Carlton Town 2-1 Nottingham Forest U23 (Notts Senior Cup Semi Final) 12.04.22
A Nat Watson double sent 17 time winners Nottingham Forest crashing out of the Senior County Cup tonight as Northern Premier League Midland Division promotion hopefuls Carlton progress to the final where they’ll play Mansfield Town or Newark FC.
The rain came down ahead of kick off to give an extra zest on the Stoke Lane pitch and that might have played to the professional sides advantage in front of a packed house, but it was Martin Ball who was closest for the part-timers in the first fifteen minutes to opening the score, striking the bar with a header from a free kick and unlucky not to give the Millers the lead.
That opportunity was fully punished too, Finn Back has first team appearances for Forest this season and his quality told as he provided the opener, pushing forward from right back, converting from close range on 25 after good work by Konate who had earlier himself gone close.
Dan Fletcher was an early Carlton substitute at the half hour stage, the full back unlucky not to start, coming on for Tyler Johal with Nat Watson producing a fine save from Forest goalkeeper Nicky Hogarth from a trademark free kick, a tight half edged by the young reds but with plenty of chances for the home side.
Carlton made another change at the break before the Reds brought on Will Swan and it was Forest close to doubling their advantage on 62 when their substitute broke the Millers back line and squared to Konate who was denied by Rowley one on one.
That miss proved costly for Forest as five minutes later Nat Watson headed a leveller from close range and on 70 minutes during a positive spell of pressure, Carlton hit the post before that man Watson again, glancing home a corner for his second of the match and a valuable winner to send three time winners Carlton again into the final.
A big game player for many years and one known at the level for being able to do things many others can’t. Tantalising with the ball at his feet, Watson’s two goals against the future of Forest arguably capping off not just one of the Millers best recent performances, but on a personal level it proves he can still mix it with the very best himself. Who’s to say now, he won’t even cap a fine season off with a County Cup medal as well as promotion into the NPL top flight. That can also be said for the likes of Martin Ball, Danny Fletcher, Tom Maddison, and an ex-Red youngster in Lawrence Gorman. Truly committed Carlton stars and for some time too, these days yellow and blue, who deserve their spell in the limelight after shining it brightly on non league football tonight.
Carlton Town: Rowley, Gorman, Johal (Fletcher 31), Ball, Brown, Maddison, Watson, Sargent (Tait 46), Opoku, Blake, Howes (Czerwak 63).
Nottingham Forest: Hogarth, Back, Gibson-Hammond, Rama, Fernandes, Barnes, Valencia (Feester 68), Hammond (Harbottle 75), Salmon (Swan 61), Konate, Larsson.
Venue: Bill Stokeld Stadium (733)
*Main image @EmmasGroundGuide Carlton attack the Forest goal.