Comeback kings Carlisle United twice came from behind to claim a point against a Shrewsbury Town outfit who couldn’t quite shake their hosts off in what became an entertaining game at Brunton Park.
Captain Lee Miller kept his cool to despatch two second-half spot kicks as the Cumbrians refused to let go for the second time in the space of a week.
“The pitch wasn’t the best so it was never going to be a great game of football,” manager Greg Abbott said. “But the lads have shown great character and they have got their point.
“Our goals have come from mistakes but the first thing we are going to do is stand by our young player. I can absolutely guarantee that he will be in the team on Monday because he was the first to hold his hands up. He’s been fantastic for us and the last thing we want to do is single him out. He will play on Monday and I have no doubt he will be better for it.”
Shrewsbury held the upper hand in the opening exchanges and Summerfield was the first to try his luck when he pounced on a half clearance from a deep cross. His long range shot had power but it sailed off and into the stands.
Jacobson took everyone by surprise when he stepped forward to meet a loose ball in midfield with Gillespie edging off his line. A firm 40-yard volley followed but it was never going to trouble the target.
United’s afternoon took a worrying turn on nine minutes when Matt Robson signalled that he was struggling to keep with the pace of the game. A substitution followed with McGovern moving over to the left wing to allow new arrival Dave Symington to patrol the right hand flank.
The first home chance quickly followed when Mustoe delivered an excellent free kick into the box. Beck won the first ball but McGovern couldn’t keep the second header from flying past the upright.
Good football involving Berrett, Miller and Simek led to a cross which had the keeper in two minds. Beck took it with his back to goal but his shot on the spin screwed off into the distance.
Eaves wasted a good chance to go clear when he took a heavy touch on a ball over the top at the other end. O’Hanlon recovered quickly to volley the ball clear.
Clear-cut chances were at a premium but hard work from Mambo gave Eaves a chance to utilise some unexpected space. The option to shoot early was proving to be popular and Gillespie was again in the right place to gather low.
Tom Eaves was at the heart of most of what the Shrews attempted and he fashioned a chance for himself when he cut in from the right. He placed his shot across the face of goal but it curled away and bent harmlessly behind.
Darren Jones became the second early casualty of the day when an awkward landing left him clutching his left arm in agony. He left the pitch following a prolonged period of treatment to an encouraging round of applause.
The game restarted with a high ball forward which Beck did well to win. Miller unleashed a powerful shot on the volley but it dipped over the bar.
United started to edge on top and Symington was unlucky to see a goal-bound free kick from 23-yards crunch into the wall. Jordan Mustoe then brought the save of the day out of Chris Weale when he put his boot through a rasping drive. The keeper saw it late but he got just enough on it to tip it over the bar.
Mustoe almost turned provider in Carlisle’s next attack when he bullied his way past McGinn. A hooked cross invited Beck to leap but he was underneath his header and it rose high into the sky.
Shrewsbury had the last say of the half when Taylor whisked a teasing free kick into the mix. It flew through untouched and Gillespie did well to react late and parry it away.
A nervous edge to the second half brought little in the way of attacking enterprise until a McGovern free kick found Beck in a yard of space. Weale adjusted his feet to make the save look easy.
A burst forward from Hurst opened Carlisle up and Simek had to chase back to clear the low cross before Richards could tuck it away. Mambo then made as mess of what looked to be a good opening when the corner fell at his feet. He lost his composure and screwed his volley into the afternoon sky.
Disaster struck for United midway through the half when Matt Richards caught everyone off-guard. His 35 yard free kick nipped under the bar as Mark Gillespie lost his footing as he tried to make up ground to make the save.
But the Cumbrians were back on level terms within two minutes when Summerfield was punished by Referee Mark Haywood. Lee Miller placed the ball and left Weale with no chance as he found the back of the net.
Popular forward Mathieu Manset almost grabbed the lead for the Blues when he nicked a bouncing ball on the edge of the box. Two touches took him clear but the thunderbolt from his left boot was tipped over the bar.
It was a good spell for Carlisle and poor distribution left McGovern with an outside chance of lobbing the ball into the empty net from just inside the Shrewsbury half. Weale was in panic mode but the attempt was overhit and bound for the terraces behind the goal.
Shrewsbury reclaimed the lead in disappointing circumstances when a Richards free kick caused all kinds of problems. Gillespie got something onto it as he tussled with Mambo but Eaves pulled away to make sure the ball didn’t go dead. His low cross-shot from a tight angle appeared to be covered at the near post but a spill from the keeper allowed Mambo to steal in and stab it home from close range.
Eaves went close to extending the lead with a curling shot from just outside the area but the second penalty of the day came when McGovern chased a ball inside the box. Weale looked clumsy as he bundled into the midfielder and Lee Miller had no hesitation in stepping up to the task once more after the referee had pointed to the spot. A brief delay made little difference as he rattled another perfect spot kick into the bottom corner to add the frustrated stopper’s woes.
The pace of the game visibly slowed as Shrewsbury shut-up-shop and settled for what they had and it was another appreciative round of applause which greeted the final whistle of what had been another gritty display.
United - Miller (pen 66, pen 82)
Shrews - Richards (64), Mambo (76)
United - Miller (73)
Shrews - Hurst (49), Weale (82), Taylor (90)
Carlisle United - Gillespie, Simek, Livesey, O'Hanlon, Mustoe, McGovern, Thirlwell (Noble 81), Berrett, Robson (Symington 9), Beck (Manset 62), Miller. Subs - Collin, Murphy, Loy, Potts.
Shrewsbury Town - Weale, Jacobson, Summerfield, Jones (Goldson 21), Richards, Morgan (Asante 73), Taylor, McGinn, Mambo, Eaves, Hurst. Subs - Anyon, Purdie, Parry, McAllister, Wildig.
Referee - Mr Mark Haywood
Attendance - 4,472 (336 away fans)