NPL First Division East – November 18
Niall Davie scored a hat-trick as Carlton Town beat Brighouse Town 3-0 at Stoke Lane.
All of Davie’s goals came in the second half as the Millers responded superbly to the heavy defeat at Ashington last time out. There was some concern at the end of the game when the impressive Shea Thompson-Harris had to leave the field after a lengthy spell of treatment following an accidental collision but the news coming out of the club as regards his health was positive in the hours after the game.
Tommy Brookbanks and Mark Harvey made just one change to the side which had lost at Ashington, with Thompson-Harris coming in for the suspended Ale Hardwick. That meant that David Adegbola was pushed forward and Lamin Manneh moved into the centre-forward position.
Brighouse arrived at Carlton having won all four previous meetings between the sides and, in front of ex-Miller Matt Millns who was the club’s guest for the day alongside his uncle, international cricket umpire David Millns, it was the visitors who began the sharper.
On just six minutes Cameron Bedford hit the bar after a slick move down the right. Carlton responded and Niall Hylton, having arguably his best game in a Carlton shirt, combined with Lewis Druro before hitting a cross shot that flew just beyond Manneh.
Manneh harried Matt Nebard into a poor clearance which was kept in play by Adegbola. He combined with Alex Howes before getting in a shot that was blocked. Brighouse countered at speed and after Felix Annan had miskicked an attempted clearance Jack Normanton fired wide of an open goal from the edge of the box.
As the half progressed Carlton started to pin Brighouse back in their own half, chiefly through the efforts of Hylton and Adegbola on the flanks, ably supported by Durow and Thompson-Harris. Dean Freeman headed a Davie free kick over the bar after Adegbola was fouled before Adegbola won the ball in midfield and supplied the ball to Manneh, who burst forward, beat Brandon Webster before crossing dangerously towards Hylton in front of goal, only for the visitors to clear the ball.
Hylton was giving Darius Smith a torrid time at right back and after another fabulous run his cross was cleared. Brighouse were adept at counter attacking with pace and accuracy and they did so again, only to be denied by a superb tackle from Thompson-Harris inside the Carlton penalty area.
A short corner routine led to Durow heading over the bar before Davie was unable to connect with an attempted volley after a deep cross from Alex Howes. Still Carlton came forward and Manneh and Hylton combined for Durow to cross before Jamie Hassall saved from Manneh.
Normanton did have one decent late effort for Brighouse but Annan made an excellent save as the half ended goalless.
On a heavy pitch it was the type of game where the first goal really mattered and Brighouse had two early chances in the second half when a cross flew across the six yard box unclaimed, while Ashley Butterworth fired wide of target.
It was the Millers who scored that crucial first goal on 53 minutes . Michael Ford, on at half time from Ahmed Tahar, headed goalwards from a Davie corner. Smith headed off the line but Carlton regained possession and Davie fired at goal from the edge of the box, beating Hassall at his near post.
Five minutes later Carlton were awarded a penalty when Adegbola was brought down by Webster after Hassall had saved a Manneh shot and Howes had played the ball back into the area. There was a lengthy delay while both Adegbola and Webster were treated for injuries but when play resumed, Davie rifled the spot-kick into the roof of the net.
Brighouse certainly didn’t give up and kept pushing forward looking for a way back into the game but Peter Dearle and Freeman were keeping the strikers in check and, too often from their point of view, the final pass went astray. Normanton tried to lob Annan on 71 minutes but Annan was able to deal with the attempt before, at the other end, Freeman headed over from a Davie corner.
Carlton fans saw the welcome return of Greg Tempest from the bench and he created a number of late opportunities for the Millers.
Hylton went desperately close to scoring the goal his performance deserved with four minutes remaining when his 25-yard effort crashed against the crossbar. But three minutes later Carlton did get a third when Davie headed home from close range after Dearle had headed a Tempest corner back into the danger area.
Six minutes of added time were signalled and in the middle of that period Thompson-Harris fell to the floor after a collision. The referee stopped the game immediately and both clubs’ physios were on the pitch immediately to offer treatment. There was a lengthy delay before Thompson-Harris was able to leave the pitch and Carlton played out the final minutes of the game with 10 men, before receiving merited applause from the supporters at full time.
Carlton Town: F Annan, S Thompson-Harris, L Durow, D Freeman, P Dearle, A Tahar (M Ford 46), D Adegbola, N Davie, L Manneh (M Jawarra 80), A Howes (G Tempest 69), N Hylton. Unused subs: L Sisawo-Danso, L Bateman
Goals: N Davie 53, 61 (pen), 89
Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM: Niall Davie