Belper Town swept aside by Carlton Town
A second half flourish without reply from Carlton Town consigned the Nailers to their 15th defeat of the season, writes Nathaniel Kay.
PHOTO: Jack Hallahan's free kick flies into the net to level the scores (Pic: Tim Harrison)
In the previous encounter this season, the Nailers came out victors, with goals from Alex Steadman and Eric Graves securing victory. Fortunes weren’t so favourable this time around.
Aaron Webster made one change from last week’s admirable draw against Bedworth United as Joe Searson-Smithard made his Belper debut on loan from Notts County, replacing the injured Jack Livesey.
There was little to note in the game until Mamoke Akaunu opened the scoring 13 minutes in, tapping in virtually on the goal line after Jordan Wilson’s cross evaded everyone in a Belper strip.
This sparked the game and Belper into life, reacting in the best possible fashion. Jack Hallahan curled a delightful free kick over the wall and past the 'keeper to equalise almost immediately.
The half then belonged to Belper and Hallahan should have doubled his and the Nailers tally after blazing over Alex Steadman’s cut back from 8 yards out.
With the Nailers compacting the midfield, this stifled Carlton's rhythm and limited any meaningful attacks from the home side.
Jake Carlisle slammed a header straight against the post to end a half that could have been settled for Webster’s men.
All the good quickly turned sour within the first five minutes of the restart.
Out of seemingly nothing, Ben Hutchinson stroke home a powerful effort into the net to regain the Millers advantage, the goal made even more painful as the scorer was a former Belper player.
The game was all but over from that moment, Belper lacking any cohesion or signs of drawing level during the half and the frustration from manager, through to the players and fans was evident.
Hutchinson involved himself again, hooking his pass over the Belper backline to Wilson running through, only for Searson-Smithard to smother his attempt.
The only stain on Carlton Town's afternoon was the dismissal of Darol Lucas, seeing a second yellow by referee Matthew Law for a late challenge.
Wilson wasn’t to be denied again however, drifting in on his left and placing his shot past the feet of the 'keeper to kill the game entirely with three minutes still to play.
Akaunu bagged his brace and Carlton's fourth, running straight through the heart of the pitch after latching on from a Belper corner. With only the 'keeper in his way, he slotted calmly to end a miserable day for the away side.
Inconsistency has been the downfall of Webster’s tenure and next weeks fixture against in form Cleethorpes Town will be another stiff test.
Belper Town: Searson-Smithard, Hunt, Goodard, Allen (Birks 67), Carlisle, Harrison, Steele (Jebbison 85), Lloyd, Steadman, Hallahan, Garnett (Browne 67). Unused subs: Thornberry, Cole.
Carlton Town: Steggles, Lucas, Fletcher, Davie, Bertram, Walker, Mitchell, Eliott, Wilson, Hutchinson (Bailey 90), Akaunu. Unused subs: Hooton, Danquah.
Referee: Matthew Law