Tyler Blake scored his second hattrick of the season as Carlton Town moved back into the play-off positions with a 4-0 win against Glossop North End.
Blake, who had hit a hattrick in the August win against Frickley, took his tally to 20 for the season with this treble, which was also the fourth consecutive game in which he had found the target. With Aaron Opoku scoring the other goal to add to his own hattrick against Market Drayton last time out, the strike pair have notched eight goals between them in just two matches.
With the shadow of the Corona virus hanging over the continuation of league, it may well be the last game the Millers play for some time. If it is, it was some way to bow out – for now at least.
Managers Tommy Brookbanks and Mark Harvey unsurprisingly named an unchanged side from the Market Drayton success. Heavy overnight rain had made the pitch a little sticky in places, but it was still looking reasonably good considering the weather this winter.
Carlton began well and were ahead on 14 minutes. A Niall Davie free kick was cleared for a corner. Davie himself sent over the flag kick which was headed on by the excellent Oliver Clark for Blake to head home from a couple of yards.
Jevin Seaton, enjoying his best match in his brief Carlton career, then ran through the Glossop midfield before releasing a lovely ball to Tyler Johal. He in turn whipped over a dangerous cross which goalkeeper Dale Latham did well to clear.
Seaton then sent over a corner which fell to Davie on the right. He ran at the Glossop defence, cut into the area and unleashed a shot which was well defended by Jeremy Seosolo to prevent a goal.
The Hillmen’s first real attack came on 24 minutes when the Millers lost the ball in midfield. Glossop sped forward with Rhys Clooney firing inches wide of the post.
As the half wore on the game became increasingly fractious with a number of niggly fouls and stoppages. Glossop claimed a penalty on 39 minutes when Daniel Fletcher won what seemed to be an excellent double tackle to prevent Dylan Fitzgerald shooting at goal but the referee wasn’t interested.
Both sides could have scored in the final minute before the break, with Dan Brown delaying a pass to Opoku which could have sent him free, and then Seaton making a superb tackle to thwart a Glossop counter attack.
The Millers opened the second half as they had the first, on the front foot, with Davie hitting an early effort over the bar.
Carlton went two ahead on 50 minutes. Brown did well to win a tackle just inside the Carlton half and play a lovely ball down the right wing to Clark. Clark drew Lee Wilshaw and then sped past him into the penalty are before firing a cross to the near post where Blake got the final touch ahead of Devon Matthews to slot home.
Four minutes later Blake had his hattrick and once again it was Clark assisting. Opoku, simply too strong for the Glossop defence all afternoon, was brought down by Keenan Quansah. Davie sent the free kick to the back post with Clark heading back across goal for Blake to pounce from a couple of yards.
The Hillmen responded by making a triple substitution and one of those brought on, Moussa Samassa, went down under a challenge from Toby Moore which led to a penalty being awarded. It looked harsh but it didn’t matter in any event as Steggles dived to his right to make an excellent save from Joe Mills’s spot kick.
Moore alongside Martin Ball at the heart of the Carlton defence was excellent all afternoon, dealing with everything Glossop threw forward. Indeed, the penalty was one of their few shots all afternoon and possibly the only one on target.
Carlton for their part wrapped up the win with a fourth goal on 70 minutes. Johal’s quick throw saw Opoku shrug off the attentions of Will Hartshorne before firing hard at goal with sufficient power that although Latham got behind it, he couldn’t prevent it looping over him and into the net.
Matthews made a superb block to stop Opoku grabbing a second after some excellent play from substitutes Danny Elliott and Kamani Wilson and Glossop’s afternoon got even worse five minutes from time when Hartshorne was sent off for a second yellow card after another foul on Opoku.
The win sees Carlton into fifth place in the table with games in hand on most of those around them. The club awaits further information as to when those games will be played.
Carlton Town: Steggles, Brown, Fletcher, Ball, Moore, Seaton (K Wilson 72), Davie (Bako 69), Clark (Elliott 57), Opoku, Blake, Johal. Unused substitutes: Sturgess, Thomas
Goals: Blake 14, 50, 54, Opoku 70
Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM: Tyler Blake