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Craig Robert Nelthorpe (born 10 June 1987) is an English football who plays for Barrow, on loan from York City. His favoured positions are either at left back or on the left wing.

Nelthorpe started his career with Doncaster Rovers and he made his first team debut in 2005. He was loaned out on six occasions, playing for Hucknall Town, Kidderminster Harriers, Gateshead, Halifax Town and Darlington. He joined Oxford United in 2009 and after being released by them he joined York City.


Born in Doncastermarker, South Yorkshiremarker, Nelthorpe joined his hometown club Doncaster Rovers as a trainee, making his first team debut as a 56th minute substitute in a 3–3 draw against Luton Town in League One on 7 May 2005. His first appearance of the 2005–06 season came after being introduced as an 80th minute substitute against Cambridge United in the Football League Trophy, which Doncaster lost 3–2. He was loan out to Conference North team Hucknall Town on 23 November and he made his debut in a 4–0 victory over Redditch United, during which he scored two goals. He made five appearances for Hucknall, with his final appearance coming in a 2–0 defeat to Stafford Rangers, before returning to Doncaster in January 2006. He made one more appearance for Doncaster this season, against Tranmere Rovers, which he finished with two appearances.

Nelthorpe signed a new contract with Doncaster in the summer and he joined Conference National team Kidderminster Harriers on loan on 10 October. He made his debut in a 0–0 draw with Oxford United, and he nearly scored for Kidderminster during the first half. He scored his first career goal against Droylsden in the FA Cup, and after Kidderminster decided against extending his loan spell, he returned to Doncaster in November after making six appearances. This was followed by a loan spell at Gateshead, after joining in November, where he made 19 appearances and scored eight goals. Following his return to Doncaster, he had a run of seven appearances, which started after coming on during the 3–2 victory over Crewe Alexandramarker in the Football League Trophy at the Keepmoat Stadiummarker on 13 February 2007. In the final game of the 2006–07 season, Nelthorpe scored his first goal for Doncaster against Northampton Town on 5 May, which finished as a 2–2 draw. He had a trial with Chesterfield in May, with a view to him joining on loan.
After making four appearances for Doncaster during the 2007–08 season, he joined Halifax Town on a month's loan on 10 January 2008. Nelthorpe scored four minutes into his Halifax debut against Northwich Victoria, which finished as a 2–2 draw, and he netted three minutes in his following game, a 2–2 draw with Rushden. He finished the loan spell in March, after making seven appearances, after which he joined League Two team Darlington on loan until the end of the season. He made his debut in a 3–1 defeat to Bradford City and played for them in their play-off semi-final second leg tie against Rochdale, which resulted in a 5–4 defeat in a penalty shootout. He finished the loan spell with eight appearances.

He was handed a new one-year contract at Doncaster in July. He rejoined Gateshead on a three-month loan in August, which he completed in November with 14 appearances and one goal. He was released by Doncaster at his own request in January 2009 and joined Conference team Oxford United the next day on a contract until the end of the 2008–09 season. He made his debut in a 1–0 victory over Altrincham and scored his first goal with a shot into the top-left corner of the goal, which gave Oxford a 1–0 victory against Mansfield Town. Nelthorpe was named on standby for the England C team, who represent England at non-League level, in February 2009, for a friendly against Malta under-21s. He was sent off against Torquay United after clashing with Mustapha Carayol, which resulted in a three-match suspension, and following this he said he was looking to use his aggression more effectively. He made his return in a 2–1 victory over Kettering Town, during which he opened the scoring with a 20-yard free kick and assisted the second goal with a corner kick that was headed in by Chris Willmott. He finished the season with 16 appearances and two goals for Oxford.

Nelthorpe was released by Oxford at the end of the season and he subsequently signed for fellow Conference team York City on 19 May. He suffered from illness during much of York's pre-season, and during a friendly against F.C. Halifax Town, he was sent off for jumping dangerously with his arm raised. He made his debut as a stoppage time substitute in a 2–1 defeat to former club Oxford on 8 August. After failing to start any games for York, he requested a loan move away from the club in October. He joined Barrow on loan until 1 January 2010 in November. He made his debut in a 2–2 with AFC Wimbledon, assisting Jason Walker's goal through a corner kick.

Style of play

Nelthorpe is left footed and is able to play either as a left back or as a left winger. He has also been played at left wingback, although he has stated his preference in playing a more attacking role, saying "I’m not really the best defensively – I’d sooner go at people". While playing as a winger, he is "adventurous" and has a "willingness to run at defenders". His skills have been praised as being "deft and quick" and his set piece have been described as being "excellent".

Personal life

Nelthorpe has one child with his girlfriend, who is pregnant with their second. He was arrested along with York players Michael Gash, Michael Ingham and Michael Rankine in August 2009 following an incident involving two other men at a Subway outlet.

Career statistics

As of 14 November 2009.

Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Doncaster Rovers 2004–05 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2005–06 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0
2006–07 6 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 7 1
2007–08 2 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 4 0
2008–09 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 10 1 1 0 0 0 3 0 14 1
Hucknall Town (loan) 2005–06 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 2
Kidderminster Harriers (loan) 2006–07 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Gateshead (loan) 2006–07 19 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 19 8
Halifax Town (loan) 2007–08 7 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 2
Darlington (loan) 2007–08 7 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 8 0
Gateshead (loan) 2008–09 12 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 14 1
Oxford United 2008–09 16 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 16 2
York City 2009–10 7 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 8 0
Barrow (loan) 2009–10 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Career totals 88 16 2 0 0 0 6 0 96 16


A.  The "League" column constitutes appearances and goals (including those as a substitute) in the Football League, Football Conference and Northern Premier League.
B.  The "Other" column constitutes appearances and goals (including those as a substitute) in the Conference League Cup, Football League Trophy and play-offs.


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