Hard work brings reward ...
Carlisle United returned to winning ways with a very professional and disciplined performance which served to frustrate their visitors at almost every turn.
Two sides who wanted to pass the ball pinged it around in the opening stages but it was a long throw from Ellis which brought the first chance of the day. Raynes went for the flick on at the front stick and confusion reigned as the ball bounced loose. Ibehre and McQueen tried to get a touch but it wouldn't sit up and Etheridge jumped in to claim it.
United started to boss the midfield and good work from Ibehre brought an unexpected corner as Pearson lost his footing. Gilliead sent the set piece deep and the unmarked Mark Ellis was unlucky as his diving header zipped just past the post.
Defender Michael Raynes had to leave the field of play following a collision with Etheridge on the quarter hour, and Accrington tried to take advantage of the disruption when Mingoia pushed forward. Ellis showed in a defensive role when he dropped deep to head it behind.
Hallam Hope blazed a 23-yard free kick over the target as both sides worked hard to find some flow in their game, but it was a set piece which put the home side in front when Gilliead played it short for Comley. A deep cross was nodded into the danger area by Ellis and a second touch from Jabo Ibehre allowed Charlie Wyke to bag his ninth of the season with a crisp close range crunch.
A through ball from Kee gave McCarten half a sight as he found himself at a tight angle inside the box but Gillespie closed the angles to make the block as the toe poke came in. Conneely was next to go close when he reacted first to get onto a half clearance from McQueen. His shot was rushed and it bent well wide.
The first half efforts from the Cumbrians were rewarded again on 38 minutes when Gillesphey, Wyke and Ibehre combined to rip the back line apart. Newcastle loanee Alex Gilliead was in acres of space and he made no mistake as he took a touch on the edge of the area before he swept the ball under the advancing keeper.
Carlisle almost ended the game as a contest in time added on for the half when Ellis spread the play with a wonderful 40-yard pass. McQueen took it in his stride, beat two, and had Etheridge scrambling as his cross on the run curled onto the woodwork. Buxton was relieved to see his powerful covering header drop kindly for his prostrate stopper as Ibehre closed in.
United went close with just 60 seconds on the second half clock when Gilliead drilled a low free kick into the box. Wyke showed for it and a goal-bound volley was blocked on its way to the back of the net.
The Cumbrians were well in control and Hope beat two to work a one-two with Wyke. Etherdidge was beaten by the shot but Wright was on the line to stop the ball from going in.
The visitors finally fashioned a chance of note on 61 minutes when Buxton sent a ball forward from deep. Striker Kee muscled his way onto it but he couldn’t keep his header down and it dropped onto the roof of the net.
Carlisle had a scare on 70 minutes when a ball into the box was flicked back into the mix at the far post. Gillespie dived long to punch it away and he held his position as a shot from distance deflected off Kee and flew into his hands.
It was better from Accrington but they couldn't quite make things happen and a wayward header from Buxton summed up their afternoon as the ball spun off into the afternoon sky.
Gillespie had to save from a low shot from Crooks as Stanley kept the pressure on and he survived loud appeals for a penalty as Kee went over his hand as he sprinted in on the follow up.
United sat deep and protected their clean sheet through the closing stages and they closed the game out confidently on a very well deserved three points.
United - Wyke (27), Gilliead (38)
United - Ellis (76)
Accrington - Halliday (45), Crooks (58), Kee (90)
Carlisle United - Gillespie, Atkinson, Raynes (Gillesphey 16), Ellis, McQueen, Gilliead (Asamoah 78), Comley, Kennedy, Hope, Wyke, Ibehre (Sweeney 83). Subs - Hanford, Balanta, Archibald-Henville, Thompson.
Accrington Stanley - Etheridge, Pearson, Mingoia, McConville, Crooks (Brown 90), Wright, McCarten (Boco 67), Buxton, Conneely, Kee, Halliday (Wakefield 46). Subs - Davies, Procter, Carver, Mooney.
Referee - Mr Geoff Eltringham
Attendance - 4,709 (184 away fans)