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Match Report: Tadcaster Albion 0 – 2 Carlton Town

Vital win for Carlton Town in fight against relegation

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NPL First Division East

4 February 2023

Aaron O’Connor scored twice as Carlton Town picked up a vital win at Tadcaster Albion in the battle of the bottom two sides.

O’Connor’s goals were Carlton’s first in open play since November and this first league win of 2023 saw Carlton climb out of the automatic relegation places.   Tadcaster’s defeat leaves them firmly entrenched at the foot of the table with a mammoth task ahead of them to avoid dropping out of the Northern Premier League.

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Both sides came into the game in confident mood.  Albion had picked up their first win of the season in midweek with a success against Sheffield, while Carlton had played well in beating a strong Mansfield Town side away from home in the semi-final of the Notts Senior Cup.  Both sides knew three points were essential in their respective battles to climb the table.

Carlton made one change to the side which had beaten the Stags, with Alex Howes replacing the suspended Nat Watson.  That meant starts for O’Connor and Niall Davie, both of whom will be key players in Carlton’s bid to avoid the drop.

On a soft surface the Millers had the first chance when Howes crossed to Davie but Davie didn’t quite connect with his shot and goalkeeper Josh Mazfari was able to save at the second attempt.

The opening period of the game was a fairly cagey affair with both sides keeping the other at bay, but that all changed on 18 minutes when Carlton opened the scoring.   A long throw from Lawrence Gorman was flicked on by Dean Freeman to O’Connor in the penalty area.  He volleyed spectacularly into the roof of the net in front of the ecstatic travelling supporters, who had attended Tadcaster in very good numbers.

Minutes later a quick Kyle Tomlin half volley drew a decent save from Mazfari, before the Brewers had their first chance when Jack Johnson hit an effort over the bar.

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On 35 minutes Tadcaster had a glorious chance to equalise when a move down the right saw the ball ricochet into the path of Theo Hudson clean through on goal but he could only hit a tame effort straight at Mikey Emery.

Tommy Brookbanks
PICTURED: Carlton Town manager Tommy Brookbanks (PHOTO: Twitter)

Another Freeman flick from a Gorman throw saw Davie volley at goal, only to be denied by Mazfari, as the half drew to a close.

Howes had an effort saved by Mazfari in the opening moments of the second half as Carlton looked to extend their lead.  They had a great chance to do so when they were awarded a penalty on 58 minutes after a Lawrence Gorman shot was handled by Luke Sherry, but Mazfari dived to his right and saved Emery’s spot kick.

The Carlton goalkeeper, who had scored his two previous penalties since taking over as the side’s penalty taker, was now stranded 100 yards from goal and Khyle Sargent picked up a yellow card for blocking Mazfari’s attempts to re-start play quickly.  Emery’s days as Carlton’s designated penalty taker are now probably over as he becomes the latest in a long line of Millers to miss from 12 yards.

Carlton didn’t let the miss affect them and six minutes later O’Connor grabbed his second when he was quickest to react to a loose ball in the penalty area and steer home after the Brewers failed to clear a Gorman throw.

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Holmes and Sargent kept tight control of the midfield with Howes, Tomlin and Davie all covering the required yards to thwart potential attacks and try to get the Millers forward.  Dan Brown once again cut out everything that came his way and Tadcaster could simply find no way through a resolute Carlton outfit.

Substitute Brad Wells started a lovely move towards the end which saw a Niall Hylton cross cleared only as far as Tomlin.  He fed Tyler Blake who in turn slipped the ball to Kyle Dixon but Dixon’s shot was just wide.

Tomlin then fired over the top from a Gorman cross.

Tadcaster did have an opportunity to score in the final minute of added time but Emery made a superb double-save from substitutes Mariusz Bramokski and Rafael Ferreira to ensure that Carlton kept their first clean sheet since the mid-November success against Pontefract Collieries.

On the final whistle the entire squad came across to the 30 or so travelling fans who had made the trip north, and whose numbers included members of the Munster branch of the supporters club, to thank them for their unstinting support during the game.  As always, it was much appreciated.

Carlton Town: M Emery, L Gorman, N Hylton,  D Brown,  D Freeman, J Holmes, K Tomlin, K Sargent, A Howes (T Blake 71), A O’Connor (B Wells 75), N Davie (K Dixon 78). Unused substitutes: R Stainsby, J White

Goals: Aaron O’Connor 18, 64

Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM – Aaron O’Connor

Att: 154

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