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Match Report: Carlton Town 1 – 3 Dunston

The sides may yet meet again before the season concludes.


NPL First Division East – 23 April 2024

Carlton Town secured their place in the step 4 playoffs for only the third time in their history despite a 3-1 home defeat against fellow promotion contenders Dunston.

The win was Dunston’s first against Carlton at the fourth time of asking and there could be no complaints about the result of an enthralling game of football.  But the home side’s disappointment at the defeat was more than tempered by news of Belper’s defeat at Pontefract which meant that the Derbyshire side could no longer catch the fifth-placed Millers.

The main consequence of Dunston’s win from a Carlton perspective was that the Millers will have to do it the hard way in the end of season lottery with an away semi-final at either Hebburn or Stockton and, if they were to win that, an away final at either Dunston or Pontefract.  But given that just 12 months ago the Millers beat Dunston on the last day of the season to avoid relegation from step 4, their progress since then has been nothing short of remarkable.

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Tommy Brookbanks and Mark Harvey made two changes to the side which had beaten Consett last time out.  In came David Adegbola and Greg Tempest in place of Mamadou Sylla-Diallo and Jevin Seaton.  There was a surprise return on the bench for Liam Bateman, six months since his last appearance.

Dunston knew only a win was guaranteed to keep them in third place in the table, with home advantage in the playoff semi-final, and backed by an impressive number of midweek travelling fans they began the sharper.  They opened the scoring on 11 minutes when a fierce shot from Dale Pearson managed to get through the hands of Felix Annan.

Pearson had another go shortly afterwards but was denied by an excellent stop from the Millers goalkeeper.

Carlton responded and a break down the left saw Lewis Durow play the ball into Alex Hardwick.  He knocked the ball back to Niall Davie whose first shot was blocked and the follow up saved by Aaron Steavens.

Dunston pushed forward again and Jack Maskell saw an angled drive saved by Annan before Hardwick headed just over the bar from a Tempest corner at the other end.

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Dunston doubled their lead on 34 minutes when Jude Swailes chested a free kick into the path of David Robinson and he had time to fire into the corner of the net.

Carlton responded immediately and pulled a goal back within two minutes.  A long ball to the edge of the box by Alex Howes saw Khyle Sargent get there ahead of Steavens.  With the goalkeeper stranded Sargent cheekily lifted the ball over a covering defender and converted from close range.

In the early stages of the second half the Millers put the Dunston goal under some pressure, with Hardwick seeing what looked to be a certain goal blocked on the line by Howes.

The strong-looking Dunston defence survived a series of corners and at the other end Dan Brown made a superb tackle to deny Maskell a shot on goal.

It was end to end stuff from two very good sides, with Sargent impressing in a more advanced role and the Millers defence keeping the visitors at bay.

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Niall Hylton saw a long-range effort deflected over the bar and shortly afterwards the visitors sealed the win when Swailes headed home unmarked.

Carlton kept pushing forward and goalkeeper Steavens made two outstanding saves in the closing minutes of the game.  The fist of those was from a shot by substitute Musa Jawarra after a lovely pull back by Howes and the second was even better as the keeper flew to his left to keep out a Durow screamer.

Hylton saw an effort cleared off the line in added time but Dunston held out to avenge their home defeat by the Millers last month.  Nonetheless both sides received merited applause at the end after an excellent game.  They may yet meet again before the season concludes.

Carlton Town: F Annan, D Adegbola, L Durow, D Brown, D Freeman (L Bateman 71), G Tempest (M Jawarra 78), N Davie (M Jebbison 69), A Howes, A Hardwick, K Sargent, N Hylton.  Unused subs: P Dearle, L Gorman

Goals: K Sargent 36; Dale Pearson 11, David Robinson 34, Jude Swailes 80

Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM: Khyle Sargent 

Att: 170

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