HUCKNALL Town’s hopes of county cup consolation in their season of woe were thwarted by defeat against manager Tommy Brookbanks’s former club on Wednesday night (April 20).
Carlton Town, who play a division below The Yellows in the Evo-Stik League, were the opponents for the first Notts FA Senior Cup semi-final.
And a team that contained five former Yellows — Curtis Shaw Dion Meikle, Daniel Fletcher, Terry Hawkridge and Steve Chaplin — triumphed 3-2 to exact sweet revenge for a 5-4 defeat at the hands of Hucknall in the league cup earlier in the season.
And it was midfielder Shaw who emerged as the Carlton hero, scoring two goals, including the late winner.
On a pitch that suited the home team’s direct style, Brookbanks found his former side more than up for the fight and intent on putting The Yellows through the mill.
Chaplin’s aerial presence was a constant threat, while Hawkridge gave left-back David Boafo a torrid time, winning a 23rd minute penalty that enabled Shaw to give Carlton the lead.
At the other end, goalkeeper Dan Marshall was lucky to escape punishment when he seemed to handle outside the area.
But Hucknall bounced back to not only level on the stroke of half-time but also take the lead ten minutes into the second period.
Both goals were scored by full-back Fabian Smith, who guided home a header from a superbly-flighted free-kick by Anthony Griffith Junior and then produced a glancing header from another cross by the dangerous winger.
As the tie ebbed and flowed, goalkeeper Ross Whalin had to pull off terrific saves to deny Josh Thornton from close range and then Chaplin.
But Whalin was beaten when Chaplin turned on the edge of the area to thump a low shot against a post. And he could do nothing when skipper Ashley Kitchen bundled home Carlton’s equaliser.
The winning goal came five minutes from the end when Hawkridge fed ex-Eastwood Town and Mansfield Town man Shaw, who slotted home.
In the final, to be played at Mansfield Town’s Field Mill ground on Tuesday May 3, Carlton will play the winners of next Tuesday’s second semi between Dunkirk and holders Eastwood.