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Match Reports

REPORT: United 3 - 1 Accrington

Match report from the Boxing Day home game

26 December 2017

Accrington Stanley were the festive visitors to Brunton Park on Boxing Day.

And manager Keith Curle went with an unchanged starting line-up for the third consecutive fixture as he looked to build on a recent good run of form.

The tactic worked as Carlisle overcame a sticky patch at the start of the second half to claim three points from another very entertaining performance.

The play was confined to the middle of the park for much of the opening ten minutes, with little to show between both sides as every attempt to get forward was cut out by attentive defending.

That changed when a ball wide to Clark was fed on for Kee to shield. He rolled it back outside the area but McConville was off balance and his wild effort sailed high over the bar.

Carlisle bit back immediately with an incisive attack which tore Accrington apart. Hallam Hope did the hard work when he controlled a high ball forward expertly on the end of his toe. He needed strength and guile to twist away from three defenders, and the reverse pass that followed was perfect for Jamie Devitt to run on to. The keeper raced out to close the angles but he could do nothing as the winger clipped a lovely finish over his dive and into the bottom corner.

United came again with another good move which saw Brown and Liddle work a way down the left flank. Brown then fed it inside for Bennett, and he cushioned a pass for Lambe to cross. Devitt arrived late but he couldn't quite get enough on his stretch as he tried to volley the ball past the stopper at the near post.

Stanley had half a chance when McConville floated a deep free kick into the mix midway through the half. Hughes got a headed flick to it but his touch took it wide of the mark.

A strong run down the left wing from Parkes, assisted by Grainger, gave him the chance to cross early and he didn't disappoint as he whipped the ball at the penalty spot. Hope had to readjust to try to get to the volley but he couldn't quite get his boot there in time.

Accrington started to pass the ball better as the half hour mark approached, but they were left feeling frustrated when a good passage of play was brought to an end by a weak McConville shot.

The hosts got forward again with purpose when Parkes was once more released on the left, but his lobbed cross was eventually cleared out of the box. Devitt picked up the loose pieces and Chapman had to watch closely as a thumped effort skipped off the surface and into his hands.

Danny Grainger then rifled a free kick from a very tight angle into the side netting as he used Lambe to help him to make it more of a prospect.

The Cumbrians should have doubled their lead just before the break when more eye-catching football left Stanley flat-footed. Hope wriggled his way past the attentions of three challenges in midfield and then did everything right with a neat ball into the box. That ran through to Devitt but he put too much on his clip and it swirled agonisingly over the bar.

Having had absolutely nothing to do, Bonham brought the stadium to its feet when he was left one-on-one with Wilks, following a lapse of concentration in midfield. The keeper led with his feet and stopped the run in its tracks with an excellently timed tackle.

Clark swiped a miscued volley wide from distance as Stanley picked up the pace, heading into the break, and Parkes whistled one just over at the other end when he stopped a blocked effort from Grainger before putting his boot through it to have go from 20-yards out.

Stanley were handed the chance to get back into the contest with just 58 seconds on the second half clock when Parkes struggled to deal with a ball over the top, as Jackson chased him down. Trickery from a first touch from the visiting man forced a challenge and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot as he tumbled to the floor. Billy Kee did the rest from the spot.

Striker Hallam Hope had half a sight to restore the lead when Chapman and Hughes hesitated as the ball bounced on the edge of the box. A toe poke was headed for the target until the keeper recovered to make a one-handed save.

It was suddenly end-to-end and a difficult delivery was allowed to bounce across the face of goal as Liddle and Hill missed opportunities to deal with it. The ball was eventually hooked clear, much to the relief of the home crowd.

There was another half chance for Carlisle in an all-action spell when a deep corner was headed high by Parkes. It came back at him and another good connection had Chapman worried. He spilled it, but he did enough to stop Bennett from tucking the loose pieces away as the pair battled for the ball on the floor.

Bennett rattled a shot wide from distance as he tried to take matters into his own hands, and United missed another golden opportunity when a lovely cross from Grainger bounced free for Hope to strike. It needed to hit the target but he lost his bearings and sent it into the night sky.

The Blues started to play their football and Hope and Grainger combined to pick their way into the area. Hope then slid it for Jones to strike but he pulled his first-time effort and Chapman remained untroubled.

It was a game finely balanced and Jackson felt he should have done better when Kee fed him with an inside pass. He dropped a shoulder and opted for power and it shaved the outside of the upright.

Captain Danny Grainger curled a 23-yard free kick over the angle of post and bar as United tried to dictate the pace, and Lambe flashed a volley wide after he'd controlled a half clearance on his chest on the penalty spot.

If you missed Shaun Miller's contender for Goal of the Year earlier this season - he produced an almost carbon copy to put his side back in front with just over ten minutes left to play. A neat bit of control on his chest, with his back to goal, was followed by a volley on the spin which left Chapman with no chance as it sailed into his bottom corner.

Carlisle were suddenly dominant again and Mike Jones was close to a screamer of his own when the ball was rolled into his path. His shot had pace and power but he was exasperated when he saw it crash back off the post.

The move stayed alive with Devitt and Lambe doing everything they could to twist their way through, but it was Danny Grainger who took the applause as he ghosted in to plant a wonderful right footed shot into the waiting net.

That was job done for United, despite the need for Bonham to make another block as the Blues got themselves into a bit of a mix-up when playing out from the back, and they were able to reflect on an excellent festive period so far courtesy of six points and an FA Cup victory.

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Goals

Carlisle United - Devitt (11), S Miller (78), Grainger (83)

Accrington Stanley - Kee (47 pen)

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Bookings 

Accrington Stanley - Kee (64)

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Teams 

Carlisle United - Bonham, J Brown (O'Sullivan 65), Liddle, Hill, Parker, Grainger, Lambe (Etuhu 79), Jones, Devitt, Hope, Bennett (S Miller 65). Subs - Bacon, T Miller, Cosgrove, Ellis. 

Accrington Stanley - Chapman, Hughes, Donacien, Richards-Everton, Nolan, Clark, S Brown, Jackson, McConville, Wilks (Ogle 79), Kee. Subs - Stryjek, McLeod, Sykes, Sousa, Johnson, Conneely.

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Referee - Stephen Martin

Attendance - 5,404 (238 away fans)


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