It was the trip to Meadow Lane for United on Tuesday night and they were involved in an entertaining encounter which saw them create chances and push their hosts all the way.

But in the end it was the two first half goals bagged by the home side which proved to be enough to take the spoils.

County mounted a quick counter-attack from their own half early in the game and a deep ball to the back post found Noble in space. He opted to guide it back across goal but Parkes made a vital block.

A free kick from Collin tested the back line once more as Stead flicked it on, but the blue shirts came together to smother the danger. United responded with a good attack of their own when Twardek found space on the right. His cross went just past Stockton and had to be put behind for a corner.

The visitors stayed forward from a half clearance from the resulting set piece and Brown sent another good cross into the mix. Duffy watched it and helped it behind before Hope could get a touch.

It was a good spell for United, and Etuhu had a shot blocked at source as Lambe found him with a touch inside the box. Lambe then went on a run of his own and he was impressive as he beat two before cutting the ball back. Unfortunately for him it rolled behind the advancing attackers.

The Carlisle goal then led a charmed life when a Jones corner was nodded down by Stead. Bonham was off his line and beaten, but Parkes was behind him to hack it away. It was quickly recovered but Ameobi could do nothing with the fizzed cross as it came at him at pace. His touch sent the ball spinning to safety.

A run of quality corners caused Carlisle problems, as the Magpies camped forward, but a punch from Bonham brought the flurry to a close. Penalty appeals from Noble were also ignored as he went falling to the ground.

The Cumbrians had a half chance of their own when Twardek hooked a loose ball over his shoulder and into the area. It eventually fell to Devitt but he completely missed his shot and County were able to clear their lines.

The best chance of an entertaining opening 15 minutes came when Tootle exchanged passes with Ameobi to get into the area. It was a tight angle and he clipped his shot on the run wide of the upright.

A failure to use the ball inside their own half cost the visitors dear on 19 minutes as Alessandra found time to cut inside and eat up space when United gifted their hosts with possession. His slide rule pass was perfect for Stead, and the big forward didn't disappoint as he took a touch to set the ball for a fierce shot, which found the back of the net via a valiant effort at a save from Bonham.

Carlisle rallied and they missed an excellent opportunity to pull level after good work by Hope on the left wing. His cross found Lambe, and his blocked shot sat up for Devitt to strike on the volley. He connected well but he put too much on it and dragged it wide of the target.

And the Blues thought they'd equalised on 32 minutes when Twardek picked out Hope inside the area. He dropped a shoulder and bent the ball at the far post, but the slightest of touches from Jones was enough to take it behind Devitt and Lambe as they arrived to do some damage at the far post.

The clearance from the corner invited Etuhu to volley and his effort shaved the top of the bar as Collin kept a close eye on it.

It was the Magpies who celebrated again on 35 minutes when a corner brought Bonham off his line. A ruck of players battled for the ball from his punch, as it sat loose inside the area, and it was Jon Stead who said thank you very much as he was able to smash it over the unguarded line from close range.

A run from Hope took him into the area as Carlisle looked to bite back, but his first shot struck Twardek and ricocheted away to safety. He came again, using the same route, and was disappointed to see a curling shot whisk just past the far corner.

The half ended with defensive headers from Liddle, Hill and Brown as they tried to guide it to their keeper, but which only caused panic as Stead closed in. The final touch from Brown took the ball over Bonham, but the home striker couldn't reach it as it skipped off the greasy surface.

Mark Ellis came on to replace James Brown after the break, with Gary Liddle shuffling across to right back, but it was the Magpies who showed first with a cross from the left from Alessandra. Bonham parried it and Etuhu helped it on its way.

United should have done better at the other end when Hope went on an overlap into the box. He tried to clip the ball to the far post but it had too much on it and County were able to hook it away.

Carlisle stayed forward and Hope had Collin well beaten with a volley on the turn which took the stopper by surprise. It hit the post and was put behind once more.

A deeper corner brought Collin out to punch and the loose ball from his touch invited another firm effort from Parkes. The rebound from that block was followed up by a crisp shot from substitute Mike Jones which hit a leg and spooned high into the air. Collin backtracked to push it onto the woodwork and Ellis was thwarted by another good block as the back of the net begged to be bulged.

The Cumbrians pushed to get back in the game but Lambe was denied by Collin when he came through a tackle and ran into the area. The keeper spread himself to stop what looked a certain goal. County broke as the ball came clear and Ameobi was suddenly one-on-one with Bonham. The keeper stayed big and made the save with his feet.

More danger came from the set piece when Ameobi stole a march at the front post. His glanced header appeared to come off Parkes as it then spun onto the bar.

United got the lifeline they deserved with 15 minutes left to play and it was a superb introduction for Ashley Nadesan as his first contribution was to get the ball under control. His pass for Devitt was inch perfect and the midfielder made it four goals in four games with a deflected finish from the edge of the area.

Parkes sent a measured effort at the County keeper late in the day, when he put his boot through a lay-off from Hope, and a header from Ellis from a Devitt corner dropped onto the roof of the net as United tried to get something from the game.

The late pressure was all Carlisle, as they pressed forward through the seven minutes of time added on, but they couldn't find the finish they needed and it was a return to winning ways for the Magpies.



Notts County - Stead (19, 35)

Carlisle United - Devitt (75)



Notts County - Noble (62), Husin (79), Duffy (79), Alessandra (81)



Notts County - Collin, Tootle, Hewitt (Grant 82), Duffy, Alessandra, Ameobi (Forte 82), Noble, Husin, Jones, Hall, Stead. Subs - Fitzsimons, Dickinson, Virtue, Hunt, Walker.

Carlisle United - Bonham, Brown (Ellis 46), Liddle, Hill, Parkes, Lambe, Etuhu (Jones 63), Devitt, Twardek (Nadesan 74), Stockton, Hope. Subs - Gray, Campbell-Ryce, Bennett, O'Sullivan.


Referee - Darren Drysdale 

Attendance - 3,889 (243 away fans)

Read Time: 7 mins