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30 January 2021 Venue Brunton Park Attendance

Kick off 13:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: Grecians head up the M5 at the weekend

We look ahead to the Saturday game

29 January 2021

United's final fixture of the month is a home game against Exeter City on Saturday afternoon, with the Blues having waited for exactly four weeks since they were last able to play a game in anger.


A combination of isolation, bad weather and bad luck has seen the Cumbrians sidelined, and there's no doubt they'll be chomping at the bit come the earlier 1pm kick off timing.

On to our visitors, and much sought after Randall Williams, the target of many a scout this season, is now likely to move for free in the summer having picked up a stress fracture not long after a bid had been accepted by his club from an as yet unknown League One suitor.

It emerged that Williams had failed to agree personal terms, but that became academic when he suffered the break, and the possibility of a January switch for the lively winger faded away.

Fleetwood centre back Sam Stubbs came in the other way last week, with the 22-year-old signing a two-and-a-half year deal with Matt Taylor.


Despite their midweek home defeat to high-flying Morecambe the Grecians have been very difficult to beat in recent weeks, with just two defeats from their last seven games.

Some of the victories pre-Christmas were by considerable margins, and it wasn't unusual to see four or five goals recorded beside Exeter's name.

Nine draws will be a cause for frustration, with post-match reaction from a number of those stalemates suggesting that it could and probably should have been better.

But, as already intimated, their attacking style of play has brought them 44 league goals so far, an average of almost two net busters per outing.

who watch

Matt Jay (11), Ryan Bowman (10), Joel Randall (8) and Jake Taylor (6) have all pitched in with the bulk of those goals and, indeed, Randall has been the subject of transfer window speculation following some eye-catching displays.

But there's only one place we can look this weekend - Ryan Bowman. Bogey came through our youth system but has had to prove himself the hard way in the professional game.

He's done just that and he'll be looking to add to his tally when he 'comes home' on Saturday afternoon.


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With match commentary also provided by BBC Radio Cumbria, this is a fantastic way to follow your team through these unprecedented behind closed doors fixtures.

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United were down in Exeter in October 2020 when a goal from former Blue Tom Parkes was enough to claim the home win. Gime Toure was sent off midway through the second half for the Blues.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, these teams locked horns just once during the 2019/20 campaign. That was in September 2019 where late goals from Aaron Martin and Nicky Law cancelled out Olufela Olomola's earlier equaliser, after Lee Martin had opened the scoring.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

Prior to that, it was another Brunton Park meeting in February 2019, when a bright start from the Grecians brought a stunning goal from Nicky Law. His initial effort from a free kick struck the wall, but he reacted smartly to volley the rebound into the bottom corner. Carlisle pushed and pushed for an equaliser, and they eventually got the reward they deserved when Devitt smashed an unstoppable set piece into the top corner.

The first game of the 2018/19 season took us to Exeter for an encounter which was played out in blistering heat. Early goals for the hosts from Nicky Law and Jonathan Forte set the Blues on the back foot, but Richie Bennett glanced a header into the net before the break to keep the Cumbrians in the hunt. There were chances to level it in the second period but Tristan Abrahams scored late in the day to make sure Exeter took the points.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

Prior to that we were in Exeter once again towards the end of the 2017/18 campaign. It was a 1-1- draw, and Ashley Nadesan scored the Carlisle goal in what was a very keenly fought game.

Watch the highlights from that game here:


Referee - Martin Coy
Assistant Referee 1 - Conor Brown
Assistant Referee 2 - Scott Williams
Fourth Official - Simon Clayton

Martin Coy

The referee for this fixture is Mr Martin Coy. 

He's refereed 18 games so far this season showing 42 yellow cards and four reds.

The December trip to Harrogate turned into an interesting evening as dipping temperatures sent an already struggling pitch over the edge. Just eight minutes into the game, and with the hosts a goal to the good, Mr Coy deemed that the surface had become too dangerous and United's first ever trip to Wetherby Road was cut short with the match abandoned due to safety reasons.

He was at Brunton Park in October 2020 for the 3-2 home win over Colchester where goals from Lewi Alessandra and Jon Mellish gave us a two-goal cushion. The U's pegged us back with strikes either side of the break, but Aaron Hayden sealed a deserved win with a late goal. Callum Guy, Jon Mellish and Joe Riley were booked on the afternoon.

We also had him for our 3-0 home defeat against Plymouth in January 2020. Aaron Hayden was sent off in the final minute of that fixture as tensions ran high. 

Prior to that he was here for the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Port Vale back in November 2019.

Ryan Loft put us ahead with just one minute on the clock, but second half goals from Worrall and Cullen took the points the way of the hosts. Loft and Canice Carroll had their names taken on the day.

We saw him twice in the 2018/19 season, with our first meeting for the home defeat against Grimsby in October. The goal came in the first half from Luke Hendrie, but there were no United names entered into the book.

He was back here a month later for the 1-1 Checkatrade Trophy meeting with Stoke City under-21s. Jack Sowerby scored the goal and Gary Liddle was shown a yellow card. 

He was with us three times during the 2017/18 season, with his first visit up north coming in August 2017 for our 3-0 home victory over Cheltenham. Tom Miller and Reggie Lambe added to a fifth minute own goal from Harry Pell, and Mark Ellis was the only Carlisle booking on the day.

We saw him again for our November Checkatrade Trophy group game against Fleetwood, where a certain Jack Sowerby opened the scoring on the night. Wes Burns doubled the lead just before half time, and a late Shaun Miller goal did little to affect the outcome as the visitors took the win come full time. Tom Miller and Jamie Devitt received yellow cards that night.

His last trip to Brunton Park during that campaign was for our 2-2 draw with Crawley in March. Richie Bennett and Hallam Hope appeared to have done the job with goals to give us a 2-0 lead, but the Red Devils recovered and claimed their point courtesy of a brace from Kalen Grant. United names taken were Clint Hill, Hallam Hope and Tom Parkes.


This game is behind closed doors. See above for details of how to watch this game via iFollow, our live streaming service.

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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: United 1 - 0 Exeter

Report from the Saturday afternoon home game

30 January 2021

United returned to action for the first time in exactly 28 days on Saturday afternoon having lost fixtures to rain, snow, ice and a 10-day Covid isolation period along the way.

New signing Offrande Zanzala was straight into the starting eleven to make his debut and the enforced break meant that Jon Mellish and JJ Kayode had recovered fully from their respective niggles, and Mellish was straight back into the fold in his usual box-to-box role.

The teams felt each other out through the early exchanges but a misplaced pass in the United half allowed the Grecians to earn a corner. The training ground routine was snuffed out when Farman came off his line to gather.

A long throw from Alessandra at the other end was cleared by Atangana but it was chested down by Riley as he lurked on the edge of the box. A 20-yard snapshot followed but he couldn't keep it down and it whistled over the bar.

Alessandra tried the same moments later, this time with a throw from the right hand side of the pitch, and it was Guy who picked up the loose ball on this occasion. He put his left boot through it but it headed off into the Waterworks End.

The Blues took the lead on nine minutes with a superb move which saw Armer clip a ball over the top for Alessandra to chase. He beat the offside trap with his movement and a rolled delivery across the face of goal eventually came to Patrick, who did well to spin away from Key before looping a pass back towards the far stick. Alessandra was on hand to bag number seven of the season with an unstoppable volley.

United were up for it and a turn from Mellish, after he received a pass from Guy, saw him run into space before sending Patrick into the box. The forward twisted and turned but his initial cross was blocked. He let fly as it came back his way but Parkes got his body in the way.

Carlisle had three consecutive corners to defend as Exeter pushed forward but they coped comfortably, with some strong clearances to keep the strikers at bay.

Long throws from Alessandra were a real tease and another drifting launch brought a weak headed response from Parkes which Patrick liked the look of. He struck it first time but it was always on the rise.

The Grecians tried to probe, but they came up against a stubborn blue wall as Guy, Bennett and Hayden completed timely clearances.

A home corner was whipped in by Guy on the half hour as the home side came again and Mellish glanced it onwards with a leap at the front post. Collins got in the way before Riley could turn it into anything meaningful.

Exeter registered their first shot in anger on 42 minutes when a cross into the box was cleared by Bennett. It struck Law, and the rebound off him invited a shot from Bowman as it came his way on the penalty spot. He connected cleanly, but he couldn't keep it down.

The visitors shouted for a penalty with two minutes on the second half clock when Law tumbled to the floor as a cross came in. The referee waved it away straight away, despite the loud appeals.

A corner for the black shirts followed as Hayden stopped Jay in his tracks, and a goal bound header from Parkes had to be guided behind as the delivery went deep.The second corner was well dealt with as it also angled long.

It was a strong start to the second period from the Grecians and another corner was cleared with close attention from Mellish. His pass forward was clipped on by Patrick but it was just too far in front of Zanzala.

United tested the back line with a free kick from Guy which Hayden nodded back into the mix. It had to be hooked out of the danger area as Riley steamed in.

Former Blue Ryan Bowman had a goal chalked off for offside when he finished from close range following good work from Law and Sweeney. The midfielder had worked an opening then mishit a shot, and the celebrations started as the ball bulged the net. The assistant referee took an age to make his decision, but he eventually raised his flag.

Carlisle captain Nick Anderton found the back of the net at the other end when Andresson fumbled as the pair came together to contest a high ball on the goal line. He finished it off but the referee was quick with the whistle on this occasion.

Skill from Dickenson saw him shield a bouncing ball before moving off his marker towards the byline. A cross from nothing was just an inch in front of Kayode as he tried to get something on it.

United almost hit on the break when Mellish intelligently cleared a corner for Dickenson to chase. He bided his time, but his switch in play was cut out as three came in support.

Alessandra drilled one over the bar from the edge of the box when a scuffed clearance bobbled his way, but there was concern as Armer and Bowman tangled with just over 15 minutes left to play. The defender needed treatment, but gingerly returned to the action.

It stayed tight, with goalmouth action at a premium, but a scramble in the box saw Ethan Walker pull wide with the ball at his feet. His cut back was rattled into Sweeney, and the promising move was brought to a close with the defender poleaxed on the floor.

Carlisle missed a great chance to wrap the points up when a fizzed corner found Dickenson unmarked and just five yards out. His header went high and he was left with his head in his hands.

Farman had to get off his line to gather low when a cross from Caprice caused issues. The keeper was alert and he did his job well.

Exeter threw everyone forward in time added on but Carlisle refused to wilt and they saw it through to take their hard-earned three points, with a save from Andresson from a Guy free kick the final act of the day.



Carlisle United - Alessandra (9)



Carlisle United - Anderton (90)

Exeter City - Parkes (83)



Carlisle United - Farman, Armer, Hayden, Bennett, Anderton (c), Riley, Mellish (Charters 90), Guy, Alessandra (Walker 82), Zanzala (Dickenson 55), Patrick (Kayode 55). Subs - Norman (gk), Furman, Toure.

Exeter City - Andresson, Sparkes, Atangana (Taylor 79), Law (c), Collins, Bowman, Parkes, Jay (Caprice 79), Page (Fisher 90), Sweeney, Key (Seymour 85). Subs - Maxted (gk), McArdle, Seymour, Hartridge.


Match officials

Referee - Martin Coy
Assistant Referee 1 - Conor Brown
Assistant Referee 2 - Scott Williams
Fourth Official - Simon Clayton


Attendance - BCD

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