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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Stevenage 0 - 2 United

Report from the Saturday afternoon away game

11 December 2021

United were on the road for the second time in the space of four days when they took to trip to face Stevenage at the Lamex.

Corey Whelan was dropped to the bench as he nursed a niggle picked up in training, and that brought Danny Devine into the fold.

Kelvin Mellor and Sam Fishburn were also recalled, with Tristan Abrahams and Brad Young stepping down.

United should have scored with just two minutes on the clock when Devine picked out Gibson on the right. His cross took a wicked deflection, but it found Dickenson at the back stick as it skipped off the greasy surface. He took a touch before putting a boot through it, but he got his bearings wrong and he could only find the side netting.

Boro responded with a good move down the left as Coker overlapped. Norris challenged in the box, but he was under pressure from Feeney and his header went over the bar.

Dickenson caused real problems when he picked posssession up in the centre circle. He ran at the heart of the defence and it opened up temporarily, inviting the shot. It was partially charged down and the hosts were able to clear.

A 19-yard free kick blasted into the wall as Lines and Norris worked out a traning ground routine for the home side, and the follow up from Reeves took a touch off McDonald as it zipped over the target.

Stevenage came again when Taylor flicked a high ball on, and List was there with a neat touch inside the area. He spun and shot, but it was always going wide.

United were sliced open on the quarter hour when Lines put a low free kick into the box. Taylor swivelled sharply and curled the ball at the top corner with the outside of his boot. Howard was equal to it, and he spread his arms to make the save.

List was next to have a go with a deflected 19-yard attempt that twisted past the post. He let go after the ball had unexpectedly come his way.

A floated cross from Reeves found Taylor at the far post, and his downward header fell kindly for Read. He had to readjust, and that allowed McDonald to close the gap. 

Carlisle got forward with Dickenson on the half hour and his whipped pass brought a determined run from Mellish. He connected on the slide but his toe poke ripped into the stands behind the goal.

Boro were close in their next attack when they took a quick throw, with James-Wildin, Reeves and Taylor exchanging short passes. A looped delivery found Coker on the rise, and his header bounced on the tease across the face of goal. List was a whisker away from tapping it in.

Dickenson and Guy matched runs as they surged onwards just before the break, and they made it behind the back line with plenty in the box. Devine checked his movement, and it came his way as he lined himself up. A touch from a defender was enough to take the sting out of it.

Howard was needed again at the other when List and Norris exchanged passes on their way to the danger area. It was List who had the rasper, and the deflection appeared to have wrong-footed the stopper. He recovered acrobatically to palm it over the bar.

Mellish was felled as the ball came his way on 43 minutes, and Guy took charge of the set piece. It was a beauty, and Mellor brought a fine save from Anang with a thumping header. It bounced down off the bar, and Jon Mellish was there to bag his third of the season from close range.

The lead was almost doubled in the first minute of the second half when Dickenson crossed at the second attempt. Mellish watched it on its way, and Fishburn reacted first to gather the loose ball. He shot low but Anang was there to grasp it.

United defended well, with Howard on the end of three crosses from wide, and the away side had moments of their own as Dickenson pulled wide to try to find Fishburn and Mellish from good situations.

The game sparked into life again when there were loud appeals for a penalty on 58 minutes when a nod back from Feeney towards Howard brought a sprint from List. The keeper reached the ball first, and referee Declan Bourne had no interest in the shouts that followed.

United were awarded a penalty on 62 minutes when Gibson skipped his way into the box. He was chopped down by Prosser and the whistle was blown immediately.

Gibson dusted himself off to take it, and he sent the away fans behind the goal wild when he safely tucked it into the bottom corner. It was, for the record, his fifth of the season.

Reeves sent a 20-yard free kick a yard too high as the home side looked for a way back, and a good opportunity was wasted when List sent one in on the run. Substitute Jamie Reid was there, at very close range, but his volley lacked power and it was easy for Howard.

Mellish had a snasphot deflect over the bar at the other end, and a pass from Gibson bounced awkwardly over Dickenson's head as the visitors looked to extend their cushion.

It became a very solid away display with very little purchase for the hosts, and Howard was comfortable again when a Norris header came his way with two minutes left to go.

The Cumbrians saw it through, and the 220 strong travelling contingent were able to celebrate with the usual round of festive chants.

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Goals

Carlisle United - Mellish (45), Gibson (65 pen)

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Bookings 

Stevenage - James-Wildin (72)

Carlisle United - Mellor (7)

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Teams

Stevenage - Anang, James-Wildin, Coker, Reeves, Prosser, List, Taylor, Norris, Lines (Osborne 68), Vancooten, Read (Reid 68). Subs - Smith (gk), Cuthbert, Andrade, Daly, Melbourne.

Carlisle United - Howard, Mellor, Feeney, McDonald, Armer, Gibson, Guy (c), Devine, Dickenson, Mellish (Whelan 90), Fishburn (Abrahams 90). Subs - Norman (gk), Dinzeyi, Charters, Mampala, Young.

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Match officials

Referee - Declan Bourne
Assistant Referee 1 - Paul Yates
Assistant Referee 2 - Joseph Stokes
Fourth Official - Marc Wilson
Observer - Michael Bull

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Attendance - 2,842 (220)


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