IT was with supreme irony that the first match for Hucknall Town under new boss Des Lyttle would be against the former club of ex-boss Tommy Brookbanks.
And even more ironic that the two players who did most to inspire Carlton Town to a 3-1 victory were Reuben Wiggins-Thomas and Terry Hawkridge, who were once on the books at Watnall Road.
Man-of-the-match Wiggins-Thomas, who scored one of the goals, and Hawkridge caused problems all afternoon as The Millers gained revenge for a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Hucknall earlier in the season and halted a run of fine results that had catapulted The Yellows into the play-off places in Division One South of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.
However Lyttle, who named himself as an unused substitute, will be more concerned about the future than players from the past. And he insisted he was not too downhearted by the defeat.
“I thought we started well enough but it had been a tough week,” he said. “The lads had hardly trained and had only met me once. I think we’ll write that one off and go again from this week.”
Lyttle named a largely unchanged team, missing only injured midfielder Jared Holmes, who was replaced by Brookbanks’s last signing before he left, holding midfielder Paul Gamble, recruited from Shepshed Dynamo.
Carlton took control with two goals in the last ten minutes of the first half from Ian Brown. First, Hawkridge sidestepped two defenders to cross for Brown to slot home. And then Brown finished a move created by another ex-Yellow, Theo Smith.
Hucknall gave themselves hope 11 minutes into the second half when home defender Ryan Goward kicked out at striker Grant Ryan, who converted the resultant penalty.
But it failed to lift them, and Carlton sealed the points on 67 when Wiggins-Thomas weaved his way into the box and pounced on his own attempted cross after it had rebounded off a defender.