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RESERVES: Rangers 1 - 2 United

Report from the Tuesday afternoon away game

8 October 2019

United were at Murray Park to face Rangers on Tuesday afternoon as they looked to get more important pitch time for the senior squad players.

Gav Skelton and Eric Kinder were in charge, with boss Steven Pressley watching from the sidelines, and the Blues went with a 3-5-2 formation as Stefan Scougfall returned from injury to patrol the heart of the midfield. 

United had an early scare to deal with when the lively Barjonas carried the ball from deep to the edge of the box. He let fly with a powerful shot, and Hayden was penalised for handball as he jumped to make a block. His arms were in front of his body, but the referee ignored the Carlisle arguments and pointed to the spot. Grezda stepped up to take it but he wheeled away in disappointment when he blazed it high over the bar.

Both sides played good football and the visitors were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position as Charters was chopped to the floor. Sorensen sent the 26-yard scorcher over the wall but it also rose over the target.

The Cumbrians continued to look solid and they broke from a punch from Gray as he ran out to get on the end of a dipping set piece. Loft showed strength to hold it up, and he did well to keep two defenders at bay before clipping the ball into the area. Armstrong was after it but he had to stretch and his volley went wide.

Rangers thought they'd taken the lead on 26 minutes when Grezda pulled away from his marker to take a short corner into his stride. He turned quickly and poked it through a gap, and Barjonas let one rip as he ghosted past Branthwaite. Gray got the slightest of fingertip touches to take it away from the nets.

It was an intriguing game and United went close again when Scougall recovered a half clearance from a Birch corner. His clipped delivery found Hayden on the rise but Firth stepped across to make the save.

The hosts had some good possession, as they peppered the Carlisle box from left and right, and a shot from Docherty had to be dealt with as Gray saw it late when it came hard and low. 

But it was United who took a one-goal lead into the break as Sorensen showed great skill when he controlled the ball as it came into the box. It was at a tight angle but his initial deft touch was followed by a drilled thunderbolt which flew into the bottom corner.

Heavy rain accompanied the whistle for the start of the second half, and a wild shot from Polster was the only real attempt of note from the opening ten-minute spell as things stayed tight in midfield.

Carlisle started to settle again, with long range shots from Loft twice blocked, but clean sights of goal were few and far between as defences remained on top. 

A good move from the home side deserved better when Barjonas was played through after good work from Grezda had seen him shake off a run of challenges. Branthwaite took advantage of a moment of hesitation to close things down and Gray was able to deal with the rushed punt that followed.

Another good run from Loft saw him sprint from the halfway line to take the fight to the back line, but he had it nipped off his toe just as he shaped to bring Sorensen into play.

The Cumbrians upped the pace of the game as the half wore on and a superb break was sparked when Armstrong sent a neat 40-yard ball up the right hand touchline to set Sorensen off on a run. He left his man for dead and a cute pass picked out Loft, who arrived late on the edge of the area. He lost his footing as he tried to place his shot and it bobbled agonisingly wide.

But it was a short-lived reprieve for the Gers as Loft used pace to go beyond Lyall. The defender stuck out a leg and the referee had no hesitation in awarding the second penalty of the day. The big forward dusted himself off before smashing it into the roof of the net.

Rangers made things interesting with 10 minutes to play when Barjonas took matters into his own hands with a superb goal from distance. His first touch was exquisite and he backed that up with an unstoppable bullet of a shot.

A late, surging run from Sorensen caught the eye as he controlled a fizzed pass on the halfway line. He dragged it back, sprinted forward, beat two challenges and pulled the trigger as he reached the edge of the box, bringing a great save from Firth.



Rangers - Barjonas (81)

Carlisle United - Sorensen (44), Loft (72 pen)



Carlisle United - Carroll (58)



Rangers - Firth, Butterworth, Shiels, Williamson, King (Lowry 75), Breen (Mackinnon 30), Lyall (Ritchie-Hosler 75), Docherty, Grezda, Polster, Barjonas. Subs - Miller, Devine, Anderson, Budinauckas.

Carlisle United - Gray, Branthwaite, Hayden, Mellish, Armstrong (Kerr 75), Charters, Carroll, Scougall (Wilson 46), Birch, Loft, Sorensen. Subs - Lightfoot, Walton.

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