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CUMBERLAND CUP: Cleator Moor Celtic 1 - 3 United

Summary of the Tuesday night game

5 February 2019

A young United side went to Cleator Moor on Tuesday night for their quarter final Cumberland Cup meeting with last season's holders.

And it was the Blues who secured progression on a night of awful weather as they scored three excellent goals - one of which was a first strike in just over 18 months for popular midfielder Jason Kennedy as he continues his return from injury.

Another added bonus for the Cumbrians was that Kennedy completed 90 minutes on a heavy pitch against tough opposition, admitting afterwards that he was raring to go following his 55th minute volley.

Celtic started the game well, with some good early pressure in the United half, but a break from Kelly earned the away side a corner as they pushed bodies into the box. A looping delivery was met by Kennedy but his header dropped just wide of the target.

The hosts continued to have the better of the early exchanges and a decent strike from Hall tested Gray in the Carlisle goal. The keeper kept his eye on it as it skidded off the slick surface.

United started to see more of the ball and Birch created space when he stepped past his man on the left flank. A fizzed cross was inviting but Corkhill stuck out a boot before Kerr and Kennedy could make a difference.

Carlisle came again and Kelly overlapped before clipping a neat delivery into the mix. Charters was up to meet it but he couldn't keep his header down. 

It was a good spell for the away side and Devine had to be at his sharpest when Kerr rolled a pass through for Birch to chase. The wide man got there first but the advancing stopper made an excellent block. 

And there was more frustration when Charters burst through with just Devine to beat moments later. The keeper stayed big and made an important save as his defence recovered to provide support.

Having weathered the storm Celtic mounted an excellent attack which saw Mahone peel away into space. He picked his spot with a stunning shot which left Gray with no chance as it rifled into his bottom corner.

Home tails were up and Gray did well to push a fierce effort from Dunn behind as he angled in from the right flank. The corner was half cleared and United's glovesman completed the save of the night as he dived high to tip a thunderbolt from Mahone over the bar.

Carlisle were back on terms just before the break when Charters cut in from the right. His lobbed effort dropped sharply and Devine could do nothing as it caught the inside of the post and bulged the back of the net.

It was the away side who looked the more likely in the driving rain after the break and they got their reward for some patient approach play when Kennedy latched onto a loose ball inside the area. His first shot was blocked but he reacted quickly to stab the rebound home.

The Cumbrians gave themselves a two-goal cushion just two minutes later when Kerr controlled a whipped pass on his instep. His next touch was a delightful lob which brought huge smiles as it bounced over the line.

It didn't feel possible that the weather could worsen - but it did - and it was credit to the teams as they kept going through what was an entertaining second half. 

But Carlisle rarely looked troubled and they deservedly booked their place in the semi-finals with a good all-round display.

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Goals

Cleator Moor Celtic - Mahone (31)

Carlisle United - Charters (38), Kennedy (55), Kerr (57)

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Teams

Cleator Moor Celtic - Devine, Charlton (Barnes 82), Close, J Little, Corkhill, Tatton, A Kelly, Mahone, Dunn, Hall, D Little. Subs not used - Johnston, Ward, Rule.

Carlisle United - Gray, J Kelly (Fawcett 76), Brockbank, Casson, Lightfoot, Branthwaite (J Ward 83), Charters, Armstrong (Wombell 72), Kerr, Kennedy, Birch. Subs not used - R Ward, Paul. 

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Referee - Mr S Taylor

Attendance - tbc


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