Played at the Watnall Road home of Hucknall Town - Carlton Town Academy have finished mid-table in the NSL 2nd Division, while Coronation FC from Kirkby were recently crownded champions of M.A.A 1st Division. The teams had scored 194 goal collectively this season ( 111 to Coronation and 83 to Carlton), so this never looked like being a 0-0 draw!
Arrived at the ground in the middle of a tropical downpour, and the first person I spoke to was good friend and ex-Hucknall Town boss Danny Bryant. He was at Watnall Road to hand over his mobile phone and keys to the Town Chairman Dave Gamble. The next person I met up with was Kev... he had been enjoying a late dinner, so arrived a few seconds after the kick off.
Carlton went ahead in the 7th minute - no. 11 TOM HUBBARD beating Coro keeper Luke Maloney to the ball and firing home. 90 seconds later ROSS MARRIOTT added the Millers' second, cutting in from the right before lashing the ball across Maloney and into the net. This was real end to end stuff - Carlton hanging on to their lead and Coronation pressing hard to get back into the game.
The young Carlton lads held out until the 30th minute when Alex Wright tried a speculative drive from 15 yards that was going well wide until JOE PARKER stuck a leg out and diverted the ball past Hadlee Dunn in the Town goal. 10 minutes later it was all square - this time Parker the provider, keeping the ball live at the far post before palying a neat reverse pass to JAMES WHITMORE who calmly drilled home from 12 yards. H-T 2-2 Breathless first half - action packed and leaving us wanting more. Had a chat with Fredkirkbytown - will meet him again on Saturday as we visit the Summit Centre to see Kirby Town entertain Forest Town.
Coronation started the second half as they finished the first, pressing forward straight from the restart. They had to thank their opposition though for handing them the lead on 56. A ball through the middle was chased down by Whitmore - and when Carlton centre-half Josh Stones went to pass the ball back to Dunn, he found his keeper was only a couple of yards away from him!! Dunn had charged out of his area to clear and the defenders pass flew past him leaving Whitmore with an open goal - he duly hit the post - but fortunately JOE PARKER had followed his run and had a simple tap in.
ROSS MARRIOTT produced a spectacular 20 yard volley on 74 that looped over Maloney to level the scores, but they weren't level for too long. Alex Wright "won" a penalty on 77 that JOE PARKER put away superbly to complete his hat-trick.
Agian, Coronation failed to hold on - and Carlton sub JOSE ALFONSO hit another belting volley past Maloney to make it 4-4. With a couple of minutes to play, Carlton went for the winner, and after a sustained period of pressure it was fitting that their skipper JOSH HENRY grabbed what proved to be the decider - crashing the ball through a crowded area after the Coro defence failed to clear a corner. F-T 5-4
What a gem of a game -- well done to both sets of players -- 90 minutes of football at Watnall Road that we enjoyed from start to finish.
Carlton starting eleven :
Dunn, Henry, Crisp, Wilkinson, Stones, Earnshaw, Marriott, Randall, Longdon, Bartlett, Hubbard
Coronation starting eleven :
Maloney, Hogg, Golding L, Marsh, Taylor, Bottomore, Golding S, Wright, Whitmore, Parker, Golding J.
Admission £2 ( inc leaflet)
Attendance H/C well over 100
Saturday - Kirkby Town v Forest Town