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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Stevenage 2 - 3 United

Report from the Saturday afternoon away game

14 September 2019

United were on their travels once again this weekend as they made the trip down the A1 to face Stevenage.

Boro endured a tough first month, with just three points from three draws to show from their first six league outings, and the addition of exprienced defender Adam El-Abd to their ranks signalled a recognition that there was a need to show more resolve as they now look to climb away from the bottom places.

Manager Dino Maamria parted ways with the club earlier in the week - a consequence of the slow start - and he was replaced by former England Lionesses gaffer Mark Sampson as he took caretaker control. 

The Blues added Gethin Jones to their ranks, following a week-long stay with the club for the free agent defender, and he went straight into the starting eleven as Steven Pressley switched to a back five [advanced full backs] formation.

United had defending to do inside the first minute when a fortunately won corner was whipped into the box. Wesbter got it clear, and Mike Jones did well to sprint out and claim possession. He had McKirdy and Olomola pulling left and right as they looked to break but a timely interception prevented the away side from bursting clean through.

Boro earned a second corner on five minutes when Mackail-Smith combined with James-Wildin. Iredale made the block, and the rasping set-piece was half cleared. It was quickly sent back into the middle and Mackail-Smith caused more problems as he challenged for the header. It fell to Newton, at close range, but he couldn't get any power on his shot and Collin plucked it out of the air.

There was more defensive work to do when Guthrie found a yard of space inside the United half. He opted to shoot early but it took a deflection and angled wide of the upright.

Carlisle got forward on 10 minutes when a ball over the top from Knight-Percival was put to safety, as McKirdy challenged to make it his own. Iredale sent the throw into the box but Elliott was on the stretch and he could only toe poke it over the bar. 

A good move down the right wing, sparked by Gethin Jones, saw Olomola work his way into a crossing position. He sent it low but there was nobody there to apply the touch it needed.

Quick feet from Carter saw him work his way through midfield with Guthrie there as a bounce-board as Mackail-Smith overlapped, but his attempt at a delivery was stopped at source.

Harry McKirdy showed that he could do the same at the other end when he cut in from wide to go past two before looking for the cross. It hit a defender and went for a corner, and the inswinger from Thomas spent time bouncing around on the floor before Fernandez threw a boot at it to hook it clear.

Another accurate pass forward from Gethin Jones found McKirdy on the march and he went for a lob from a tight angle as Farman strayed from his line. He struck it well but it had too much on it and it looped onto the roof of the net.

Stevenage took the lead from nowhere on 25 minutes when a hopeful clip into the box from wide came off the top of Webster's head. Kurtis Guthrie was under pressure, but he got enough on his volley for it bounce off the greasy surface, beyond the hand of the diving Adam Collin and into the bottom corner.

The lead was almost doubled moments later when Newton arrived late to get onto the end of some good work from Guthrie. It was a difficult volley and Collin was in the right place to make sure it was an easy save to make.

An error from Boro just past the half hour saw Iredale rob the ball in a very dangerous area. He did everything right as he surged into the box, and his pull back was perfect for Olomola. The striker took a touch, passing up the chance to shoot first time, and that allowed Fernandez to make a yard and get a shin on the shot. That was enough to spin it wide of the post.

Carlisle stayed forward, with Bridge and Elliott helping to build up some pressure, and it was Iredale who was presented with a clean sight when the ball was worked his way. He thought he'd done enough but another vital deflection sent his goal-bound attempt into the advertising hoardings.

The away pressure was made to tell on 38 minutes when a raking pass from Christie Elliott was superbly controlled by McKirdy. He kept a cool head as he measured up his options and he left Farman with no chance as he rifled a crunching strike into the roof of the net.

The away side created the first chance of the second period when the ball was worked from left to right by Olomola, Mike Jones, Elliott and Bridge. Thomas pulled off his man to find space and his cross fell deep in the box. Olomola jumped to head it but he couldn't find any power and Farman was able to watch it wide.

Carlisle grabbed the lead with a lightning quick break on 52 minutes when Iredale pressed forward to take the ball under control in the midfield area. Olomola showed for it, and his slide rule through ball sent McKirdy on a run. He covered the yards and he put it on a plate for Nathan Thomas, who had shadowed the move, with the wide man able to pop it home from close range.

It was short-lived joy for United as they allowed an overload of bodies on the left flank. The cross came in and the dangerous Guthrie rose uncontested to pick his spot with a guided header.

Wide man Thomas popped a difficult chance over the bar when he dropped a shoulder to beat his man, with both sides trying to get on top in the game, and Olomola had a go after he'd shielded a pass from Bridge with Watts at his heels. His shot had spin but it curled into Farman's hands.

Gethin Jones was needed to stop a low shot from List on the line, after he had beaten the advancing Collin to a through ball, but there was a delay to the proceedings with 15 minutes left to play when referee Martin Coy went down clutching his calf muscle. Fourth official Paul Kelly took over.

Carlisle reclaimed the lead for a second time on the day immediately after the game restarted when Sagaf showed intelligence to get forward with a lovely touch on the ball. His cross eventually came to McKirdy and his deflected effort left Farman flapping at thin air as it screwed into the back of the net.

That was enough for the visitors who saw the final vital minutes out to claim their very welcome three points.

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Goals

Stevenage - Guthrie (25, 54)

Carlisle United - McKirdy (38, 83), Thomas (52)

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Bookings

Stevenage - James-Wildin (75)

Carlisle United - Knight-Percival (69), Bridge (87), Webster (90)

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Teams

Stevenage - Farman, James-Wildin, Stokes, Carter, Kennedy, Husin (Cowley 86), Newton, Watts, Guthrie, Fernandez (Denton 57), Mackail-Smith (List 65). Subs - Bastien, Ionnton, Taylor, El-Abd.

Carlisle United - Collin (c) (gk), Elliott (Sagaf 70), G Jones, Webster, Knight-Percival, Iredale, Thomas (Hope 70), Bridge, M Jones, McKirdy, Olomola (Loft 90). Subs - Gray (gk), Mellish, Branthwaite, Sorensen.

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Match officials

Referee - Martin Coy
Assistant Referee 1 - Anthony Da Costa
Assistant Referee 2 - Mike Desborough
Fourth Official - Paul Kelly

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Attendance - 2,616 (238 away fans)


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