Millers indiscipline plays into Belper's hands
By David Laughlin
Belper Town inflicted Carlton’s first home league defeat of the season by winning an eventful contest at the Bill Stokeld Stadium.
The Nailers made two changes from the side that lost to Sheffield last Saturday with Aaron Pride and Craig Laight (pictured) coming in to replace the injured Matt Plant and Mark Barnard who had taken a knocks in the same game.
The Nailers made a sprightly start to the game and put the home side under pressure for the first five minutes or so, but second in the table Carlton soon began to show their credentials and former Nailer, Nick Hall sent Ali Barcherini sprawling to his right to save a long range effort in the 6th minute.
Belper nearly prized open the Millers’ defence on 12 minutes but Robert Darkin made an important tackle to deny Daryll Thomas a clear shot on goal after a Jon Froggatt pass looked set to send him clear.
Once Carlton had got into their stride it looked ominous for the Nailers who were indebted to former Millers’ ‘keeper Ali Barcherini for pushing away a well struck free kick from Hall, and he showed his prowess again a few moments later when he kept out an effort from Curtis Shaw.
Joe Naylor thought he was going to score in the 19th minute after turning sharply inside the penalty area, and this time it was Lee Thompson who kept the scores level with a timely clearance off the line.
The game went quiet and scrappy for a while which was to Belper’s benefit as they had time to compose themselves after a rocky period, then out of the blue they took the lead with a cracking volley from Jon Froggatt on 32 minutes that looped over Neil West and under the cross bar.
Although not apparent at the time, this was the start of Carlton’s slide in form and discipline and although they came back quite strongly in the latter stages of the half, the real turning point came when their skipper Ashley Kitchen was sent off after clattering Lee Thompson with a high tackle.
The referee’s assistant was heavily involved in the decision making process and while Belper weren’t going to argue with it, Carlton took a dim view and let it get to them.
The Nailers struck almost immediately after the break and quashed Carlton’s hopes of a ten-man comeback.
It was another former Miller who did the damage in the 46th minute with Daryll Thomas latching on to a slide rule pass from Jon Froggatt and drilling the ball beyond West, just inside the far corner.
Joe Naylor condemned his side to certain defeat barely a minute after the restart by barging into the totally innocent Russell Peel after the game had been halted for a previous infringement, and although he protested vehemently he could hardly complain about the red card decision.
Despite their nine man status, Carlton continued to have far more possession than they should have done, and when 45 year old Neil Grayson entered the fray after 52 minutes, the Nailers frequently looked troubled at the back.
Belper really needed a third goal to completely kill off the home side, but opportunities were rare with Ruben Wiggins-Thomas and Jon Froggatt providing the only goal bound opportunities in a 30 minute spell.
The job was completed though with four minutes left and it was Ruben Wiggins-Thomas who provided the spark of initiative required to burst through between two defenders, and expertly side-step Neil West and tuck the ball home from close in.
Substitute Chris Wood should have made it four in added on time but lazily clipped the ball over the top from ten yards out, however the Nailers eventually ran out comfortable winners in a game that had looked tricky on paper at the start.
Carlton Town: West, Darkin, Fletcher, Shaw, Kitchen, Hall, Thornton, Naylor, Bonnick (Grayson 52), McDonald, Gardner (Hatfield 71). Subs. not used: Hawkridge, Troughton, Langford.
Belper Town: Barcherini, Pride, Thompson, Darker (Simmons 88), Laight, Adams, Wiggins-Thomas, Rushbury, Froggatt, Thomas (Wood 62), Peel. Subs. not used: Fedorenko, Barnard, Jenkins.
Referee: Phillip Booker (Sheffield)
Man of the Match: Craig Laight