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MATCH REPORT: United 0 - 0 Bradford

Report from the Boxing Day home game

26 December 2019

Carlisle United hosted Bradford City on Boxing Day with the game being the first of three fixtures in just seven days.

The Blues made three changes from the away game at Colchester with Jarrad Branthwaite, Canice Carroll and Mo Sagaf replacing Christie Elliott, Ryan Loft and Nathaniel Knight-Percival.

The opening shot across the bows came from Carlisle when Thomas was given space halfway inside the Bradford half. He looked up before drilling a powerful effort just over the bar. 

Bradford came at the home side in response when Connolly went on a run through the middle. He had options, but he opted to shoot on the run which Collin was able to gather with ease.

Both sides probed for a 10-minute spell, with the Cumbrians wasteful in the final third, and the next chance came when Aramide Oteh went on a sprint from inside his own half. His low punt was on target but it was too close to Collin.

A good move from the hosts saw Hayden and Scougall exchange neat passes before the latter clipped one into the six-yard box. O'Donnell picked it up before Hope could put it away.

Carlisle were let off the hook on 19 minutes when Palmer floated a free kick from wide into the box. Paudie O'Connor lost his marker but he also lost his bearings as he glanced his header past the upright at the Warwick Road End.

Hayden put a header wide from a Thomas corner as United started to push forward through what was a good spell, and it was a Thomas outswinger from a wide free kick which gave the Blues half a sight as it skipped off the surface. Hayden recovered it, but a pass from Carroll was swiped clear by Anthony O'Connor before Scougall could make a mark.

The hosts were close again on the half hour when Thomas ghosted away from his marker as the team went on a surge. O'Donnell was at full length as he dived and he was relieved to see it curl past his post.

There was danger at the other end when Taylor put his head down before taking the ball to the edge of the Carlisle box. His shot was precise, but not quite precise enough, and it smashed back off the base of the post before being hooked away to safety.

Wide man Nathan Thomas, who was part of a two-man attack in a diamond formation for United, made a chance for himself when he ran into the area before twisting and turning his way into space. He connected well but O'Donnell was waiting.

And it was Thomas once again who put a 23-yarder wide as the home side attacked on the break. He dropped a shoulder and kept it low but the stopper always looked comfortable.

Adam Collin had to be at his best just before the break when a wicked shot from Cooke bounced up off the grass. Oteh followed up on the two-handed parry but the big keeper was up quickly to make a second block.

The second period took a while to get going, with defences on top, and Oteh summed up the frustration when he skewed a shot on the volley from close range high into the sky with 55 minutes on the clock.

An overhit cross from Mellor ended what had appeared to be a promising move for the away side, but Collin was needed when Palmer spun on the ball as he moved into the area to take a pass from Connolly. The first effort was parried and the clearance was timely as Oteh steamed in.

Carlisle had a good chance of their own when Scougall took a fizzed pass under his control. O'Donnell had to make a brave block as he spread himself at the feet of the midfielder and the loose pieces were quickly scrambled away.

A flick from a Palmer corner from Paudie O'Connor went high and there was a nervy moment as the ball hit the floor. Collin was blocked, but safety was ensured as the loose ball was smashed away.

More good work from Thomas at the other end saw him cross low after he had went past his man with ease. A half clearance brought substitute Harry McKirdy back into the equation but O'Donnell was equal to the low shot as he saved with his legs.

The woodwork was in play once more at the other end when Oteh got his heel to a whipped cross from the left flank. It spun and dipped but it bounced behind for a goal kick off the angle of post and bar.

Collin was in the right place at the right time again on 74 minutes when another dangerous Palmer corner eventually came the way of Paudie O'Connor. He put his laces through the piledriver but it was met by another fine save.

United were then gifted an opening when Hope pounced on a poor, underhit pass just outside the Bradford area. Thomas came on the overlap but Anthony O'Connor lunged to get in the way and his touch took the goal bound attempt over the bar.

Bradford's Paudie O'Connor missed another gilt-edged opening late in the day when a cross from Palmer dropped kindly in front of him. He was unmarked and just eight yards out but he couldn't get his volley right and he sent a miscued effort high into the Waterworks End.

McCartan then went for glory from the angle with a direct free kick but it lacked any sense of direction and Collin spread his hands to see it wide.

The home and away fans urged their sides on to get a winner as the clock ticked down, and it was Carlisle who pushed on through time added on with a free kick from McKirdy was headed over for a corner. The delivery came low, and that was that as the whistle was blown on a Boxing Day share of the spoils.

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Bookings

Carlisle United - Hayden (55), Webster (65)

Bradford City - Cooke (78)

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Teams

Carlisle United - Collin (gk) (c), Hayden, Branthwaite, Webster, G Jones, M Jones, Carroll (Loft 76), Sagaf (McKirdy 61), Scougall, Thomas (Olomola 88), Hope. Subs - Gray (gk), Iredale, Mellish, Bridge.

Bradford - O'Donnell (gk), Mellor, P O'Connor, Richards-Everton, A O'Connor, Taylor (Gibson 76), Palmer, Connolly (McCartan 70), Wood, Oteh (Vaughan 79), Cooke. Subs - Sykes-Kenworthy, Anderson, Henley.

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Referee - Leigh Doughty
Assistant Referee 1 - Natalie Aspinall
Assistant Referee 2 - Graeme Fyvie
Fourth Official - John Matthews

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Attendance - 6,039 (1,523 away fans)


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