MATCH REPORT: The long trip south for the Blues

It was one of the longest trips of the season for United this weekend as they made the journey to Crawley for their latest League Two fixture.

The game started slowly as both sides battled for the upper hand but Parkes had to be on his toes with just five minutes on the clock when Poleon broke into the box. A toe poke from the defender allowed Collin to drop down to smother the danger.

But Crawley bagged the lead on eight minutes when a huge clearance from defence dropped behind Gerrard. The bounce allowed Poleon to take control and he strode forward to pick his spot.

Collin was in action again when Gambin ghosted in from the right to shoot from the edge of the area. It had power but the keeper was well placed to stop it.

United thought they'd equalised when Devitt used a short-corner routine to create a better angle for a cross. Morris got a touch when it curled at him, but it fell nicely for Parkes to volley. He caught it well but the keeper got enough on it, as he dived low, to divert it behind.

Good football followed from the Blues as they kept the ball well in the middle area. Grainger overlapped and his low cross was just an inch behind Hope as he made his way into the box.

The Cumbrians deservedly equalised when a great ball into the box from the left flank was touched on by Morris. Nadesan smashed a fierce volley through bodies and Jerry Yates was there to make it two goals in two games as he nodded the rebound into the empty net from close range.

Carlisle came again moments later when Yates beat the offside trap to bear down on goal. Morris stayed big to make a good block, but Devitt nicked possession to spark another attack. Nadesan did well to get there and his touch took him past the committed keeper. It was a tight angle and his hurried back heel bobbled into the side netting.

Things settled after what had been a frantic spell and a shot from Hallam Hope from 24 yards rose high and sailed out of the stands. Crawley pushed forward from the goal kick and Gambin pulled off a shoulder to find room to shoot. Collin shadowed it and made an excellent save as he dropped low to palm it away.

Crawley caused problems for themselves ahead of the break when a cross from Liddle invited Hope to challenge. Defender George Francomb put his hands all over the United forward and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot as the pair hit the floor. Captain Danny Grainger did the rest with an unstoppable penalty kick. 

The lead lasted just three minutes as the Red Devils threw men forward in response. A low cross somehow got to Poleon and his touch created room to work space for a shot. Collin was left with no chance as a thunderbolt from close range flew into the top corner.

Carlisle almost committed defensive suicide with just 46 seconds on the second half clock as Gerrard underhit a back pass to Collin. Poleon was onto it in a flash, and in acres of space, but he hesitated for just long enough to give the defender time to make up the space and complete a much-needed tackle.

A cross on the spin from Devitt was met by a run across the near post from Yates as United regained domination, but his touch took the ball behind. Crawley were too casual as they tried to play their way out and that proved to be their downfall as Devitt took over. His whipped pass was taken well by Jack Sowerby and he set himself for a shot as it opened up in front of him. Morris dived but he could do nothing as it struck the inside of the post and flew into the net.

It was suddenly all about the visitors and Morris was excellent as he jumped high to touch a fierce free kick from Devitt over the bar. A string of corners followed and Morris had to be at his best once again when Devitt sat deep for another set piece routine. Grainger rolled it into his path and a curling shot was going in until the home keeper dived long to tip it past the upright.

Having shown little in the second half Crawley almost equalised late in the day when Liddle gave the ball away in a bad area. The box was flooded but a shot from the cross was blocked and put behind. Carlisle broke from the corner and a rasping effort from Devitt was parried by Morris. Hope swept the loose ball into the net but the flag was up for offside.

Hearts were in mouths at the other end when a Payne free kick looped over the wall and bounced in front of Collin. The keeper spilled it, but blue shirts were there to help him out and to guide it behind to safety.

United survived a late scare when Grego Cox got on the end of a ball into the area just four yards out. He hung a boot at it, but he failed to get the connection and Collin was able to gather.

The ball had to be cleared off the line as McNerny got a head to a late corner, but United saw it through to claim another excellent away win.



Crawley Town - Poleon (8, 40)

Carlisle United - Yates (14), Grainger (37 pen), Sowerby (56)



Crawley Town - Francomb (37), Payne (58), McNerny (63)

Carlisle United - Yates (12)



Crawley Town - Morris, Payne, McNerney, Poleon, Gambin, Francomb, Nathaniel-George, Maguire, Bulman, Camara (Grego Cox 77), N'Gala. Subs - Mersin, Doherty, Connolly, Sesay, Allarakhia.

Carlisle United - Collin, Liddle, Gerrard, Parkes, Grainger, Yates, Sowerby, Etuhu, Devitt (Slater 87), Hope, Nadesan. Subs - Gray, Miller, Jones, Glendon, Bennett, Campbell.


Referee - Mr Nicholas Kinseley

Attendance - 2,176 (323 away fans)

Read Time: 5 mins