.

There seemed little danger when a long wind-assisted Crossfield ball from the left reached Edgar Morais on the right touchline.  But he darted down the wing and fired a cross-shot that seemed to hit the near post, hit Rathbone on the palms and drop into the net.  It was a poor goal to give away from a Carlton perspective and it clearly breathed new life into the Cambridgeshire outfit.

The visitors used the wind to throw the ball forward at every opportunity in the final minutes of the game.  They appealed for a penalty for handball in the dying seconds after a free kick pinged around the Carlton penalty area, but the referee waved away the claims and the Millers held on for the three points to the delight of the home support.

Carlton Town: Rathbone, Gorman, Johal, Brown, Ball, Elliott (Sargent 79), Watson, Maddison, Opoku, Blake, Davie (Towle 78).

*Article provided by Sky Blue Miller.

*Main image @HucknallTownFC The Millers Bill Stokeld Stadium saw a third straight home win.

Leave a Reply