Youth Alliance Cup fixture match report
Near blizzard conditions and a howling wind set the scene for the young Cumbrian’s comeback win against their South Yorkshire rivals.
The game started slowly with poor conditions not helping either side settle into a rhythm of play. The first goalmouth action arrived on 13 minutes when a Doncaster corner wasn’t held by keeper Danny Eccles. The ball bobbled around in the area but Eccles was quick to claim it at the second attempt before any damage could be done.
Carlisle’s first sight of goal came on 17 minutes when a lovely diagonal ball from White found the overlapping Hurley in line with the Doncaster box. A cushioned header only needed a touch but the Doncaster keeper was off his line quickly to clear away the danger.
More frustration came Carlisle’s way when a fine piece of skill by the ever dangerous Hammell took him past his marker. His whipped cross evaded the onrushing Carlisle players.
A long, hopeful freekick from the halfway line caused a few problems for the Carlisle defenders before it was eventually cleared, only to be met with a sliced volley which looped harmlessly over the Carlisle goal.
The Carlisle defence was soon to be breached, however, when a long ball from the back caught Robson and Marshall on the back foot. The striker nipped into the space, controlled it, and finished it off with a fine, unstoppable shot.
United were almost on equal terms three minutes later when a patient, passing sequence opened a gap in the back line. White exploited the space to slide it through to Hammell, but he had it nicked off his toe just as he shaped top shoot. The half clearance sat nicely for White who took one touch before unleashing a thunderous shot which headed directly for the top corner. The Doncaster keeper flung himself full stretch and palmed it away to deny what would have been a contender for goal of the season.
United started brightly after the break and Elliott turned his man with a good show of pace. He left his marker for dead but shanked his cross high over the bar.
The visitors almost added to their lead when they countered with three against one as Moyes lost possession in midfield. Marshall tracked back and completed a fantastic tackle as he robbed the ball and brought the move to a close.
Carlisle started to press and they had the visiting goal under pressure just before the hour when Hammell and Hurley found crosses into the box. Rovers defended in numbers and eventually hacked the danger clear.
United kept knocking on the door and a Hammell run from deep brought goof movement from Hall. He linked with Hurley and was disappointed as he got onto the end of the return ball, just six yards, only to clip it straight into the keeper’s hands.
Doncaster went close again as they attacked on the counter when their man rounded Eccles just inside the box. He looked to pick his spot but Hurley had recovered and he stretched out a leg to make a vital clearance off the line.
The deserved equaliser finally arrived when another cross by Marshall was met by the big centre half. His weak header dropped to the left foot of Harvey Moyes who stayed calm under pressure and made no mistake in finding the back of the net from 10 yards out.
Moyes nearly added a second moments later when Hammell found him with a reverse pass. He took a touch and fired a thundering shot from distance which the keeper dealt with at the second time of asking.
It became a frantic affair as the snow started to fall heavily and United rode their luck when a cross from the byline bobbled across the face of the target. The game remained in the balance but United pounced on 90 minutes when Hammell went on a run. He moved his defender right and left and smashed a low shot through legs to catch the stopper off guard. He got his hands to it but he could do nothing to prevent it from creeping into the bottom corner.
The final whistle blew on what was a spirited comeback by Carlisle who, in the end, thoroughly deserved their passage through to the next round – a semi-final home game against Wigan Athletic.
United – Eccles, Hurley, Marshall, White, Douglas, Robson, Moyes, Quigley (Taylor 60), Hall, Hammell, Elliott. Subs – Fowler, Bradbury, Pearson, Rudd.
Goals – Moyes (72), Hammell (90)