A brace from Mamoke Akaunu helped 10-man Carlton Town to a 4-1 win against Belper Town at Stoke Lane, writes Alan Murphy
Akaunu’s double sandwiched goals from Ben Hutchinson and Jordan Wilson as the Millers overcame the dismissal of Darol Lucas with the score still 2-1 to secure an ultimately comfortable victory.
The final score was perhaps flattering to Carlton but Wayne Scott’s side did look secure once Hutchinson’s strike had regained the lead early in the second half.
Scott himself was absent so Kelvin Dudley and Lee Esam took charge. They named a side showing just the one change from the side which drew at Cleethorpes last time out, with Kaylum Mitchell replacing the injured Louis Danquah.
Lining up for Belper was ex-Miller Jake Carlisle and keeping a watchful eye on Nailers goalkeeper Joe Searson-Smithard was former Carlton keeper Allesandro Barcherini, now a coach at Searson-Smithard’s parent club Notts County.
The Millers began well and opened the scoring on 13 minutes with a well-worked goal. Lucas sprayed the ball across field to Wilson who dropped his shoulder, nipped to the bye-line and whipped the ball across the face of the goal to Akaunu who prodded home at the back post. It was all the more delightful as the same pair had only just failed with the same move in the Cleethorpes game.
Belper responded and drew level six minutes later. Carlton were on the attack when Danny Elliott seemed to be pushed. The referee waved play on and the Nailers advanced quickly before Lucas brought the attack to a shuddering halt with a foul on the edge of the Carlton penalty area, earning himself a yellow card in the process.
Jack Hallahan stepped up and fired past Jack Steggles.
The goal gave life to the visitors and they were generally the better team for the remainder of the half.
Hallahan blazed over from another good break and Dylan Garnett fired inches over the bar after Belper picked up a loose ball in midfield.
The Carlton bench was becoming increasingly agitated and the referee had to warn them about their behaviour. Dudley took no notice and was sent off on 40 minutes for something he said to the referee.
The Nailers went desperately close to taking the lead as half time approached. A corner from the right was met by a firm Garnett header which crashed against the crossbar and was cleared.
Carlton were grateful for the interval and began the second half well, with Hutchinson regaining the lead on 50 minutes. A throw-in saw Niall Davie feed the ex-Basford man and there appeared little on as he held the ball on the far left of the penalty area about 12 yards from the goal line. He just looked up and fired a delicious curling effort around the packed defence and into the corner of the net.
The goal seemed to settle the Millers and deflate the Nailers in equal measure. Although Belper battled hard, they were unable to fashion any clear chances.
At the other end a Wilson shot was deflected away after a lovely pass by Hutchinson.
Belper were offered some hope when Lucas was sent off on 81 minutes for a second yellow card. The sending off seemed to inspire Carlton who wrapped up the win with two goals in the last three minutes.
Akaunu crossed from the right to Wilson, who side-stepped neatly and fired home low with his left foot.
Then, with Belper pushing everyone forward for a late corner, Hutchinson fed the ball to Akaunu who outpaced Joe Hunt before calmly firing home past the exposed Searson-Smithard.