Late equaliser stuns the Blues ...
Walsall broke United hearts with a late equaliser which robbed the Cumbrians of the three points they needed from what was a tight game at Brunton Park.
It was a very open start to the game with Walsall able to mount an early attack when Chimbonda misplaced a pass in midfield. Sawyers pounced and broke forward and it needed a challenge from Chantler to force a corner. The delivery was half cleared and Mantom was disappointed when he screwed a poor volley wide from 14 yards.
Carlisle responded with a long ball forward and Amoo and Madine combined to leave Potts with space. He took it into the box but he couldn't keep his shot from a tight angle down.
Possession switched back to the red shirts and a defence splitting pass from Mantom left Sawyers with a clear run at the target. He poked his shot at the far corner but Pickford parried it and Thirlwell was able to clear.
The Cumbrians stepped up the pace and Symington battled for a lost cause as the ball appeared to be running out. His touch kept it in but two attempts at finding a shot were blocked at source by brave defending.
The home crowd responded to the fast flowing tempo and their encouragement brought an excellent spell from the home side. And they almost took the lead when a Symington free kick brought a firm header back across the face of goal from Meppen-Walter. Noble was in space and it needed a good save from O'Donnell to stop it from finding the roof of the net.
But Carlisle weren't to be denied and neat hold up play from Madine gave Liam Noble another opportunity to creep to the edge of the box. He called for it and unleashed a fantastic shot which bounced off the upright and into the back of the net via the hapless keeper's shoulder.
Walsall crept back into it and Brandy was disappointed when he nodded a free header into the stands when he had time on his side. And Pickford was at his best when Butler made a deep free kick his own at the back stick. The thundering header had goal written all over it until an outstretched hand tipped it away.
Mantom was next to try his luck with a rasping shot from 35 yards which Pickford had to hold. And his huge kick brought a flick from Madine which had Amoo interested. He tried to bully his way through but the defender did just enough to shepherd the ball away.
It was United who looked the most likely as the first half ticked on and Amoo beat his man to set Potts up for the shot. The connection was crisp and O'Dpnnell did well to get a hand to it and push it onto the bar.
Carlisle survived a scare right at the start of the second half when Pickford raced out of his box to challenge for a long ball forward with Sawyers. The big striker took it past him but his touch was heavy and he was forced wide. The blue shirts recovered and Thirlwell hooked the cross clear as Brandy tried to make it count.
Dave Symington sent a 30 yard free kick over the bar as United tried to assert some authority but Walsall looked confident as they stroked the ball around in midfield. And it almost paid off when Sawyers went shoulder to shoulder with Meppen-Walter as he picked up on a through ball. A grass cutting strike on the run needed another touch from Pickford as it threatened to find its way in.
Brandy showed a greedy streak as he twice went for glory when he had options left and right and the visitors when close when Ngoo rolled his man and shot early. Noble blocked it and Mantom wheeled away in frustration when his follow up rattled back off the base of the post. McQuilken was first to the rebound but he couldn't keep his volley down as the defenders raced out to narrow the angles.
The game became end to end with both sides pushing for a goal and Carlisle almost wrapped things up when Noble got onto a loose ball in midfield. He shot from distance and was left with his head in his hands as it thumped the top of the bar.
All of the good Carlisle work was undone with seven minutes left to play when Ngoo was left to challenge for a corner. His header looped over the defenders in attendance and dropped into the back of the net.
The fans urged their side on through a tense close to the game but Walsall closed ranks and it was with disappointment that their players fell to the floor when the final whistle blew.
United - Noble (13)
Walsall - Ngoo (82)
United - Noble (51)
Walsall - Mantom (20), J Chambers (60), Ngoo (80)
Carlisle United - Pickford, Symington, Chimbonda, Meppen-Walter (Brown 56), Chantler, Thirlwell, Noble, Potts, Berrett, Amoo (Byrne 85), Madine. Subs - Fleming, Robson, Miller, Redmond, Novo.
Walsall - O'Donnell, Taylor, Butler, A Chambers, Mantom, Downing, J Chambers, Baxendale (Ngoo 65), Sawyers, McQuilken (Morris 73), Brandy (Bakayoko 83). Subs - Featherstone, Lewis, Benning, George.
Referee - Mr Darren Drysdale
Attendance - 4,389 (291 away fans)