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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Forest Green Rovers 1 - 1 United

Report from the Saturday afternoon away game

16 March 2019

It was down the M5 once again for the Cumbrians this weekend as they travelled to the south west to face Forest Green Rovers.

The Blues were missing midfielder Kelvin Etuhu, who was with his partner as she gave birth to their first child, and Mike Jones was recalled to the starting line up to take his place.  

Gary Miller and Nathan Thomas also came into the eleven, with Gary Liddle and Stefan Scougall dropping to the bench. 

Both teams passed the ball well on the floor, despite the wind, and United created the first chance of the afternoon when Thomas stepped inside his man to cross low. Devitt got a touch as he arrived late but Ward watched the diverted shot all the way into his hands.

The away aside created another excellent opening inside the opening five minutes when Hope found Devitt with a neat lay-off. O'Hare broke through, and he took a looped pass well on his chest as he burst into the box. He was off-balance as he pulled the trigger and his attempt went well wide.

Carlisle camped forward and crosses from O'Hare and Thomas brought rushed clearances as the defence looked agitated and slow to react. Long range efforts from Jones and Devitt took deflections as the visitors looked for a way through, with the second of those shots dipping kindly for keeper Ward to grasp.

Rovers fashioned their first opening of the day when a corner delivery stayed low and eventually fell for Shephard to strike. He didn't look comfortable at all as he leaned back before scooping it over the bar.

A purposeful run from Miller from just inside his own half was matched by the same from Thomas as he he ran across the face of the 18-yard box, leaving two defenders stood still. A low crunching shot had power but Ward dropped quickly to make the save.

It was still United asking the questions and a superb defence splitting pass from Miller found Devitt making a move into the box. He took a touch before spinning to shoot but Mills did well to get his boot in the way.

Carlisle thought they'd done enough from the corner that followed when Grainger hung his delivery up in the wind. Hope took a step back at the far post to send it back where it had come from and Thomas reacted first to put his head on it. Ward was beaten, but it came down off the underside of the bar and Winchester gratefully hooked it away.

Thomas was excellent again moments later when he took a pass from Jones full on the chest. That left him with just Ward to beat but the keeper spread himself to make an excellent save.

It was impressive stuff from the Cumbrians and O'Hare was next to try to provide a supply route as he switched flanks to come at Mills from the right. It almost worked straight away as he popped a pass into the six-yard box for Hope to chase. Godwin-Malife got there first to sweep the ball clear.

The Carlisle pressure was made to count for nothing just past the half hour when the dangerous Reece Brown was allowed to run through midfield completely unattended. He had time on his side when the ball came his way and he was able to pick his spot, with his side's first shot on target of the day, with a thunderbolt which bulged the top corner of the net.

United looked for a response but Ward did well again as he palmed a shot on the turn from Slater into the ground. He was there again as Devitt tried to poke the pieces through to Hope, with the striker in acres of space.

Another fantastic chance went begging for Carlisle when O'Hare robbed possession from Gunning on the halfway line. Thomas was put clean through by a lovely pass, but Ward was off his line at the sprint to make a vital save. The ball was loose once again, but Ward did well as he threw out an arm to prevent O'Hare from finishing it off.

Devitt was a whisker away as he went for it from 23-yards following a well worked move in time added on for the half, but it was Rovers who had the advantage as the teams headed into the break.

Rovers were gifted a corner with just two minutes on the second half clock when a back pass from Jones caught a gust and skipped past Collin. A deep delivery whipped past the keeper and United were able to regroup.

But it was the hosts who got themselves in a real mix as Devitt and O'Hare made the ball their own in midfield, with two home players waiting for each other to take charge. A through ball appeared to be dealt with, but Thomas was on it like a flash as McGinely dithered, and he made no mistake as he slotted it past the stranded Lewis Ward to bag his first strike for the club.

Carlisle grew in stature and a quick throw from Grainger found Devitt with his back to goal, and he stayed patient before rolling it for Jones to strike. Ward had to jump to tip it over the bar.

Grainger had two shots blocked as he latched onto the corner, and Thomas forced the stopper into a full length diving save as he waited for the half clearance to come his way before unleashing an accurate volley.

Collin had to save a weak effort from Winchester as Rovers attacked sporadically, and Reid slashed one over as he tried to pick his side up as they once again battled to get themselves on top.

Another gilt-edged visiting effort went begging when a Devitt corner found its way through to Parkes. Just six-yards out he somehow managed to send his volley at a defender and he was left with his head in his hands as it was clattered away from the danger area.

A long period of stalemate saw Williams have the best of the half chances to make something happen, but his shot was charged down with Collin untroubled. A grasscutter from Slater tested Ward at the other end, with the keeper getting there just as it threatened to find its way across the line.

Carlisle were let off the hook late in the day when a 35-yard wind-assisted free kick from Williams smashed back off the post, but they went close themselves when a low punt from O'Hare was parried. Hope was first to the rebound but a touch from Rawson was enough to send that wide, and the sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.

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Goals

Forest Green Rovers - Brown (31)

Carlisle United - Thomas (49)

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Bookings

Carlisle United - Parkes (84)

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Teams

Forest Green Rovers - Ward, Shephard, Rawson, Winchester, Doidge, Brown, Gunning, McGinley, Godwin-Malife (Mondal 89), Mills, Reid (Williams 69). Subs – L Thomas, James, Grubb, Pearce, McCoulsky.

Carlisle United - Collin, Miller, Gerrard, Parkes, Grainger, Slater, Jones, O'Hare, Devitt (Scougall 81), Hope (Simpson 90), N Thomas. Subs - Gray, Liddle, Kennedy, Grant, Branthwaite.

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Referee - Mr Graham Salisbury

Attendance - 2,381 (293 away fans)


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