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13 January 2018 Venue Brunton Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Previews

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU: Crewe Alexandra

We take a closer look at this weekend's opponents

12 January 2018

After FA Cup action last weekend, the Blues return to the bread and butter of Sky Bet League Two on Saturday as Crewe Alexandra visit Brunton Park.

A 0-0 draw with Championship side Sheffield Wednesday will no doubt have given Keith Curle’s side a boost of confidence as they look to pick up a first league win in 2018.

But they will come up against a Crewe side who find themselves precariously close to the relegation zone and keen to move up the table.

We put the Railwaymen under the spotlight ahead of their trip to Cumbria:

Mixed Form

It has been a season of inconsistency for Crewe, who are currently sat in 19th place after struggling for a real run of form – although they do still sit eight points clear of the drop zone.

Their last six games have summed up their mixed fortunes, with three wins and three defeats.

Boss David Artell will now be hoping to string together a run of good form which could well propel them up the table.

Low On Numbers

Injuries and suspensions continue to blight Crewe’s season, with manager Artell admitting that they will be “low on numbers” for the visit to Brunton Park.

Defender Perry Ng picked up a four match suspension following an off-the-ball incident with former United striker Jabo Ibehre during a defeat at Cambridge and fellow defender Eddie Nolan is doubtful with a groin injury.

Meanwhile, loanees Conor Grant and Sam Stubbs returned to their parent clubs earlier this month leaving the Alex slightly short.

Artell said he may have to put one or two youngsters on the bench this weekend, but is hopefully a couple of players will shake off minor knocks.

What Does History Tell Us?

The two sides have met regularly over the years and there’s little to separate them with United having claimed 37 victories compared to Crewe’s 36 from our 87 meetings.

In recent years it’s Crewe who have slightly shaded the meetings with the Alex having lost just one of our last four meetings.

However, the last meeting between the two resulted in a resounding Carlisle victory, as a brace from Danny Grainger, strikes from Hallam Hope and Reggie Lambe and a Michael Raynes own goals handed the Cumbrians a 5-0 triumph earlier this season.

Watch the extended highlights from this season's 5-0 away victory here:

Familiar Faces

There’s a number of familiar faces in both camps this weekend who will be keen to get one over on their former employers.

Centre back Michael Raynes will make a return to Brunton Park having left the Blues after two years this summer to make the move to Crewe.

Meanwhile in the Blues’ camp, both Mark Ellis and Shaun Miller will be facing a familiar side.

Ellis spent two years at Gresty Road, making over 90 appearances for the club during a successful spell.

Miller began his career at Crewe and was at the club for over six years where he impressed many with an excellent goal return before moving to Sheffield United.

Ones to Watch

- Ben Garratt - A product of Crewe’s famous youth academy, the young goalkeeper has now made over 170 professional appearances after bursting onto the scene in 2012/13. The 23-year-old won the Railwaymen’s Player of the Season accolade in 2015 and 2016 and has also represented England at U17 level in the 2011 World Cup. Garratt has now become a key member of Artell’s squad and will be pivotal this season - he certainly provides a reliable last line of defence for Crewe.

- George Cooper - Another player who came through the Railwaymen’s renowned youth setup, the creative midfielder enjoyed a phenomenal 2016/17 campaign. A regular starter under Artell, Cooper netted ten times and claimed a further 14 assists in his 53 appearances, with sides starting to sit up and take notice of the 20-year-old. If he can perform as well this season, then Crewe will have a real attacking threat on their hands.

- Chris Porter - Porter offers a bit more experience in a relatively young Crewe side having spent time at the likes of Oldham, Motherwell, Derby County and Sheffield United. His most recent spell came with Colchester United, where his 16 goals last season encouraged Artell to pull out all the stops to lure him to Gresty Road this summer. A physical presence and a fine finisher, Porter could be the man to fire Crewe up the table this season. And with a partnership with Chris Dagnall starting to blossom, it could see the Alex cause opposition teams plenty of problems.

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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: United 1 - 0 Crewe

Report from the Saturday afternoon home game

13 January 2018

It was back to League Two action for the Blues on Saturday with Crewe Alexandra the latest visitors to Brunton Park.

Carlisle showed patience and determination as they eventually got the goal - a first for the club for Sam Cosgrove - which earned them the points in a tight game against a hard working Crewe outfit.

Early errors and mistakes kept things tense through the early stages and one such moment of hesitation in midfield allowed Dagnall to send Bowery clean through. Bonham raced off his line and he was relieved to see a toe-poke which flashed under his dive bounce back off the base of the post and into his hands.

Carlisle got forward with purpose when Grainger made it past his marker thanks to a neat pass from Lambe. The captain cut the ball back and a deflection left it sitting nicely for Jones to strike. He readjusted to hit it but he couldn't keep it on target and it bobbled harmlessly away.

Crewe sensed that their hosts hadn't quite made it out of the blocks and Dagnall caused problems when he kept the ball in a dangerous area. Walker called for it, and all his cross needed was a touch as it fizzed across the face of goal.

The Blues responded with a nod down from Cosgrove which gave Brown room to deliver. His deep cross eventually came to Lambe, but his effort hit two bodies as it made its way behind for a corner. Devitt spotted Grainger in space as he pulled that set piece into the mix and the left back wasn't too far away as he bent his shot at the far corner.

There were chances at both ends within 20 seconds of each other on 19 minutes when Cosgrove again jumped highest to feed Hope with an excellent cushioned header. The striker got the ball caught under his feet and his shot was easily cleared when it eventually came in. 

A huge punt forward followed and Bowery raced away as it skimmed off Jones in the centre circle. He was pushed wide and Bonham did well to drop low and deal with the thundering shot.

Back up the other end once more and a thumping header from Hill from the edge of the box took a touch off Raynes and edged just over the bar as both sides pushed for the goal.

Half-hearted appeals for a penalty were then turned down as Brown went on a 40-yard sprint with the ball at his feet, but the referee showed no interest as the defender tumbled to the floor.

The Cosgrove-Hope combination came into play again on the half hour when the big striker sent a flick-on into space. Hope went for an early volley but he put too much on it and it dipped over the crossbar.

A chance came from nowhere for the lively Sam Cosgrove when a kick forward from Bonham was headed high by Raynes. It fell nicely for the volley for the big striker and he showed good technique as he rattled his first time attempt just wide.

Carlisle went close again when another stabbed clearance invited Brown to go for glory. He struck his drive cleanly and Garratt was a spectator as it flew past both him and his upright.

Blue shirts were forward in numbers ahead of the break and an excellent cross from Grainger invited Lambe to go for goal. He seemed to take his eye off the ball and his mistimed header was pumped away to safety by Walker.

Manager Keith Curle went for a double-substitution at half time with Luke Joyce and John O'Sullivan coming on for James Brown and Reggie Lambe. For Joyce it was a career milestone as he made his 450th senior appearance.

Crewe had an early second half foray which saw Nolan volley well wide following a spell of head tennis on the edge of the box, and United had the visitors worried when Jones dropped a lovely deep free kick into the six yard box. Bakayogo had to see that one behind.

Carlisle enjoyed the better of the territorial advantages through a tense spell, but they almost gifted Cooper a goal when Parkes and Grainger got in a tangle as a cross came into the area. The ball rolled loose but the Crewe man could only find the roof of the net.

The hosts responded with a measured attack which brought a testing cross from O'Sullivan when he was found by Parkes. Walker did well to put it behind as he came under pressure.

Carlisle did have the ball in the net when Sam Cosgrove controlled an excellent pass forward before sweeping a superb shot into the back of the net but, for the second time in a week, his celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.

And the big striker missed his chance to write his name in lights moments later when Bennett skipped past a challenge from Raynes. He fed it to Devitt, and a first time pass found Cosgrove inside the box. He dropped a shouler and beat his man but he sent his rasper just over the bar.

But he got the reward for his excellent work on 76 minutes when Parkes put another ball into the box. It took a slight deflection, and that invited Cosgrove to get onto the end of it and leave Garratt with no chance with a firm downward header.

Bennett twice went close late in the game, his first a header that flashed wide and his second a volley on the spin which arrowed right at Garratt, but United didn't need the second goal as Jack Bonham made an excellent late save to help his side to see it through to a second consecutive clean sheet and a vital three points.

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Goals 

Carlisle United - Cosgrove (76)

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Bookings

Carlisle United - Bennett (80)

Crewe Alexandra - Raynes (75), Walker (75)

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Teams

Carlisle United - Bonham, Brown (Joyce 46), Liddle, Hill, Parkes, Grainger, Lambe (O'Sullivan 46), Jones, Devitt, Hope (Bennett 63), Cosgrove. Subs - Bacon, Nabi, Ellis, S Miller.

Crewe Alexandra - Garratt, Bakayogo, Walker, Raynes, Dagnall, Bowery (Reilly 84), Cooper, Nolan, Ainley (Kirk 77), Lowery (Finney 83), Green. Subs - Richards, Wintle, Pickering, Lundstram.

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Referee - Christopher Sarginson

Attendance - 4,467 (301 away fans)

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