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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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02 January 2021 Venue Banks's Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: Walsall first up in 2021

United head to the Bescot on Saturday

1 January 2021

United's first step into 2021 is the trip down the M6 to face Walsall - with the country recently placed under tighter restrictions as the coronavirus flared up once again.

bits

United took the bragging rights from both games last season with the same final score - 2-1 - but both were encounters that could have gone either way.

Into the summer and the Saddlers completed their transfer window activity with the captures of Birmingham striker Adan George and Bournemouth forward Jake Scrimshaw as they looked to bolster their attacking options.

Their recent run of good form brought an air of caution from boss Darrell Clarke who warned against complacency - a warning which proved to be correct come Boxing Day.

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Defeat at Salford last Saturday brought an end to a run of four consecutive victories with the free-scoring Saddlers having bagged 12 goals during that winning run.

Walsall were six games unbetaten at that point, and had made big strides up the division as they came within touching distance of the top seven places.

Their final fixture of 2020 was Tuesday's home game against Scunthorpe, and they were undone by a second half strike from former United forward Alex Gilliead to make it back-to-back defeats, with Josh Gordon having just missed a penalty.

Rory Holden is still a doubt, having picked up a knee injury ahead of the festive period, but he'll provide a welcome lift if he is he available and involved. 

who watch

Elijah Adebayo enjoyed a rich run of December form, and bagging in three games on the bounce helped him to take his personal tally to eight for the campaign.

He was quick to praise his team mates for their assists and exciting forward play, but there's no doubt he's a handful for anybody in the final third.

Former Blues loanee Hayden White always seems to enjoy playing against us, and he's been a regular in the starting line up since his arrival in September.

But Adebayo, with his goals, is our one to watch this weekend.

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Click HERE to purchase a match pass which will allow you to watch this game in full HD via our streaming iFollow service.

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.

Match passes are available for ALL EFL league games during this restricted attendance period. Click HERE to find out more about this season’s iFollow United service.

Our handy 'How To' guide for season ticket holders and match pass purchasers is HERE.

Over 1,000 fans subscribe to this service for our away games - don't miss out ... sign up now to back the Blues!

highlights

  Carlisle wins Draws Walsall wins
League 17 18 21
League Cup 0 0 1
FA Cup 1 0 1
Total 18 18 23

Carlisle and Walsall met at the end of January in 2020 and they recorded a second consecutive 2-1 victory with Nick Anderton and Ryan Loft putting the hosts two goals to the good in the first half. Mat Sadler pegged one back, but United held on to claim the points.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

United were at the Bescot Stadium for the 2019 festive period - just two days before the turn of the year. Winger Nathan Thomas gave the Blues the lead just after the break, but the home side drew level when Elijah Adebayo netted with 20 minutes left to play. James Clarke was given his marching orders for a tug on Harry McKirdy, and the Cumbrians increased the pressure until they got their match winning strike.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

The April 2014 encounter at Brunton Park was a tense affair. It appeared that an early opening goal from Liam Noble was going to do the trick for the Cumbrians but Michael Ngoo struck late to make it a share of the spoils.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

We were at the Bescot in December 2013 earlier in that campaign and, having hit the woodwork and missed a penalty, the game was lost courtesy of strikes for the home side from Romaine Sawyers and Milan Lalkovic.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

officials

Referee - James Oldham
Assistant Referee 1 - John Flynn
Assistant Referee 2 - Paul Evans
Fourth Official - Neil Hair

James OldhamOur referee for this fixture is Mr James Oldham. He has taken charge of 17 games so far this season showing 42 yellow cards and two reds.

Mr Oldham was in charge of our home game against Walsall in January 2020 (match highlights above). Byron Webster, Stefan Scougall and Mike Jones had their names taken.

He was at Brunton Park for his first ever Football League game as the man in the middle for our 2019/20 season opener against Crawley Town. Harry McKirdy and Stefan Scougall scored in the first half, either side of a net bulger from Beryly Lubula, and that was it for the goals as United claimed a 2-1 win. Byron Wesbter went in the book for the home side and Lewis Young was sent off late in the day for the Red Devils.

We saw Mr Oldham again for our first-round Emirates FA Cup meeting with Dulwich Hamlet in November 2019. Olufela Olomola, Harry McKirdy (2) and Mike Jones bagged for the Blues, and Byron Webster and Ryan Loft had their names taken as Carlisle recorded a 4-1 victory.

Mr Oldham ended his time as an official with the National League at Wembley with the play-off final between Salford City and AFC Fylde in May 2019.

tickets

Away tickets are not available for this fixture. See above for full details on how to watch via our iFollow service above.

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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Walsall 0 - 2 United

Report from the first game of 2021

2 January 2021

United's first game of the new year was at the Bescot Stadium, with Walsall the hosts.

Taylor Charters made his first league start, and Aaron Hayden his fiftieth appearance for the club, with Dean Furman on the bench as the only change to the eleven from Tuesday night.

Brennan Dickenson was back from the hamstring injury he picked up during pre-season to take his place in the match day 18 for the first time at his new club.

United started on the front foot with Charters sneaking in to steal possession inside the home half. Kayode was able to give it back to the young midfielder and he looked up to shoot from distance. He put his boot through it but it was always heading wide.

Carlisle came again with another good move when Guy picked out Alessandra on the edge of the box. He clipped it inside for Charters but a heavy touch allowed the red shirts to clear.

There was half a shout for handball as Kayode launched a long throw into the mix, but the officials ignored the moment with the defender having had no time to react.

Another handball shout came when a half clearance from a Guy free kick was nodded back by Hayden. An arm got in the way, but once again the appeals were waved away. 

Good footwork from Kayode and Patrick followed, but the shot was blocked at source and the Blues had to build again. They did that as Charters arrived late, with possession having been turned over once more, but his volley sailed over the bar.

Carlisle were alert, winning the second balls and the midfield battles, and an Armer overlap brought a low delivery that had to be hooked away as he latched on to strong work from Charters and Riley.

Walsall showed on 25 minutes with a raking crossfield pass that was taken out of the air by Norman. He clipped it past Patrick and rolled it back towards the edge of the area. Scarr went for a shot on the run but it spooned into the air and Farman gathered it in.

The Cumbrians were immediately on the break and Alessandra showed great poise to keep the ball close with his back to goal. He nonchalantly set it for Charters, and he took everybody by surprise when he dinked it outside for Patrick. The striker bagged his fourth of the season as he dropped a shoulder and picked his spot.

The influential Charters was having a league starting debut to remember and he earned his team a corner as he went past a man to put a pass into the centre. That delivery from Guy somehow skipped past everybody.

Wes McDonald tried his luck with a shot from long range for the hosts as the away side continued to defend well, but it was Carlisle who asked another good question as Alessandra intelligently brought Armer into the equation. The left back let fly from 20-yards but it took the slightest of deflections to send it over the target.

More close pressing won the ball back for the Blues from the corner clearance, and Kayode was suddenly clean through as a lobbed pass from Patrick outwitted the back line. Roberts raced out to spread himself and he got enough of a hand to it to prevent a certain goal.

A Gordon header from a Norman cross was easy for Farman just before the break, and United had defending to do as crosses were whipped into the box from the hosts. They coped, and that meant they took a one-goal advantage into the dressing room.

A tight start to the second period saw Gordon booked for a late challenge on Patrick, and Guy drilled one over the bar as he looked to make an impact.

Farman was needed at the other end when Wes McDonald skipped into space before shooting through legs. The keeper blocked it and Rod McDonald completed the clearance.

Carlisle went close on 56 minutes when Kayode linked with Alessandra in midfield. He popped it through to Riley, who got his head down on the angle before aiming for the bottom corner. He connected well but he dragged it past the upright.

Another spell of tough tackling from both sides was punctuated by a miscued effort from Gordon which was never troubling the target.

Walsall looked to use Adebayo as an outlet, but he was twice stopped in his tracks by attentive tackling.

A short corner routine orchestrated by Guy and Alessandra brought a cross from the former which Adebayo glanced onto the roof of his own net.

United had a shot from Charters cleared off the line from the corner as Roberts spilled it when it was guided back into the box by Armer. The youngster was ready to celebrate until a red shirt got in the way.

Furman replaced Guy with 15 minutes left to play, when the midfielder limped from the pitch after a heavy challenge, but the Blues brushed off the setback as they doubled their lead with a superb move.

Armer slipped a pass through to Alessandra, and he used Kayode with a lovely touch. Another precise through ball set Riley free and clear on the right flank, and his pull back eventually came to Kayode. The big striker didn't get the cleanest of strikes, but that didn't matter as his volley skipped of the surface and left Roberts flapping at thin air.

Brennan Dickenson made his long awaited first appearance in a blue shirt with just under 10 minutes left to play, and he was immediately involved as he helped out at the back.

United could have wrapped things up on 86 minutes when they broke wth purpose from a Walsall corner. Alessandra was at the heart of it, and he bided his time as he approached the area with Charters making up ground. A neat through ball invited the shot but it was difficult to control as he struck it on the sprint.

The visitors looked comfortable with their lead and Alessandra curled one over in time added on as they continued to play some excellent football. 

And the hard work continued until the final whistle which, with the Forest Green game against Oldham abandoned early in the second half due to freezing fog, saw the Cumbrians head into the New Year in top spot ... and deservedly so.

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Goals

Carlisle United - Patrick (26), Kayode (78)

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Bookings

Walsall - Gordon (51), Bates (59)

Carlisle United - Charters (27), Armer (57), Hayden (80)

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Teams

Walsall - Roberts, Norman (Osadebe 81), Sadler (Guthrie 61), Clarke (c), Scarr, Sinclair (Nurse 61), Kinsella, Gordon, Adebayo, Bates (Scrimshaw 61), McDonald. Subs - Rose (gk), Lavery, White.

Carlisle United - Farman, Hayden (c), Bennett, McDonald, Armer, Charters (Bell 89), Guy (Furman 75), Riley, Patrick (Dickenson 83), Kayode, Alessandra. Subs - Norman (gk), Dixon, Malley, Fishburn.

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Match officials

Referee - James Oldham
Assistant Referee 1 - Declan Ford
Assistant Referee 2 - Paul Evans
Fourth Official - Neil Hair

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Attendance - BCD

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