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MATCH REPORT: Stevenage 1 - 3 United

21 September 2013

Stats and facts from the game

Carlisle United made it two wins in two for caretaker manager Graham Kavanagh with a fantastic away performance and a thoroughly deserved three points.

Miller, Robson and Amoo bagged the all-important goals but it was a confident and often eye-catching team display which will take the headlines as United climbed into mid-table off the back of two very good weeks.

“We came here with a game plan and it has worked for us,” Kavanagh said. “The lads need to take a pat on the back for that because they are the ones who have gone out there and done it. We’ve asked them to play with freedom and confidence and to a man they were absolutely fantastic. We couldn’t have asked for any more from them.”

Stevenage almost struck first in what was a tense start to the game when a hopeful ball forward bounced awkwardly on the edge of the box. Tounkara nipped in to nick it but he lost his balance and his mishit shot bobbled well wide.

United started to play their football and a neat free kick from Thirlwell found Lee Miller in a good position. He connected well with the header but Day plucked it from beneath his bar. 

The Cumbrians thought they’d grabbed the lead with 13 minutes on the clock when Noble cut inside from the left flank. His shot was blocked at source but ricocheted kindly for Matt Robson as he overlapped on the left. He unleashed a powerful volley and a touch off David Gray was enough to divert it away from a diving Lee Miller at the far post. 

Frustration grew on the home terraces as Carlisle dominated possession and Luke Freeman responded with a decisive run down the left touchline. Gillespie kept his eye on the cross as he dropped low to smother it. 

Stevenage looked like a side lacking in confidence and they were relieved once more when Robson fizzed a powerful free kick into the box. Amoo tried to reach it but it flew behind as it needed just the merest of touches.

The Cumbrians took a deserved lead on 27 minutes when the alert David Amoo robbed Deacon of possession deep inside the Stevenage half. He immediately raced to the edge of the box and his low delivery invited Robson to shoot. Chris Day parried it but Lee Miller was on the spot to toe poke his first of the season over the line.

A stumble from Robin Shroot left the officials with a decision to make when he fell to the floor inside the box but a signal to play on sparked another Carlisle attack. And they should have doubled their lead when Amoo and Berrett combined to forge a path through the ragged back line. Amoo peeled off his marker and into the area but he scuffed his volley wide when he had the width of the target to aim at. 

United had to defend in numbers as Boro threw men forward in time added on ahead of the break and a shot from Tansey had to be watched as it spun just wide. 

Stevenage looked much more determined at the start of the second half and a Freeman free kick brought panic as it bounced awkwardly on the six yard line. Townsend reacted first to hook it behind as Tounkara finally showed an interest. The same man made himself available for the inswinging corner delivery but Gillespie make a fine block from the point-blank header at the base of his near post.

The big Carlisle stopper was suddenly the busier of the two keepers and he did well to get to a well taken Freeman free kick as it dipped over the wall. And he had to block again when Shroot skipped through a challenge to gibe Tounkara another clear sight of the net.

Referee Andy Davies took centre stage on 58 minutes when he waved played on as strong appeals for a Carlisle penalty rang in his ears with Matt Robson convinced that his header had been blocked by a hand. The home side broke quickly and the man in the middle pointed to the spot when Freeman came under pressure from behind from Archibald-Henville. Greg Tansey placed the ball and sent Gillespie the wrong way to level the scores.

Boro looked lively and a sliding tackle from Dunne robbed Paul Thirlwell of possession as he tried to build from the back. Luke Freeman had space for a shot and he was left with his head in his hands as his firm effort rattled the outside of the upright with the keeper well beaten.

Doughty then whisked a wicked cross into the mix but the strikers were on their heels and O’Hanlon guided it away. The Cumbrians weathered the storm and applied some pressure of their own with Noble and Symington going close with shots from distance. 

And it was a lovely pass from midfielder Liam Noble which allowed Matt Robson to take a run at his marker. The wide man cut back inside and restored the lead with a lovely right footed finish into the bottom corner past the dive of the very frustrated Chris Day.

The game could have been settled with the very next attack when Symington arrived late in the area. He connected with a firm volley from just three yards out and he wheeled away in disbelief as it bounced high off the top of the bar.

But he made amends moments later when he led a quickfire break from a misplaced Boro corner. His pace took him away from the stretched defence but he again found the woodwork with a shot which curled away at just the wrong moment. Despair turned quickly to celebration as David Amoo gobbled up the rebound to score his fifth goal of the season. 

Mark Gillespie earned his corn with two excellent saves as the game ticked into time added on. His first, a block from Tounkara, was eclipsed in style by the second as he met a thundering Freeman free kick with two hands just as it threatened to cross the line.



Stevenage - Tansey (58 pen)

United - Miller (27), Robson (77), Amoo (84)



Stevenage - Freeman (45), Doughty (69)

United - Berrett (50), Symington (87), Townsend (90), Noble (90), Robson (90)



Stevenage - Day, Ashton, Dunne, Burrow (Shroot 34), Freeman, Tansey (Smith 82), Tounkara, Gray, Doughty, Hartley, Deacon (Hills 46). Subs - Arnold, Wedgbury, Jones, Heslop.

Carlisle United - Gillespie, McSweeney, Archibald-Henville, O'Hanlon, Townsend, Thirlwell, Noble, Berrett (Symington 75), Robson, Miller (Beck 52), Amoo. Subs - Fleming, Livesey, Potts, James, Guy.


Referee - Andy Davies

Attendance - 2,526 (tbc away fans)

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