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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: United 1 - 2 Port Vale

Report from the Saturday afternoon home game

16 December 2017

It was back to League Two action again for the Blues as they welcomed Port Vale to Brunton Park on Saturday afternoon.

And it was the Valiants who took the points as they also took full advantage of hesitant second half defending to score twice and secure the victory, despite a late fight back sparked by the arrival of captain Danny Grainger from the bench.

The Blues started on the front foot as they kept the ball well in the Port Vale half with a combination of good movement and positive play. O'Sullivan and Joyce exchanged passes neatly and the former tried his luck with a shot from distance when he wriggled his way through two challenges. It had power but it went too high.

Carisle stayed in the driving seat as Bennett and Lambe caused problems with their forward runs, and they thought they'd found a way through when a header from Hill bounced over Anderson for Lambe to chase. He carried the ball on, and fed it to Bennett, but the striker dragged his shot wide as he made space on the edge of the box.

Right back Tom Miller was next to have a go when Lambe reacted quickly to pick up the loose pieces when his initial shot was blocked. He rolled it wide and into space but a skewed attempt sailed into the distance.

More good football, backed up by determination in the challenge, saw Hope and Bennett exchange passes with their backs to goal inside the box. It eventually came to Lambe but his first-time volley whipped just past the upright.

Almost every player got to touch the ball midway through the half when the hosts worked their way from defence to attack with patience and accuracy. O'Sullivan was eventually released on the left flank and he beat his man to put the ball into the box. It angled behind Bennett but it was just too far in front of Hope as he slid in to get a touch. He made the connection but it was easy for Boot to save.

Tricky stuff from Whitfield gave the Valiants their first meaningful attack ahead of the break when he somehow came through three tackles in quick succession with the ball at his feet. He opted to shoot early but Liddle was there to make block.

The visitors grew in confidence and Whitfield surged forward once more when a home move broke down deep inside the opposition half. He had Harness in support, and he unleashed a thumping drive as he burst into the box. Bonham was comfortable and he watched it all the way as it sailed over the bar.

Visiting tails were up as they finished the half on top and another good run from Harness left him with room to cross. It went behind for the corner, and a back post delivery from that caught United flat-footed. Pope nodded it down and Tonge was left with his head in his hands as his shot on the turn took a deflection and hit the bar.

Carlisle looked lively as they came out of the second half blocks firing on all cylinders and Vale had to deal with deliveries from O'Sullivan and Jones as the Blues pushed on. Hope had a shot blocked when he got on the end of a lovely pass from Bennett, and Joyce put a 17-yard header right at Boot when Parkes picked him out.

The Blues looked to be in the driving seat but they found themselves a goal down when Hill played the ball to Jones, under pressure. Substitute Tyrone Barnett made his first contribution of the day count as he stole the ball and slotted it past the stranded Jack Bonham.

Worrall sent one right at Bonham as Vale grew in stature, and Pope had to be closely monitored when he tried to make room when Pugh sent a pinpoint pass into his path.

United boss Keith Curle made a double change, throwing pace into the mix with the additions of Shaun Miller and Jamie Devitt, but it was the home goal under threat as Worrall and Pope tried their luck.

And the Valiants extended their lead when Carlisle were ripped apart when a cross from Reggie Lambe was cut out and sent forward. Two passes later Tom Pope was clean through on goal and he made no mistake as he lifted it over Bonham to send the away contingent wild.

The Blues were denied a goal when effervescent substitute Danny Grainger curled an excellent delivery for Bennett to head. It somehow stayed out as it crashed back off the woodwork and Shaun Miller was also denied when his close-range follow-up was palmed away by Boot.

Grainger forced another excellent save out of stopper Boot when he somehow dipped a 23-yard free kick over the wall. The keeper leaped up and tipped it over the bar.

But United got right back in it when Grainger sent the corner deep for Tom Miller to head. He put it on a plate for Richie Bennett and the big striker bulged the roof of the net with a thumping volley.

The impressive Ryan Boot was in action again when a bending shot from Lambe threatened to creep in. The keeper saw it late but he did enough to send it over the target.



Carlisle United - Bennett (80)

Port Vale - Barnett (49), Pope (69)



Carlisle United - Bonham, Liddle, Hill, Parkes (Grainger 75), T Miller, O'Sullivan (S Miller 59), Jones (Devitt 59), Joyce, Lambe, Hope, Bennett. Subs - Bacon, Cosgrove, Brown, Etuhu.

Port Vale - Boot, Anderson, Kay, Harness, Pugh, Pope, Worrall, Smith, Whitfield (Denton 70), Tonge (Barnett 46), Gunning. Subs - Lainton, Denton, Forrester, Reeves, Turner, Kelly.


Referee - Michael Salisbury

Attendance - 4,090 (214 away fans)

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