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MATCH REPORT: Long Eaton Utd 1 – 1 Carlton Town

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NPL First Division East

January 2, 2023

A goal from the penalty spot by goalkeeper Mikey Emery in the eighth minute of stoppage time saw Carlton Town earn a 1-1 draw at Long Eaton Utd in a dramatic game at Grange Park.

The goal sparked wild scenes of jubilation from the 60 or so Millers fans packed behind the goal and was no more than Carlton deserved – but a last gasp goal from a goalkeeper was in keeping with events on a chaotic afternoon in Derbyshire.

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Both sides finished with 10 men after an early bout of fisticuffs between Jamie McGuire and Nat Watson and the referee dished out another 10 yellow cards, including at least one that ought to have been a red when ex-Miller Riece Betram took out Niall Davie with a brutal challenge that left the Carlton wide-man with a double fracture to his left leg.

Carlton also hit the woodwork and had a goal disallowed while Long Eaton passed up a number of opportunities to seal the game in the second half before Emery’s dramatic late intervention.  No one in the impressive crowd of 469 could complain about lack of entertainment, even if the quality of the play and particularly the officiating at times fell below standard.

Mark Harvey and Tommy Brookbanks made two changes to the team which had been beaten by Worksop last time out.  Dean Freeman, recalled from a loan spell at Sherwood Colliery, and Kyle Tomlin replaced Kyle Dixon and Alex Howes.

Long Eaton began with ex-Carlton players Bertram, Ben Hutchinson and Jamie Walker with two further former Millers on the bench in Danny Gordon (the ex-Ilkeston player of that name) and Kieran Walker.

Carlton started well and Tomlin had an early effort which drew a decent save from Loui Turner in the home goal before the game’s first controversy on 10 minutes.  A challenge between Watson and McGuire saw the two of them tangle on the floor.  Hutchinson then joined in, running in and shoving Watson before the usual handbags resulted with multiple players from each team involved.

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The referee consulted the linesman before showing Watson a red card.  He then consulted the linesman again before McGuire, who had provoked Aaron Opoku into a red card in the reverse fixture, also saw red himself.  Given the early stage of the game, a pair of yellow cards and a stern warning about future conduct may have resulted in a better afternoon for the officials.  As it was, the two were sent off, Hutchinson received a yellow card for his involvement and the game recommenced.  The die was cast for the spate of bookings that were to follow.

Tom Cursons had Long Eaton’s first effort but his run and shot saw Emery save routinely.

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

Carlton should have opened the scoring on 19 minutes.  The influential Tomlin dashed down the right hand side before crossing to Brad Wells.  The striker took an extra touch with the result that his first shot was blocked.  A second effort suffered the same fate and when the ball ended up back with Tomlin, he fed Wells again whose third effort went just wide of the post.

Minutes later Carlton passed up another great opportunity to score.  A superb ball from Niall Hylton sent Davie away on the left.  He outpaced Tyreece Robinson and had Khyle Sargent in the penalty area completely unmarked.  However Davie too hesitated and when his cross was delivered it took a deflection off the retreating Robinson which sent the ball towards the goal, only for Turner to claw it away from under the crossbar and out for a corner.

Long Eaton counter-attacked quickly from the corner and Cursons found himself clean through, only to shoot straight at Emery.  Shortly afterwards Walker did the same from a similar position.

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Up to this stage the game had been keenly fought but, the McGuire/Watson nonsense aside, fought fairly within the spirit of the game.  It was clear that Carlton were winning the midfield battle and Davie was having an influential effect on the game.

That changed on 36 minutes when Bertram went in late and high on Davie midway in the Long Eaton half as the Carlton man launched another attack.  It was a dreadful challenge and plainly deserved a red card, all the more so given the number of petty yellow cards subsequently handed out in the game.  As it was the former Carlton Town supporters player of the year only received a yellow card and Davie, after lengthy treatment on the pitch, was stretchered off, taken to hospital and found to have broken his left tibia and fibula.

The injury seemed to knock the stuffing out of Carlton and the delay meant that there were eight minutes of first half added time.  Long Eaton pushed forward and send over a series of dangerous crosses.  One of those, from Cursons, was headed clear but with the half almost concluded, the home side took the lead.  A long throw into the area wasn’t cleared and Walker fired home through a crowd of players into the corner of the net.

The home side had been largely ineffective in the first half, in part due to fine defensive work from Dan Brown and Freeman negating the threat down the middle, but they started the second half well and when Hutchinson picked up a poor Emery clearance and fed Cursons, the goalkeeper made up for his error with an excellent save.

Minutes later Carlton were desperately close to equalising when Brad Wells beat Turner with a 20-yard free kick, only to see the ball crash against the post.

Goals: Emery 90+8; Jamie Walker 45+8

Tomlin then slipped the ball to Kyle Dixon who cross was headed goalwards by Hylton only to be saved by Turner.

Long Eaton then won possession deep in their own half and countered at great speed.  A lovely crossfield pass from substitute Gordon found Cursons clean through on the left but in a one-on-one with Emery it was the Carlton goalkeeper who came out on top, making a fine save down to his right.

Carlton continued to press forward and a Lewis Durow throw was won by Lawrence Gorman who did well to divert the ball into the middle of the six yard box where it was begging to be forced home but no-one was on hand to apply the finishing touch.

Long Eaton then attacked from a Carlton corner and only more good work from Brown averted the danger.

The Millers made their final change with 14 minutes remaining when Alex Howes replaced Sargent and soon afterwards they had the ball in the net when Hylton chased a through ball and knocked it into the net after Turner dropped it, only for the referee to award a free kick in the goalkeeper’s favour.

As the 90 minutes approached Howes played a short corner to Dixon who in turn fed Durow who fired high over the bar.

Carlton continued to press as the game entered another eight minute period of added time, but for all their pressure they had made Turner do comparatively little in the home goal.  With the match in the final minute of added time Hylton twice won the ball on the left when he really should have been dispossessed by the home side.  Instead, having advanced to the edge of the box, he played a deep cross to the back post.  Howes came in and controlled the ball and was tripped by Sam Parker as he looked to cross the ball.  The referee took a couple of seconds to see how the attack developed before awarding the penalty to the delight of the travelling fans behind the goal.

Their delight was tempered by knowledge of Carlton’s poor record from the spot in the post-Tom Maddison era.  It was noticeable in the FA Trophy penalty shoot out defeat at Lincoln Utd earlier this season that the best penalty was taken by goalkeeper Emery and it was he who trotted forward to take this one.  He made no mistake, sending Turner the wrong way and sparking ecstatic scenes in the visiting support.

There was still time for another Carlton free kick into the area but Turner cleared well and a breathless match finished all square.

Carlton Town: M Emery, L Gorman, N Hylton, D Freeman, D Brown, J Holmes (L Durow 58), N Davie (K Dixon 42), K Sargent (A Howes 73), B Wells, N Watson, K Tomlin. Unused substitutes: R Stainsby, A O’Connor

Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM – Niall Hylton

Att: 469

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