Eastwood Town entered this Nottinghamshire derby off the back of ten straight defeats and with Carlton Town having gained just one point from the last 21 - it was never going to be a classic.
With both clubs having slashed their respective playing budgets since the start of the season, only 11 players were named on the team sheet that took part in the corresponding fixture between the sides at the end of September from which hosts Carlton emerged victorious.
This game was the first home match of new manager Paul MacFarland’s tenure and the return of former favourite Kelvin Mushambi along with a number of new debutants.
Carlton arrived at Coronation Park with former Badgers Ruben Wiggins-Thomas, Alex Troke and Markel Bailey in their ranks.
It was the Badgers that drew first blood when a free-kick into the box went all the way through to Jack Coulson whose shot was blocked at the expense of a corner.
However the big centre-half wasn’t to be denied and from the resulting corner he rose unchallenged to head home.
Carlton equalised with their first real opening in the 19th minute when Ben Flynn got down the right and his inch perfect centre was headed home by Wiggins-Thomas.
With the defences generally on top and the match being played out in midfield, chances were at a premium.
Sam MacVicar, the scourge of the Eastwood defence back in September, managed to lose his marker but sent his header just wide in the only noteworthy action of the first-half.
The second-half started in a similar vein however it lacked the passion, blood, and thunder usually associated with a local derby.
Carlton thought they had made the breakthrough in the 63rd minute when Wiggins-Thomas’s shot came back off the post to an unmarked MacVicar who popped the ball into the empty net, however the linesman had his flag raised early on.
The Badgers continued to battle hard and looked comfortable in defence but were lacking a forward presence.
However, they did look threatening from set pieces so it was no surprise when Shaun Archbold edged their noses in front again in the 65th minute. His 25 yard free-kick had Jonathon Viscosi in trouble with the ball flying in over his head.
The goal finally sparked the visitors into action and Wiggins-Thomas went close with a shot but it was inevitable that another ex-Eastwood player should come back to haunt the club.
Coulson gave away a needless free-kick some 25 yards out and up stepped Troke to curl his shot wide of Wayne Smith’s despairing dive.
Lee Potts saw a shot well saved by Smith after latching onto Nick Labbate’s poor clearance and MacVicar shot wide late on, but the points would be shared which given Eastwood’s recent run was something for the home faithful to be cheerful about.
Saturday, January 11, 2014:
Eastwood: 1 Wayne Smith 2 Reece Bartram 3 Nick Labbate 4 Shaun Archbold 5 Jack Coulson 6 Anthony Gregory 7 Josh Schofield (Ian Wheat 64) 8 Sam Hawkins 9 Kelvin Mushambi 10 Jermain Hollis 11 Martyn Smith. Subs not used: Tyrone Burton, Courtney Bartley, Jacob Sturgess, Dan Dobbie
Carlton: 1 Jon Viscosi 2 Kameron Campbell (Josh Thornton 63) 3 Billy Bennett 4 Alex Troke (Markel Bailey 87) 5 Grant Brindley 6 Martyn Ball 7 Ben Flynn 8 Jordan Vilums (Joe Brothwell 68) 9 Ruben Wiggins-Thomas 10 Sam MacVicar 11 Lee Potts. Subs not used: Lee Torr, Anton Robinson Att: 157 Ref: Ian Smedley Best Badger: Jack Coulson
Report by Andy Cope