Carlton Town’s Evo-Stik league future hangs by a thread following a hugely damaging 2-1 defeat at home to Spalding Utd.
The Millers went into the game out of the relegation zone on goal difference only, but just a point behind the Tulips with a game in hand. They ended the match in the drop zone, two points from safety and with a frankly embarrassing home record of 11 defeats in 14 matches.
Spalding are not the worst side in the division but, like Carlton, they’re not the best and it’s difficult to see where the points will come from in the tougher tests that await between now and the end of the season.
Spalding started the sharper and enjoyed early possession without creating any clear chances. Carlton then began to get on top but their only opportunity of note came on 20 minutes. A corner was cleared to Bertram. He had time and space to shoot on the edge of the box but elected to cross to the back post and the chance was gone.
Out of nothing, and against the general run of play, the Tulips opened the scoring on 28 minutes. A move down the left seemed covered but when the cross came in James Hugo found himself with time and space in the penalty area to steer the ball into the corner of the net.
That was pretty much it for the first half. After the break Niall Davie had an early chance with a free kick on the edge of the box but his effort went harmlessly wide.
Bradley Wells drew a decent save from Jack Steggles before Kyle Stovell made Duggan work for the first time in the game, the keeper saving the striker’s shot with his leg.
Scott brought on Motshweni and he was immediately in the action, sending over a corner that Oliver Clark headed wide from a good position.
Duggan then made a good save from a Stovell shot after a long throw by Kieran Walker and Oliver Clark’s follow-up was blocked.
Spalding then missed two opportunities to double their lead in quick succession. Wells ran through on goal only to fire high over the bar before Romario Martin fired inches wide with Steggles beaten.
Martin made amends on 81 minutes with the game’s clinching goal. He pulled away on the left hand side and then fired low across Steggles and into the corner of the net.
Carlton’s response was limited and after a poor foul by Archie Moyses, Bertram reacted badly, kicked out at James Cullingworth and was sent off.
This was in the first minute of added time but there was still enough time left for Carlton to pull a goal back. Another long throw from Walker saw Stovell’s shot blocked but when the ball fell to Motshweni on the edge of the box he had the composure to position himself and fired a cracker into the corner of the net. It was a rare moment of quality in a poor game and for Carlton it was too little, too late.
Goals: Motshweni 90; James Hugo 28, Romario Martin 81