Late drama ends all-square
United manager Graham Kavanagh watched his side turn the game on its head in the closes stages at the Greenhous Meadow on Saturday only to have victory snatched from his grasp as hard to beat draw specialists Shrewsbury Town made it six draws from ten league games with a dramatic last gasp equaliser.
The Cumbrians started in confident mood and an early Beck lay off found Robson with one to beat on the edge of the box. He opted for an early shot but Wildig blocked it and Jones scooped it clear. The loose ball eventually broke for Leon McSweeney and he let one go from 28 yards when he spotted an opening to exploit. He caught it on the rise and it whisked over the bar.
The home side broke quickly from the goal kick and Adam Reach popped an early cross towards the near post. Bradshaw got a flick but Livesey was in the way and the rebound bounced away to safety.
Adam Reach was a thorn in the side and two set piece deliveries had to be defended as Parry and Bradshaw lurked. Livesey and O’Hanlon combined to snuff out the danger and hook the ball clear.
More slick play from the lively Matt Robson left Woods on the floor as he twisted his way down the left flank. Townsend’s cross on the overlap invited Amoo to make a run and Jones had to react to clear the ball away. Thirlwell was on had to clip it back into the box and Weale reacted quickly to smother it as it bounced invitingly in his six-yard back following a flick from Amoo.
The Shrews showed glimpses of nice play but Carlisle went close again when Amoo cut in from the right. His shot was pushed away but United kept the pressure on with more neat touches in and around the area. Amoo was once more the outlet and he fed the ball to Beck with his back to goal. The big striker spun but his decision to hesitate allowed Jones to block the volley.
And the visitors were a whisker away from opening their account for the day on 21 minutes when Berrett pulled wide for a set piece. Amoo rolled it into his path and his cross found Robson’s intelligent movement at the front stick. Weale was beaten but the header looped agonisingly wide of the far post.
Shrewsbury found their stride just before the break and their half-hearted appeals for a penalty were turned down as Livesey slid in to dispossess Taylor when he streaked into the box at pace.
A string of corners followed and blocks from Thirlwell and O’Hanlon served only to delay the inevitable when Taylor picked up a loose half clearance before feeding it through the back line. Tom Bradshaw was in acres of space and his shot on the half turn found the bottom corner despite a strong touch from Mark Gillespie.
United should have been back on level terms with their first attack after the restart when substitute David Symington curled lovely cross into the box. Matt Robson met it on the full on the penalty spot but he couldn’t control the volley and it fizzed harmlessly into the stands.
It was suddenly end-to-end and Bradshaw was disappointed when he mistimed an attempt at an overhead kick when Reach sent yet another good cross into the danger area. Parry was then guilty of poor finishing when he headed well wide after Reach had once more done the donkey work.
The Cumbrians went close when the in-form David Amoo rose highest to meet a Berrett set piece. The keeper was beaten but Aaron Wildig was well placed on the line to head it clear.
Both sides picked up the pace and a sliding challenge from Jacobson almost provided an unlikely goal as his toe poke to stop Amoo in his tracks bobbled tantalisingly past Weale. The angry stopper was relieved to see it go wide.
Carlisle then almost committed defensive suicide when Townsend passed the ball straight to Jon Taylor. He couldn’t believe his luck and he immediately pulled the trigger with the defence at sixes and sevens. A firm parry from the Carlisle stopper left Bradshaw with a chance but he put his follow up header well wide of the upright.
Reach tried to extend the lead moments later with another mazy run which took his past two hopeful tackles. He shot low but Gillespie watched it all the way.
The visitors changed their shape and took control of the game once more and the deserved equaliser finally came with just four minutes to go as United flooded the box for a Berrett set piece. Robson kept the loose ball alive and David Amoo made it seven for the season as he gobbled up the loose pieces and crunched it into the roof of the net.
An amazing final three minutes saw Carlisle grab the lead when a delighted Sean O’Hanlon thumped another inch perfect Berrett corner past the stranded back line.
But Shrewsbury levelled it almost from the restart when Paul Parry waited as McSweeney and O’Hanlon were left stranded by the slightest of touches from a hopeful ball forward. He took the ball on to the edge and the box and slid it under Gillespie to give his side a share of the spoils.
Shrews - Bradshaw (40), Parry (90)
United - Amoo (86), O'Hanlon (90)
Shrews - Weale (75)
Shrewsbury Town - Weale, Jacobson, Summerfield, Jones, Bradshaw, Taylor, Wildig, Mkandawire, Parry, Woods, Reach. Subs - Anyon, McAllister, McQuade, Marsden, Goldson, Smith
Carlisle United - Gillespie, McSweeney, Livesey (Potts 79), O'Hanlon, Thirlwell, Noble (Eccleston 56), Berrett, Amoo, Beck (Symington 46), Robson. Subs - Fleming, Gillies, Lynch, Brough.
Referee - Mr Andrew Madley
Attendance - 5,215 (364)