Robson header seals first win ...
Carlisle United picked up their first win of the season courtesy of a rare Matt Robson header which helped the club end a difficult week on a much needed high.
Caretaker manager Graham Kavanagh rung the changes in the starting line up with Lewis Guy, Sean O’Hanlon and Liam Noble returning to the starting line up at the expense of Conor Townsend, Danny Livesey and Brad Potts.
The game started at a cautious pace and it needed a set piece from Matt Robson to create the first opening of the game. Miller nodded it down and Liam Noble was disappointed when he tried a volley from the edge of the area which spun harmlessly away.
A long ball forward was well controlled by Amoo as Carlisle started to settle and quick feet took him past a challenge from Collins tight by the corner flag. A run into the box was followed by a side-footed cross which was just too close to George Long.
The Cumbrians had a decent shout for a penalty turned away when Lewis Guy beat the onrushing keeper to a loose ball in the area. A collision followed but the officials waved the appeals away despite loud shouts from the terraces.
The Blades registered their first effort on target on 21 minutes when a Baxter corner found Neill Collins unmarked on the penalty spot. He should have done better and he wheeled away in disgust as his header dropped onto the roof of the net.
Space in midfield was at a premium but Amoo remained an outlet as he pulled clear to create space on the right flank. He twice beat his man only to see his deliveries fall nicely for the waiting stopper.
A good spell followed for the visitors and a inswinging cross from Baxter was well cleared by Robson at the far post. McMahon recovered it and he was an inch away from putting it on a plate for Ironside as the striker moved smartly and called for the ball.
Striker Lewis Guy called for medical attention when he was left seeing double, following a clash of heads in midfield, and that signalled an introduction for Conor Townsend when it quickly became apparent the front man wasn’t about to recover.
The visitors tried to increase the pressure and a charged down McSweeney clearance gave Ironside unexpected possession, He laid it off for McGinn to pounce and his curler needed a block from O’Hanlon as it headed for the far corner.
United ended the first half on top and Miller pulled away from his marker with men in support. Noble dummied a pass as the play switched inside and Matt Robson tried his luck from distance with a first time shot. Doyle blocked and the ball spun away for a corner.
Archibald-Henville nodded over when Berrett floated it in and Lee Miller had the last say of the half when he turned quickly on a well controlled throw in. He connected well but Long was well-placed to grasp it.
Wide man Matt Robson was right at the heart of United’s goal when he burst from deep, at pace, to take the attack to the visitors in the first meaningful attack of the second half. Maguire stopped him in his tracks, at the expense of a yellow card, and it was Robson who forced a diving save from Long as he crunched the set piece over the wall.
A teasing Berrett corner brought mass confusion and it was Robson who pounced to connect with a header which angled towards the back of the net. The assistant referee immediately signalled that it had crossed the line and the celebrations eventually followed.
Carlisle battled hard to protect their lead and the Blades lacked conviction in the final third as their attempts at incisive football met a stubborn response. And United felt they had another shout for a spot kick when Archibald-Henville stayed forward for a series of corners. He was dragged to the floor but, again, the referee ignored the appeals.
Midfielder Paul Thirlwell scuffed a half-volley right at the keeper as United pressed on but they were opened up on 67 minutes when Taylor back-heeled the ball into McMahon’s path. He tried to pick his spot but Gillespie had it covered as he dived low to watch it away.
The Blades should have levelled the scores when Westlake made it to the by-line and picked a beautiful low cross across the face of goal. All it needed was a touch but Cuvelier and Taylor were too far off the play and the ball skipped harmlessly away.
And McFadzean did the hard work moments later when he weaved his way past McSweeney and into the channel. His cutback found Doyle but he brought howls of derision as he blazed his effort over the bar.
Gillespie saved late from a Cuvelier thunderbolt as the Cumbrians continued to hunt in packs and Archibald-Henville headed over on the run at the other end as the home side tried to kill the game off.
McSweeney pushed forward and ran past two in another late foray but his delivery clipped Maguire and went into the side netting. Gillespie saved another from Cuvelier in an end-to-end finish and David Amoo had the last chance of the day when he arrowed a firm shot right at George Long.
“It just seemed that the omens and the Gods were shining on us and it all came together for us,” caretaker manager Graham Kavanagh said. “I hope the fans see that and they start to feel that they have a huge part to play in getting Brunton Park back to being a fortress.
“Hopefully I’ll be here to help with that, but that’s out of our hands. People have gone away feeling happy and that’s because it’s a victory we all wanted. It’s the first one of the season, with a clean sheet, and we’ve put the marker down now.”
United - Robson (53)
United - Noble (55), Berrett (69), Miller (83), Townsend (90)
Blades - Maguire (52), McFadzean (64)
Carlisle United - Gillespie, McSweeney, O'Hanlon, Archibald-Henville, Robson, Amoo, Thirlwell, Noble (Potts 88), Berrett, Guy (Townsend 33), Miller (Beck 84). Subs - Fleming, Livesey, Gillies, Symington.
Sheffield United - Long, Westlake (Bunn 76), Maguire, Hill, Doyle, Baxter, McGinn (McFadzean 61), Collins, Cuvelier, Ironside (Taylor 61), McMahon. Subs - Howard, Coady, McGinty, Eyre.
Referee - Mr Darren Bond
Attendance - 4,863 (750 away fans)