United leave it late to bounce back
Carlisle United saved the best for last as they hauled themselves back from a two-goal deficit with double-strike in time added on which earned them a vital point at a crucial stage of the season.
And the manner of the recovery left manager Greg Abbott with nothing but praise for his never-say-die troops.
“I don’t think I can be criticised too much for looking at the three goals we scored before anything else today,” he said. “Obviously we looked dead and buried but we have fought for each other and we have refused to give it up. You’d think we’d just won the World Cup with the way the lads are in the dressing room, and this could just be a massive point for us.
“If we’d lost the game they would be on their knees now. But they’ve pushed and they’ve got their goals and they are absolutely buzzing. We have things to discuss about what went wrong, but now isn’t the time. Right now is a time for congratulating a group who have worked their socks off and got us something from a game which looked like it was gone.”
An entertaining and evenly matched first half started with an early chance for Blizzard as Yeovil mounted an attack straight from the kick off. The ball sat up nicely from a Dawson cross but the effort was rushed and Collin was able to gather.
Wide man Matt Robson missed a decent opening as the Cumbrians pressed forward when Stech lost the flight of the ball from a Simek cross. A low volley needed a clearance off the line to prevent it from going in. Paul Thirlwell and Mark Beck tried to follow up but some brave defending ensured the target was protected.
There was then some real controversy when Lee Miller, returning from a three-match suspension, opened his legs to get onto an underhit back pass. Marek Stech challenged clumsily and the big striker tumbled to the floor only to have his appeals for a penalty turned down.
Former-Carlisle forward Paddy Madden had his first chance of the day when he nicked possession on the edge of the box. Adam Collin had to spread himself to make a block from the fierce shot which followed from a very tight angle.
Yeovil grew in confidence and a Madden pass took Dawson into the area. His cut back found Foley but he could only rifle his shot over the bar. Blizzard twice fluffed his lines when he was presented with close range volleys, but Madden made his mark as he turned provider with a slide rule pass to send Dawson free and clear once more. He took his time and set himself before drilling a crunching shot into the roof of the net.
The Cumbrians upped the tempo as they tried to respond and a weaving run from Simek had the crowd on its feet as he beat three tight by the corner flag. Berrett took over and fed it to Robson, but he was on his wrong foot and his effort was blocked.
A fantastic piece of skill from Berrett left Upson tackling thin air when a quick turn put the midfielder into a crossing position. Beck rose to meet it but he guided his header wide.
A string of testing deliveries finally paid dividend when Mustoe curled a beauty of a free kick into the box. Beck nodded it down and Lee Miller did the rest with the sweetest of touches to leave the wrong-footed stopper with no chance.
The final say of an end-to-end first half went to Peter Murphy when he took charge of a 24-yard free kick. He got it over the wall but it nestled harmlessly on the roof of the net.
The Glovers were gifted their second goal after the break when Collin took the sting out of an Upson piledriver from the edge of the area. Paddy Madden made it 21 for the campaign as he skipped in to sweep the loose ball into the gaping net.
A Matt Robson free kick had to be beaten away by Stech as Carlisle kept trying to apply pressure and James Berrett shaved the upright with a fierce strike when he crunched a cushioned nod down from Beck through a host of defensive legs.
Yeovil started to control the game once more following United’s dominant period and Hayter should have done better when he received a delivery from a Foley free kick with his back to goal. He shot on the spin but Collin watched it all the way.
Madden took centre stage for the next visiting foray forward and his instinctive shot from the edge of the box needed the slightest of touches from Collin to send it away for a corner.
The long awaited debut for new signing Mathieu Manset came midway through the half and his appearance visibly lifted the home tempo. He almost immediately made his mark when he crashed a swirling shot at the bottom corner. Stech did well to readjust and beat it away to safety.
Madden continued to look confident as he played on the break and he was twice thwarted by Collin saves before he placed the third visiting goal on a plate for James Hayter. The United defence were flat-footed as a lobbed pass left the unmarked striker with the easy task of sliding it past the stranded Adam Collin.
Manset came into his own as he led the charge and his ‘shoot on sight’ policy made him an instant hit with the fans. But it was Lee Miller who brought the Cumbrians right back into it on the stroke of full time when he controlled a difficult dropping ball before smashing it past the helpless keeper to register his fifth of the campaign.
One last attack made it a dream debut for Manset when he caused all kinds of problems. Stech parried his bullet of a shot and the unfortunate Luke Ayling was left in despair on the ground as his unusual attempt at a clearance on the run bobbled into the back of the net.
United - Miller (38, 90), Ayling (og 90)
Yeovil - Dawson (25), Madden (51), Hayter (78)
United - Simek (48), McGovern (73)
Carlisle United - Collin, Simek, O'Hanlon, Murphy, Mustoe (Symington 74), McGovern, Thirlwell, Berrett, Robson, Miller, Beck (Manset 67). Subs - Caig, Noble, Loy, Edwards, Potts.
Yeovil Town - Stech, Ayling, Webster, Blizzard (Gordan 46), Upson, Hayter, Foley, Madden, Burn, Edwards, Dawson. Subs - Hinds, Williams, Stewart, Maksimenko, Ralph
Referee - Mr Geoff Eltringham
Attendance - 3,809 (151 away fans)