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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: United 1 - 1 Exeter

Report from the Saturday afternoon home game

9 February 2019

United returned to League Two action following last weekend's enforced break with a home game against fellow promotion chasers Exeter City.

It was a first chance for the Brunton Park faithful to meet new arrivals Mark Cullen, Peter Gray, Callum O'Hare, Stefan Scougall and Nathan Thomas, with Gary Liddle also back on the bench following his recent injury scare.

The Grecians fashioned the first chance of the day when a long ball forward dropped over Gerrard. Forte was onto it in a flash and he was disappointed to see his fierce first time volley zip just past the post.

Carlisle were almost opened up when Law exchanged passes with Martin on the edge of their box. Law was suddenly behind the back line but his cut back was intercepted by the attentive defence.

Unbelievable goalkeeping kept the home sheet clean moments later when Law, once more the provider, clipped a reverse path past Parkes for Forte to chase. The big striker was unmarked and just 10 yards out, but Collin thwarted him with a fantastic block as he stayed big to somehow get both hands to the ball.

United started to settle, as Hope tried to make things happen with intelligent runs on the left flank, and Thomas had the crowd on its feet when he beat two to race towards the opposition area. 

But it was Exeter who took the lead when a free kick on the edge of the box, conceded by Parkes as he tussled with Forte, was rifled goalwards by Law. His initial effort hit the wall but he reacted first to smash the rebound past Collin, and into the Warwick net, despite a firm hand from the keeper.

It was a busy spell for Collin and he had to tip another rasper from Martin over the bar when he let fly from a tight angle. The big stopper had to be on his toes to smother another through ball as Forte bore down.

Better came from Carlisle when Slater and O'Hare battled for possession in midfield. The ball was spread quickly to Hope and he, in turn, picked out Thomas. He went for a shot but he couldn't keep it down and it sailed over the bar.

More good one-touch football saw the hosts switch play from Miller on the right to Hope on the left, and further good movement eventually created space for Devitt. His shot had power but it climbed high almost from the moment it left his boot.

Defender Tom Parkes forced a parried save from Pym, having stepped away with the ball at his feet in the centre circle following a strong tackle. Two strides later and he unleashed a beauty which the keeper had to get to. Thomas picked up the loose pieces and he dropped a shoulder only to then see his toe poke drift just past the post.

Carlisle had a real chance to level things up in time added on for the half when Miller carried the ball forward from deep. O’Hare took over, and he spotted Devitt making his way towards the box. The pass was on, as was the shot, but a slip took the power out of the chip and the save was easy for Pym to make.

The home side looked more composed after the break and Hope and Grainger combined to make space for a cross. Devitt got on the end of it but the ball swerved in the wind and his header crept over the target.

Substitute Stefan Scougall showed a good eye for a pass as he tried to thread it through for Devitt and Hope to chase. Pym sprinted out of his area to make the clearance. The Exeter keeper was in action again when he got down to palm a shot on the spin from Thomas away from his bottom corner with Carlisle starting to build up a head of steam. 

A cross from Miller then had O'Hare interested, but Sweeney got there not a moment too soon to prevent the header. O'Hare came inside again to try to cause more problems but his final pass, following an excellent move, was stopped by Collins before Devitt could shoot.

Etuhu and Grainger had shots blocked as Carlisle started to push even more men forward, and United thought they'd done enough when O'Hare slipped the ball to Hope midway inside the Grecian half. The striker let fly and Pym, completely stranded and helpless, was relieved to see it crash back off his bar before being marshalled to safety.

The home pressure brought the goal it deserved 10 minutes from time when Jamie Devitt, January's PFA player of the month, produced another moment of real class. He had to wait an age to take a free kick, won by fleet of foot from O'Hare, but he left Pym to pick it out of the net as he kept his focus before dipping it over the wall and into the bottom corner.

Devitt almost turned provider late in the day, when he recovered a half clearance to put it straight back into the box, but it was just too far in front of the fowards and it bounced straight to Pym.

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Goals

Carlisle United - Devitt (79)

Exeter City - Law (19)

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Bookings 

Carlisle United - Parkes (18), Devitt (22)

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Teams

Carlisle United - Collin, Miller, Gerrard, Parkes, Grainger, Slater (Scougall 46), Etuhu, O'Hare, Thomas (Cullen 70), Devitt, Hope. Subs - Gray, Liddle, Jones, Grant, McCarron.

Exeter City - Pym, Sweeney, Woodman, O'Shea, L Martin, Law, Williams (A Martin 80), Forte (Bowman 72), K Wilson, Taylor, Collins. Subs - Hamon, Jay, D Wilson, Brown, Dean.

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Referee - Mr Matt Donohue

Attendance - 4,851 (176 away fans)


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