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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: United 1 - 0 Rovers

Report from the Tuesday night replay

10 December 2019

Head coach Chris Beech took charge of his first home game for the visit of Forest Green Rovers as the sides came together for the second time in the space of 10 days with progression to the third round of the Emirates FA Cup competition up for grabs.

A 2-2 draw at the New Lawn meant that a replay was required, with an away tie at the Cardiff City Stadium next in line for the winners of the Tuesday night fixture.

There was one change to the starting eleven from Saturday with Canice Carroll coming in for the injured Jon Mellish. That meant a switch to right back for Aaron Hayden, with Gethin Jones moving to left back and Byron Webster and Jarrad Branthwaite reunited as the central defensive pairing. 

There was some real wintry weather ahead of kick off and United were made to attack the Warwick Road End first as Rovers won the toss. 

And the hosts had a loud shout for a penalty turned away as Thomas burst into the box during the first attack of the game. He was dumped to the floor but the referee waved play on.

Rovers responded with a shot from distance from Collins when he found unexpected space. He caught it well but Collin stepped across to gather it up.

Hayden had to recover and block when Grubb overlapped on the left flank, and it was a vital tackle as the away wide man made his way into the box and into a shooting position.

The visitors used the wind well and a raking pass was picked up by Shephard as he advanced up the pitch. His cut back found Collins but a wild first time shot was allowed to go behind to safety by Webster.

United knew they had to keep the ball down as they faced up to the blustery gusts and they did just that when Thomas popped a neat pass through for Loft to chase. He spun and drilled a cross across the face of goal but it was too far in front of the line of three onrushing attackers.

Forest Green had a run of corners as they pushed men forward, with Shephard going close when he waited for a clearance to drop. Hayden stood his ground as he got in the way of the volley.

United settled and winger Nathan Thomas sent a beauty of a cross into the visiting penalty area when he took a pass in his stride from Scougall, but it swirled and swung and the keeper was able to calm his defenders down as he marshalled it away.

A quieter period of the game was broken when Mondal twisted away from the touchline to step inside his man. He put his boot through the ball but it was just too high and it fizzed over the bar.

The away side probed again when Mondal found Collins with a measured pass. A whisked low pass into the area evaded everybody as the strikers stayed on their heels.

Forest Green crafted a decent opening on 27 minutes when Collins ghosted away from his marker. His cross skipped up off the surface and Taylor met it with a stinging volley. He was just 10 yards out but he somehow put it over the bar.

Determined work from Aaron Hayden saw him spark a home attack when he bustled his way through three tackles. Scougall clipped it on to Loft when it came his way, and the big striker made Smith do some work as he went for a shot on the spin. The keeper kept his eyes on it well.

Pace from Thomas followed in the next attack as he left his man standing when he went on a 40-yard sprint. The delivery was near perfect but Hope couldn't get a touch despite having thrown himself at the ball.

A Loft goal was ruled out for offside just before the break, as United started to gain the ascendency, and the Blues thought they'd taken the lead when Carroll ripped a great cross into the box. Thomas took it on his chest and bore down on goal and he was disappointed when his toe poke shaved the outside of the upright.

Carlisle got the goal their play deserved five minutes before half time when Thomas sent a stunning free kick beyond the defensive line. Aaron Hayden made it his own and the keeper could do nothing as the header screwed off a defender and bounced over the line.

Tenacity from Thomas saw him chase the keeper down with just one minute on the second half clock and it almost paid off as Smith stumbled. The winger got in front of him, but the cut back for Hope was underhit and Bernard swooped to clear.

Forest Green tried to pick up some momentum but Mondal and Mills were wayward with shots, and the Cumbrians kept things tight as they worked hard in midfield to close the gaps.

A driven corner kick from Mike Jones almost brought a second for the Blues midway through the half as Hayden made a run to the near post. His flick had Smith worried until it bulged the side netting.

Fleet of foot from McKirdy created another opening, as he spun his man before clipping a great ball into the mix, and the wide man went close himself when he latched onto a loose ball before heading for the area. His punt had Smith beaten but it bobbled just past the post.

Rovers had a chance at the other end when they flooded the area with green shirts, but Collins couldn't keep his shot down when a blocked Winchester drive ricocheted into his path.

McKirdy was wasteful when he led the charge on a counter attack when he had options left and right. He chose to try to chip the keeper but he got his bearings wrong and the ball flew high over the bar.

Another testing cross from Thomas was punched behind for a corner as Smith struggled to judge the flight, and the set piece delivery was met at the back stick by Webster. His nod down was begging to be struck, but the defence reacted first to get it away.

The visitors were the width of the crossbar away from drawing level with 10 minutes left to play when Collins took advantage of a slip from Branthwaite to make his way into the box. A rasping, dipping drive struck the woodwork, rose high and dropped behind.

Defender Byron Webster needed treatment after he'd thrown his body at an effort from Mondal, and he was replaced by Nathaniel Knight-Percival following a prolonged period of treatment.

The Blues did their jobs through the closing stages, with Mondal guilty of another bad miss, and they competently saw the game out to claim their place in the third round and a trip to the Cardiff City Stadium early in the New Year.

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Goals

Carlisle United - Hayden (40)

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Bookings

Carlisle United - Loft (19), McKirdy (90)

Forest Green Rovers - Rawson (43)

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Teams

Carlisle United - Collin (gk)(c), Hayden, Webster (Knight-Percival 88), Branthwaite, G Jones, Carroll, M Jones, Scougall (McKirdy 61), Thomas, Loft, Hope (Elliott 90). Subs - Gray (gk), Olomola, Sagaf, Sorensen.

Forest Green Rovers - Smith, Shephard, Bernard (Godwin-Malife 83), Rawson, Winchester (c), Grubb (Mills 46), Collins, Adams, Kitching, Mondal, Taylor (Stevens 61). Subs - Thomas (gk), Stevens, Morton, Dawson, McGinley.

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Match officials

Referee - Andy Haines
Assistant Referee 1 - Geoffrey Liddle
Assistant Referee 2 - Peter Gooch
Fourth Official - Adam Herczeg

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Attendance - 1,736 (88 away fans)


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