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8.1 C

Match Report: Grantham Town 0 – 1 Carlton Town FC

Carlton Town win relegation battle six pointer and are now only in the automatic relegation positions on goal difference.


NPL First Division East

14 March 2023

Nat Watson scored a dramatic last-minute winner as Carlton Town beat fellow relegation strugglers Grantham Town 1-0 at the Meres.

Both sides struggled to create chances in a poor encounter on a difficult playing surface, but Carlton waited to the death to produce their finest passing move of the night started by Watson himself and ending with Watson heading home a Lewis Durow cross beyond Dan Haystead to secure a vital three points for the Millers.

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The win means Carlton are level on points with the Gingerbreads and only in the automatic relegation positions on goal difference.  There is all to play for in the coming weeks.

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

Mark Harvey and Tommy Brookbanks made two changes to the side which had picked up an excellent win at Hebburn Town last time out.  Khyle Sargent came in for Lawrence Gorman and new signing Charlie Marzano replaced the Hebburn man of the match Alex Howes.  Both changes were described by the managers after the game as tactical given the state of the pitch and Grantham’s anticipated style of play.

Carlton started off reasonably well and Niall Davie drew a decent save from Haystead after a neat run by Watson.  But the game soon descended into a long-ball war of attrition with neither side showing any real desire to get the ball down and play it to feet, perhaps because of the pressure of the occasion or more likely because of the playing surface.

Elliott Durell had a chance for the home side on the half hour but he fired wide and shortly afterwards Matt Toole cut into the area but fired high over the bar from a good position.

Kyle Tomlin forced a fine save from Haystead early in the second half with a header from a Davie corner but chances were few and far between.  Grantham launched it forward at every opportunity but Dan Brown and Dean Freeman were excellent at the back, winning virtually every header and mopping up the danger whenever there was a loose ball.

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The Gingerbreads did have a chance through Ashton Hall midway through the half but he lifted his effort over the top.

As the game progressed Carlton did try to create opportunities with some passing football and Davie shot just wide after a good run while Watson put a free kick just wide of the post.  But much of the game saw both sides unable to get the ball under control or unwilling to risk losing possession in their own half with the result that the ball spent most of the game in the air.

Brown was called upon to make a superb tackle with 20 minutes remaining and immediately sent Carlton forward but with numbers over the Millers lost possession of the ball.

It was then Freeman’s turn to make an excellent block as Grantham looked to get a late winner of their own.

The home side did have a chance to win it with three minutes remaining when substitute Lee Shaw beat Mikey Emery to a long ball but the angle was too tight for him and he fired wide.

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Davie then stepped it up for Carlton and ran at the Grantham defence before seeing his effort blocked and the same fate befell the follow-up from Oliver Wilson.

With the game in the 90th minute Watson decided it was finally time to get his first goal of the season.  He ran at the heart of the home defence, played the ball left to Wilson who found Davie who in turn found the overlapping Durow.  The full back’s cross was a peach and found Watson unmarked at the back post and he headed home to spark pandemonium amongst the healthy contingent of travelling supporters.

Niall Davie should have doubled the lead in added time when he somehow shot wide of an open goal after a superb run and cross by Watson but it didn’t matter as the referee brought proceedings to an end immediately afterwards.  The players came across to thank the fans for their support and it was appreciated as always.

Carlton Town: M Emery, K Sargent, L Durow,  D Brown,  D Freeman, J Holmes, K Tomlin (O Wilson 68), N Davie, A Troke (L Gorman 82), N Watson, C Marzano (K Dixon 62). Unused substitutes: R Stainsby, A Howes

Goals: N Watson 90

Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM – Dan Brown

Att: 226

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