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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: United 2 - 1 Saddlers

Report from the Saturday afternoon home game

25 January 2020

United were back at Brunton Park for their second league meeting with the Saddlers in the space of just four weeks.

The Blues had taken a 2-1 away victory from the Bescot at the end of December, with goals from Nathan Thomas and Harry McKirdy enough to secure the result.

Boss Chris Beech made three changes from last weekend's game at Boundary Park with Lewis Alessandra and Nick Anderton handed their debuts for the club. Max Hunt stepped down to the bench and Ryan Loft was drafted into the starting line-up, with striker Josh Kayode missing out through illness, and with Harry McKirdy absent due to an injury. 

Hallam Hope was the other change, with the forward having made the move to Swindon during midweek.

The Saddlers enjoyed good possession through the opening five minutes, as they attacked towards the bright sun shining over the Warwick Road End, but United looked untroubled as they held their shape.

The Blues showed as an attacking force when Scougall found space on the left. His cross had Thomas interested but Scarr got in the way just in time with a glanced clearing header.

Thomas had Roberts in a panic moments later when he rifled a 40-yard free kick past the wall. The keeper saw it, but he twice fumbled before scooping it up as Alessandra sprinted in.

The action started to flow and a free kick from a tight angle from just outside the box brought a curling shot from McDonald. Scougall stood strong in the wall and his touch took the danger away.

Excellent work from Alessandra saw him leave his man in his wake as he turned defence into attack on the left flank for the hosts. He was toppled to the floor, tight by the touchline, and Thomas made it count with a superb inswinging set piece delivery. A defensive header fell right in front of Nick Anderton and he marked his debut in style with a stunning unstoppable volley.

Walsall looked for an immediate response and a deep cross from Kinsella brought Collin off his line as Elijah Adebayo went for a jump. The pair collided but the big striker could only find the side netting as he spun to shoot with a wild scrape at the bouncing ball.

The Saddlers came again when Adebayo overlapped and took the ball in his stride. Gethin Jones tracked the run and his challenge on the slide was enough to block what was a firm net bound effort.

Keeper Adam Collin had to go full length as Kinsella let fly from the edge of the area in what was a good spell for the visitors. A one-handed diving save kept the ball out, and McDonald was flagged for offside as he tried to latch onto the loose pieces.

United missed a great opportunity to double the lead just before the break when a touch on the halfway line from Alessandra sent Loft clean through. A heavy second touch made stopper Liam Roberts favourite to make a save, and he did just that as he spread himself to thwart the marauding forward. 

But the reprieve was short-lived as the corner from Watt was met by a thumping header from Loft. It came down off the underside of the bar and the big striker was left to celebrate as the ball was bundled over the line.

Another long range free kick bullet from Thomas had to be pushed away by Roberts as it arrowed at his bottom corner, but it was the Carlisle contingent who had smiles on faces as they headed into the half-time tunnel.

Walsall were right back in it just four minutes after the break when Mat Sadler got on the end of a near post corner. His header, from just eight-yards out, left Collin with no chance as it flew into the back of his net.

Both sides probed through what was a tight spell, and superb one-touch passing between Gethin Jones and Nathan Thomas opened things up for a cross. Loft moved to get a touch but it flashed past him and Roberts was able to gather it in.

A shot on the run from Nolan hit Hayden and went behind on 75 minutes, but Carlisle were a whisker away from a third goal when a bit of magic from substitute Jack Bridge saw him turn his man inside out inside the box. His low delivery squirmed past Roberts and hit Scarr, but the defender recovered in time to hook it clear before it could cross the line.

United kept their discipline and their shape through the closing stages, with Walsall restricted to hopeful crosses from set pieces and open play, and it was a huge roar from the home crowd which greeted the final whistle as the Blues returned to league winning ways.



Carlisle United - Anderton (21), Loft (42)

Walsall - Sadler (49)



Carlisle United - M Jones (33), Webster (35), Scougall (75)



Carlisle United - Collin (gk)(c), G Jones, Webster, Hayden, Anderton, Thomas, M Jones, Watt, Scougall (Iredale 80), Alessandra (Charters 90), Loft (Bridge 78). Subs - Gray (gk), Olomola, Sagaf, Hunt.

Walsall - Roberts (gk), Pring, Sadler, Clarke (c) (Norman 62), Scarr, Kinsella (Guthrie 57), Gordon, Adebayo, Holden (Nolan 71), McDonald, Sheron. Subs - Rose (gk), Sinclair, Lavery, Roberts.


Match officials

Referee - James Oldham
Assistant Referee 1 - Mark Cunliffe
Assistant Referee 2 - Helen Edwards
Fourth Official - Simon Clayton


Attendance - 4,097 (286 away fans)

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