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26 September 2017 Venue Brunton Park Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU: Stevenage

We take a closer look at tonight's visitors

26 September 2017

The games are coming thick and fast in Sky Bet League Two as the Blues prepare to welcome Stevenage in a midweek clash.

Fresh off the back of a thumping win at Crewe, Keith Curle’s side will be hoping to make it back-to-back victories when the Boro visit Cumbria.

But Stevenage themselves will be keen to seal another three points after they ground out a victory over Morecambe on Saturday, so it’s sure to be an intriguing contest.

We put Stevenage under the spotlight ahead of their visit to Brunton Park:

Returning to Form

Saturday’s win over the Shrimps was Stevenage’s first win in four outings and was a timely boost to Darren Sarll’s side after their poor form threatened to ruin a fairly positive start to the new season.

Indeed, Stevenage were unbeaten in Sky Bet League Two until 9 September when they were defeated by newly-promoted Lincoln, and picked up three wins and two draws from their opening five fixtures.

That, however, was followed by two defeats and a draw which had seen the Boro start to slide down the table.

Yet that victory over Morecambe could well act as a catalyst for Sarll’s men who will be keen to return to their early season form.

Debut Delight

The big storyline from Stevenage’s victory over Morecambe was that of Kyle Wootton - the deadline day loan signing from Scunthorpe coming off the bench to net the winner on his debut.

Wootton, a 6”2 striker, found the back of the net only a minute after entering the fray and he’ll be hoping that was enough to earn him a start at Brunton Park.

His fellow frontman will have something to say about that, however, with Matty Godden also in fine form this season - scoring again at the weekend.

Sarll may, therefore, have selection dilemmas up top with summer addition Danny Newton also performing well when leading the line.

What Does History Tell Us?

The two sides only met for the first time in 2005 but have since gone on to play each other on 15 occasions.

And it’s United who have the better record, having claimed eight victories as opposed to the four of Stevenage.

Indeed the Cumbrians are unbeaten in their last four meetings with the Boro, with Stevenage’s last victory over United coming back in April 2015.

Only One Victory at Brunton Park

You have to go back to the very first meeting between the two sides - on 22 February 2005 - to find the last time Stevenage won at Brunton Park.

Since then the Blues have hosted Boro on six occasions and haven’t lost, claiming four victories in the process.

Curle will be keen to see his side continue that unbeaten record courtesy of another victory this season.

Watch highlights from last season's 2-1 away victory here:

Watch highlights from last season's 1-1 home draw here:

Ones to Watch

+ Fraser Franks - A promising youngster when he joined the club, Franks has since developed into a key member of the Stevenage backline. The centre back started his career at Brentford before dropping into non-league, representing the likes of Hayes & Yeading and Welling before returning to the Football League with Luton in 2014. He spent just one season at Kenilworth Road before moving to Stevenage where he quickly became a fans’ favourite with some strong and effective displays at the back.

+ Tom Pett - Pett was plucked from obscurity by Stevenage and has proved an excellent addition having now made over 100 league appearances for the club since joining in 2014. A tricky forward who is comfortable playing in midfield, Pett chips in with goals and assists aplenty and is a handful for any defender. United will need to watch him carefully.

+ Danny Newton - Another non-league star to join Stevenage, Newton caught the eye as part of Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy over the summer. His impressive performances at the academy, coupled with his return of 38 goals for Tamworth last season, prompted Sarll to take a punt on him. And he hasn’t disappointed, with the striker netting five goals already this season.

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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: United 0 - 2 Stevenage

Report from the Tuesday evening home game

26 September 2017

The Blues played host to Stevenage on Tuesday night in their latest Sky Bet League Two fixture.

Two mistakes from keeper Shamal George cost United dear as Stevenage took all three points from Brunton Park on a disappointing night.

United were on the front foot early when Adams found Lambe with a reverse pass wide on the left flank. Lambe returned the favour but an early cross was just too high for Miller. The clearance was gobbled up by Lambe and he was tripped as he tried to make his way into the box. Adams sent the set piece at the centre of the target but the whistle blew for an infringement as Parkes challenged.

Another foul on Miller allowed Grainger to sweep a deep free kick into the mix but it evaded everyone and Fryer was able to gather it in. Stevenage showed that they could be a real threat at the other end on 11 minutes when they sent men forward in numbers. A quick exchange of passes left Kennedy with space and he chose to shoot low from 12 yards out. His effort took a deflection and rattled onto the outside of the post. 

The Cumbrians fashioned a move from back to front as Clint Hill started an attack deep inside his own half. One-touch passing from Joyce, Etuhu and Grainger eventually brought Miller into play and he opened things up with a flick of his heel. Lambe checked his run and went for a shot with his instep but it bent high over the bar.

Nicky Adams was next to try his luck as Grainger and Miller kept the ball moving to send him on an overlap. The wide man stepped inside and unleashed a firm shot but Franks stayed big and headed it away.

More excellent approach play involving Jones, Grainger and Etuhu earned the Blues a corner and a short routine eventually brought a cross from Adams. Hill was up to meet it but it hit a defender and looped onto the roof of the net. Lambe zipped the next delivery to the back post but Parkes was underneath it and his header went high.

Carlisle went close from a route one kick when George pumped a huge ball forward for Hill to challenge for. The big defender got there but his 10-yard header zipped into the side netting. The home side stayed forward and Parkes did well to keep the ball alive on the edge of the box when he came under real pressure. He kept three Boro men at bay, fed it to Adams, and watched as his team mate bent a beauty of a shot just over the crossbar.

Pett and Kennedy had shots blocked as Stevenage tried to find some forward momentum, but things tigthened up markedly ahead of the break as the sides cancelled each other out with some determined midfield play.

Carlisle ended the half with two good chances, both of which fell to Lambe from a half cleared Adams cross. His first drive came back at him from a Stevenage boot and his second whipped past the angle of post and bar.

Stevenage had some good early second half pressure without managing to find a way through the back line, and United were made to pay when a flat corner from Adams was cleared into their half. Boro won a corner of their own and George was horrified as he appeared to catch the delivery, only to then spill it. Ben Kennedy was delighted to be able to stab the loose ball home.

Disaster struck again for United's young loan keeper when Pett looped a header back into the mix. The big stopper tried to push it over the bar but succeeded only in clawing it into his own net. 

Manager Keith Curle made quick changes and sent Hope and Bennett on in support of Miller but it was frustrating stuff for the Blues as Stevenage slowed things down and managed the game. A long range shot from Jones bent away to safety and a high cross from Parkes was nodded down only for Fryer to claim easily as it bounced in his favour.

Miller smashed a volley an inch over as Parkes and Devitt made him a chance late in the day, and Adams had a shot blocked as he got onto the end of a scuffed clearance from a Devitt inswinger.

Carlisle kept knocking on the door but their night was summed up when Devitt lifted a late free kick over the bar. And Joyce was denied with the last kick of the game when he latched onto an awkward bounce just eight yards out. He got it on target but Fryer flung himself at it and beat it away.

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Goals

Stevenage - Kennedy (51), Pett (60)

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Bookings

Carlisle United - Joyce (53), Grainger (76), Bennett (90)

Stevenage - Godden (24)

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Teams

Carlisle United - George, Brown (Hope 70), Hill, Parkes, Grainger, Joyce, Jones, Etuhu (Bennett 60), Lambe (Devitt 66), S Miller, Adams. Subs - Bonham, T Miller, Liddle, Ellis.

Stevenage - Fryer, Smith, Martin, Franks (Wilkinson 74), Kennedy, Pett (Conlon 82), Gorman, Newton (Wootton 57), Vancooten, Godden, Henry. Subs - Day, Whelpdale, Toner, Gray.

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Referee - Michael Salisbury

Attendance - 3,701 (34 away fans)

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