United secure league status ...
Carlisle United secured their League Two status with a fantastic performance against play-off chasers Plymouth as two of the experienced heads came to the fore with well taken goals either side of the break.
Gary Dicker and Billy Paynter took the plaudits for the goals but it was another massive team effort as every player did his job and earned the right to take another vital three points.
Plymouth started on the front foot and two corners had to be defended as the visitors went for near post deliveries. A half clearance from the second set piece was picked up by Bobby Reid but he drilled a wild shot into the side netting.
A wayward pass from Rigg from the goal kick allowed Plymouth to build again and Alessandra did well as it was fizzed at him with his back to goal. He took it down and shot on the spin but a deflection took it wide.
Carlisle soaked up the early pressure and should have taken the lead on 10 minutes when Asmaoh worked hard to keep possession on the edge of the area. He moved off his man and unleashed a powerful effort which struck Nelson before it fell kindly for the unmarked Steven Rigg. He took a touch on the penalty spot and tried to clip it past the advancing Luke McCormick but the big keeper got a vital touch which sent it onto the inside of the post. Jones rushed his clearance as it rebounded in front of him, and Rigg was presented with a second chance which spun past the angle of post and bar as Nelson made a second important intervention.
United were almost undone by a huge kick forward when Alessandra reacted first to pick it up. He carried it across the face of goal and turned neatly to create space for a pass. Reuben Reid called for it but he swept a miscued effort well wide when he had options left and right.
The Cumbrians survived half an appeal for a penalty as Plymouth attacked down the left flank. Alessandra appeared to be clipped as he stepped away from Atkinson but the referee immediately waved play on. O'Connor was in space but his shot was right at the alert Mark Gillespie.
United grabbed the lead just before the half hour when Rigg pulled into acres of space on the left. His cross spun up off a boot and Nelson had to stretch to clear it out of the box. Gary Dicker checked his run and bagged his first goal for the club in spectacular fashion as his volleyed scissor kick spun up off the surface and skipped into the roof of the net.
Carlisle looked comfortable but the Pilgrims almost equalised from nowhere when Dennis whipped a cross into the box. Reuben Reid couldn't get there but Gillespie had to react late to save low as it threatened to creep in at the back stick.
The Cumbrians came out of the second half blocks at real pace and they doubled their lead when a ball forward from Atkinson was contested by Dempsey. His touch put Billy Paynter clear and he kept his cool to draw the keeper and score his first league goal for the club in some style.
United looked confident and Dempsey brought another save from McCormick when he combined with Potts before striking a firm shot from distance.
Paynter popped a header at the keeper as Carlisle stayed on the front foot, and O'Hanlon thought he'd sealed the victory when he connected with a Young cross late in the day. McCormick somehow made the parry as he saw it late.
Potts was there for the rebound and he was disappointed to see his thunderbolt go behind as it went through bodies and shaved the outside of the upright.
The Pilgrims had a late goal ruled out for a push but that was nothing more than a sideshow as the Blue Army celebrated a fine win and a very good performance.
United - Dicker (29), Paynter (50)
Plymouth - R Reid (56)
Carlisle United - Gillespie, Young, O'Hanlon, Atkinson, Grainger, Brough, Dempsey, Kennedy, Dicker (Corry 73), Rigg (Paynter 34), Asamoah (Potts 19). Subs - Hanford, Buddle, Beck, Griffith.
Plymouth - McCormick, Nelson, Alessandra, R Reid (Ansah 60), Blizzard, Dennis, McHugh (Brunt 60), B Reid, O'Connor, Jones (Cox 60), Hartley. Subs - Bitner, Mellor, Purrington, Banton.
Referee - Mr Geoff Eltringham
Attendance - 4,651 (538 away fans)