Match report from the Youth Alliance Cup gameCarlisle United progressed to the third round of the Youth Alliance Cup as an own goal from a Carl Taylor free kick and a tap-in from Jack Egan saw them defeat Rotherham United.
After coming agonisingly close on several occasions in the first half, the Cumbrians took the lead when a Taylor free kick deflected wickedly off the wall just past the hour mark.
United then added a second in injury time when a quick break allowed Egan to tap in from close range.
The Blues were keen to progress after beating Lincoln City in the previous round, and started on the front foot.
Captain Matty Douglas had the first chance of an entertaining first half when he steered Taylor’s free-kick narrowly over the bar.
Chances continue to come for the hosts, and persistence down the right from Cameron Salkeld saw him find Max Brown in the area. The striker had time and space to turn his marker but saw his shot well held by the Rotherham goalkeeper.
Jordan Holt was the next to threaten as he sent an effort over from the edge of the area, before Arron Bradbury stung the palms of the keeper moments later with a fierce drive.
Ellis Pearson thought he had given Carlisle the lead after 33 minutes, when a cross-field ball found him in plenty of space. The full back was able to advance into the area but saw his effort from a tight angle well-saved by the Rotherham stopper.
It took until first half stoppage time for Rotherham to really threaten with the Millers’ right winger cutting in before firing towards goal, only to see Morgan Bacon deny him at full stretch.
But the visitors came out of the traps quickly in the second half and forced Bacon into another save within ten minutes of the restart. A corner found a Rotherham centre back in space and Bacon did well to tip his header over the bar.
Two minutes later Rotherham had an even better chance to take the lead. A free kick was drilled into the area and flicked onto the bar before Carlisle could clear the danger.
This let off seemed to galvanise the hosts, who took the lead on 66 minutes. Holt was brought down 25 yards from goal and Taylor stepped up to take the resultant free-kick which deflected past the goalkeeper.
After opening the scoring Carlisle took control and almost doubled their lead with fifteen minutes remaining, but Bradbury’s volley from the edge of the area trickled wide.
Any hopes of a Rotherham equaliser were dealt a blow on 79 minutes when they went down to ten men. After Bradbury had broken clear of the defence he was nudged over by the Millers’ left back who was given his marching orders.
As the game ticked into injury time the Cumbrians added a second when a quick break from a Rotherham corner saw Bradbury surge into the area, and he unselfishly teed up substitute Egan who had the simplest of tap-ins from all of six yards.
Egan’s strike sealed a victory which was the Blues’ fourth on the bounce in all competitions and one which sealed their place in the northern semi final of the Youth Alliance Cup.
United: Bacon, Hurley, Pearson, Taylor, Douglas, Groves (Breen 81), Robson, Brown (Egan 73), Bradbury, Salkeld, Holt
Goals: Taylor [disputed OG] 66, Egan 90