Mamoke Akaunu’s early goal plus a string of fine saves from Jack Steggles saw Carlton Town pick up a point in a 1-1 draw at Glossop North End.
Akaunu, making a rare start replacing the injured Aaron Opoku, bagged his first goal of the season just six minutes into the game.
But after an opening half hour or so in which the Millers were on top and might have scored more, the Hillmen took over and by the second half they laid siege to the Carlton goal. Porya Ahmadi did equalise on the hour mark but a combination of stout defending and some fine goalkeeping ensured that Carlton kept their unbeaten away record intact and remained top of the league table.
Tommy Brookbanks and Mark Harvey made two changes to the side which had lost to Matlock Town last time out. In addition to the Akaunu / Opoku change, there was the now customary swap at right back with Oliver Robinson replacing Dan Brown.
In pretty murky conditions in the High Peak it was the visitors who started much the better. Akaunu opened the scoring on six minutes, picking up a loose ball in midfield, outpacing Reward Mwakona and firing low past Dale Latham in the North End goal.
There was a good contingent of travelling fans at the ground, a number of whom had made the trip up by train, and they were almost rewarded with a second goal two minutes later. A clearance from a corner was sliced to Danny Elliott. He slipped the ball to Oliver Clark who cut into the left hand side of the penalty area and fired low and hard, only to see his shot strike the post with Latham beaten.
Glossop responded and Jordyn Fitton crossed from the left to Jack Tuohy, whose shot drew a fine diving save from Steggles.
Tyler Blake then caused the Glossop defence to concede possession and Elliott fired at goal but Latham did well to keep the strike out.
Toby Moore, having another fine game alongside Martin Ball, did very well to head a cross from the right away from the danger area.
Carlton should have extended their lead on 34 minutes. Clark won the ball from Bakari Coulibaly on the right wing. He crossed for Blake who shot just four yards from goal and looked certain to score, only for Latham to pull off an outstanding save.
Forward went Glossop and Steggles had to be alert to hold onto a Tuohy cross from the right to avert danger.
North End had started the game fairly low in the table but the consensus in the match programme was that they were in a false position. That much became crystal clear in the second half which the home side dominated. Carlton were unable to keep any real possession in midfield and spent the majority of the half defending as if their lives depended on it.
Ahmadi had the first effort, dragging a shot wide of goal before Steggles made a quite wonderful save, somehow blocking a Tuohy strike at close range that looked a certain goal.
Touhy and Scott Kay were controlling the midfield and creating opportunities for their teammates. The next to benefit was Prince Ekpolo who cut in from the left but pulled his shot wide.
Tuohy then lofted a delightful chip over the Carlton defence to Ahmadi who volleyed high over the bar.
In a rare Carlton attack Elliott went down in the area under challenge from Coulibaly. The referee was not interested in Carlton shouts for a penalty and the home side went on the attack themselves.
They advanced down the right and when the ball was crossed to the near post Ahmadi fired past Steggles and into the roof of the net. Quite astonishingly, that was the first goal conceded by Carlton away from home in the league this season.
The goal had been coming and there was still half an hour remaining. The Millers responded with a double substitution bringing on the attack-minded Tyler Johal and Luke Smithson but the chances still fell to Glossop.
Tuohy won the ball in midfield and put Ahmadi clean through on goal but Steggles made a superb save. Glossop looked set to score from the rebound only for Ball to make a wonderful tackle to clear the danger.
As the game approached the final 15 minutes some of the impetus went out of the Glossop attacks. Perhaps they were wary of conceding the point their efforts had gained them, or perhaps they were drained by their toil in unpleasant conditions.
Whatever the reason, Carlton’s resistance kept the home side to just one more chance, an Ahmadi strike that flew wide.
Carlton on the other hand always looked like they might create one more chance and indeed they did, in the fifth minute of added time. Johal crossed, the ball was only half cleared and Elliott saw a goal bound shot cleared just ahead of the goal line.
As it was, the game finished in a 1-1 draw. The Millers players gave generous applause to the vocal travelling support as the point earned ensured they remained top of the First Division South east.
Carlton Town: Steggles, Robinson, Fletcher, Ball, Moore, Maddison (Smithson 62), Elliott, Clark (Johal 62), Akaunu (Thomas 72), Blake, Davie. Unused substitutes: Baku, Opoku
Goals: Akaunu 6; Porya Ahmadi 60
Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM: Jack Steggles