Carlton Town picked up their biggest win in almost five years as they thrashed Gresley 5-0 at Stoke Lane.
The win was all the more remarkable as Carlton’s last game was a 4-0 drubbing at Morpeth Town. Indeed, the Millers doubled their goals tally for the season in one game having scored just five goals in the seven league games played so far.
Manager Wayne Scott made four changes to the side which lost in the North-east. Out went Jacob Tabreham, Edward Clarke, Aaron Opoku and Ben Stokes. Into the side came Riece Bertram, Toby Moore, Ben Hutchinson and new signing Aidan Austin.
The Millers got off to the perfect start with a goal inside 10 minutes. Austin looked impressive from the off and he advanced down the left before crossing to the back post. Albert Lansdowne’s headed clearance got only as far as Luke Smithson and the winger, playing centre-forward, swivelled to fire a left foot volley sweetly into the corner of the net.
The Moatmen should have equalised within 60 seconds when a ball to the back post found Kane Lee but he fired wide from an excellent position.
Alex Steadman then saw an effort go just wide of the post as Gresley pushed forward. However, Carlton continued to look dangerous and another fine run from Austin saw Smithson chip an effort just over the bar.
A second goal looked likely and it arrived on 24 minutes. Smithson slipped the ball to Hutchinson and he finished well into the corner of the net.
12 minutes later it was 3-0. Mark Branch brought down Hutchinson by the left touchline. The striker got up to deliver a delicious free kick which Riece Betram diverted past Jack Livesey with a glancing header.
Any fears the home faithful had that Carlton might get the jitters in the second half were soon dispelled as Carlton got their fourth goal on 55 minutes. A Hutchinson shot was blocked to Smithson, whose follow-up was cleared for a corner. The first flag kick led to a second which Hutchinson sent to the back post. Oliver Clark met it with a powerful header which Livesey did well to save, but he was powerless to stop Clark reacting quickest and firing home the rebound from close range.
There was only four minutes remaining when Carlton scored arguably their best goal of the night. Davie fed fellow substitute Samuel Ilesamni, who backheeled the ball to Clark, who fired into the top corner.
It was the first time Carlton had hit five in the league since beating Romulus by the same scoreline in December 2013 and Ilesamni almost made it six in the closing moments, lifting the ball just over after another through ball from Davie.
Gresley may have been poor, but Carlton made them look poor, and the Moatmen came into the game on the back of wins against Lincoln and Gainsborough so they were no mugs. This was the best display for some years at Stoke Lane and the challenge for Carlton will be to maintain this standard for the rest of the season.