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Match Report: Carlton Town FC 0 – 2 Stockbridge Park Steels

The Millers would have gone joint top with a win

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NPL First Division East – 21 October 2023

Late goals from Elliot Murray and Kurtis Turner saw Stocksbridge Park Steels win 2-0 at Stoke Lane.

The defeat was a major disappointment for the Millers, who came into the game having beaten league leaders Belper town in midweek and would have gone joint top with a win.  But ultimately the visitors finished the stronger side in a fairly flat affair and Carlton could have no complaints at the outcome.

With torrential rain the previous day causing a number of postponements across the country, the Millers did well to even get the game on.  Mark Harvey and Tommy Brookbanks made two changes to the side which had beaten Belper.  Khyle Sargent was suspended and Liam Bateman injured.  They were replaced by Shea Thompson-Harris and Michael Ford.

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On a soft surface Carlton had what few opportunities there were in the first half.  Dean Freeman headed just wide from a Niall Davie corner on 10 minutes and visiting goalkeeper Ben Townsend made an excellent stop from Alex Hardwick just after the half hour, tipping his deflected free kick away from goal with Alex Howes firing the loose ball wide.

Lamin Manneh ran through on goal just before the break but was brought back by an offside flag.

Carlton suffered a blow at half time when player of the season Dan Brown, playing his 72nd consecutive match, had to go off through injury.  David Adegbola came on with Thompson-Harris moving to centre half.

Freeman went close to converting early in the second half but just couldn’t get on the end of a Davie free kick before Steels fashioned their first opportunity with Felix Annan saving from Luke Rawson.

Stocksbridge enjoyed more of the possession as the half progressed with Alex O’Connor firing over the top after some good play by Basille Zottos.

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Annan then made an excellent save at the near post from Rawson before Charlie Oglesby headed wide from a good position.

With just three minutes remaining Steels won a contentious free kick on the half way line.  Goalkeeper Townsend took it, sending the ball into the penalty area.  Annan came to collect but fumbled the ball and Murray was on hand to fire home.

With Carlton chasing the game a neat passing move from Stocksbridge down the left saw them seal the win in added time when Turner’s deflected shot nestled in the corner of the net.  And Carlton’s misery was complete in the last seconds of the game when Thompson-Harris brought down Rawson on the edge of the box and received a straight red card for denying a goalscoring opportunity.

The players came across to the small home support at the final whistle to thank them for their efforts.  They will look to get back on track when Stockton Town visit in midweek.

Carlton Town: F Annan, S Thompson-Harris, L Durow, D Brown (D Adegbola 46), D Freeman, N Davie, L Manneh, M Ford, A Hardwick, A Howes (Z Hill 69), N Hylton (M Jawara 78). Unused subs:  L Sisawo-Danso

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Goals: Elliot Murray 87, Kurtis Turner 90

Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM: Niall Hylton

Att: 112

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