NPL First Division East – 3 February 2024
Carlton Town suffered a second defeat in four days as they were beaten 4-0 at Belper Town.
The Millers had responded to every previous league defeat by winning the next game but after losing at home to Liversedge in midweek they were never in this game as the Nailers bossed it from start to finish. The only bright spot was the unstinting support from the large number of travelling supporters who made the short trip to Derbyshire and backed the side from start to finish.
Tommy Brookbanks and Mark Harvey made three changes to the side from the Liversedge game with Dean Freeman replacing Peter Dearle, Niall Davie replacing the injured Alex Howes and Shea Thompson-Harris selected in place of the suspended Micah Jebbison. Thompson-Harris started at left back with Niall Hylton pushed further forward. Davie was making his 250th appearance for Carlton – a tremendous achievement for the club captain. Also reaching a milestone was Dan Brown who was making his 150th appearance for the club – again, a fantastic achievement.
Carlton came into the game just two points behind the second-placed Nailers but Belper, who have made some impressive ground improvements since the Millers’ last game here back in the autumn of 2021, got off to the perfect start as they took the lead on just seven minutes. A ball from the left from Mason Warren found Curtis Burrows at the far post and he fired home unchallenged.
Carlton had to wait until almost the half hour for their only effort of the first half when Daniel Moore saved easily from Davie. Belper’s defence, superbly marshalled by Danny South and Sidik Atcha, gave Carlton virtually no sight of goal but, in the first half at least, although the home side enjoyed the majority of possession, the Carlton rearguard too kept the home side at bay, with Dan Brown and Freeman alongside Ryan Ebanks and Thompson-Harris dealing with the threat of Karl Demidh and Kevin Bastos.
Hylton had Carlton’s best opportunity of the game four minutes after the restart when he raced away down the left hand side but he fired wide of target.
Belper took advantage and extended their lead on 55 minutes. Nykah Liburd-Hines came out to claim a long free kick lumped into the area. The keeper however dropped the ball and Demidh squared for South to fire home.
On 66 minutes the game was over as a contest when Bastos fired into the corner of the net from 25 yards via the inside of the post. Three minutes later the same player made it 4-0, heading home James Cadman’s cross after Liburd-Hines had made a fine save initially.
It was very much damage limitation thereafter and the home side did see a further goal disallowed for offside. The Millers kept working, with Greg Tempest constantly looking to create something, but Belper were much the better side on the day and didn’t allow Carlton another shot on goal. On the final whistle the whole squad came across to thank the 40 or so away fans for their support.
Carlton Town: N Liburd-Hines, R Ebanks (L Gorman 67), S Thompson-Harris, D Brown, D Freeman, G Tempest, D Adegbola (M Ford 72), K Sargent, A Hardwick, N Davie, N Hylton (M Jawarra 60). Unused Subs: F Annan, P Dearle
Goals: Curtis Burrows 7, Danny South 55, Kevin Bastos 66, 69
Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM: Greg Tempest