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MATCH PREVIEW: Grecians head up the M5 at the weekend

We look ahead to the Saturday game

29 January 2021

United's final fixture of the month is a home game against Exeter City on Saturday afternoon, with the Blues having waited for exactly four weeks since they were last able to play a game in anger.


A combination of isolation, bad weather and bad luck has seen the Cumbrians sidelined, and there's no doubt they'll be chomping at the bit come the earlier 1pm kick off timing.

On to our visitors, and much sought after Randall Williams, the target of many a scout this season, is now likely to move for free in the summer having picked up a stress fracture not long after a bid had been accepted by his club from an as yet unknown League One suitor.

It emerged that Williams had failed to agree personal terms, but that became academic when he suffered the break, and the possibility of a January switch for the lively winger faded away.

Fleetwood centre back Sam Stubbs came in the other way last week, with the 22-year-old signing a two-and-a-half year deal with Matt Taylor.


Despite their midweek home defeat to high-flying Morecambe the Grecians have been very difficult to beat in recent weeks, with just two defeats from their last seven games.

Some of the victories pre-Christmas were by considerable margins, and it wasn't unusual to see four or five goals recorded beside Exeter's name.

Nine draws will be a cause for frustration, with post-match reaction from a number of those stalemates suggesting that it could and probably should have been better.

But, as already intimated, their attacking style of play has brought them 44 league goals so far, an average of almost two net busters per outing.

who watch

Matt Jay (11), Ryan Bowman (10), Joel Randall (8) and Jake Taylor (6) have all pitched in with the bulk of those goals and, indeed, Randall has been the subject of transfer window speculation following some eye-catching displays.

But there's only one place we can look this weekend - Ryan Bowman. Bogey came through our youth system but has had to prove himself the hard way in the professional game.

He's done just that and he'll be looking to add to his tally when he 'comes home' on Saturday afternoon.


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United were down in Exeter in October 2020 when a goal from former Blue Tom Parkes was enough to claim the home win. Gime Toure was sent off midway through the second half for the Blues.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, these teams locked horns just once during the 2019/20 campaign. That was in September 2019 where late goals from Aaron Martin and Nicky Law cancelled out Olufela Olomola's earlier equaliser, after Lee Martin had opened the scoring.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

Prior to that, it was another Brunton Park meeting in February 2019, when a bright start from the Grecians brought a stunning goal from Nicky Law. His initial effort from a free kick struck the wall, but he reacted smartly to volley the rebound into the bottom corner. Carlisle pushed and pushed for an equaliser, and they eventually got the reward they deserved when Devitt smashed an unstoppable set piece into the top corner.

The first game of the 2018/19 season took us to Exeter for an encounter which was played out in blistering heat. Early goals for the hosts from Nicky Law and Jonathan Forte set the Blues on the back foot, but Richie Bennett glanced a header into the net before the break to keep the Cumbrians in the hunt. There were chances to level it in the second period but Tristan Abrahams scored late in the day to make sure Exeter took the points.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

Prior to that we were in Exeter once again towards the end of the 2017/18 campaign. It was a 1-1- draw, and Ashley Nadesan scored the Carlisle goal in what was a very keenly fought game.

Watch the highlights from that game here:


Referee - Martin Coy
Assistant Referee 1 - Conor Brown
Assistant Referee 2 - Scott Williams
Fourth Official - Simon Clayton

Martin Coy

The referee for this fixture is Mr Martin Coy. 

He's refereed 18 games so far this season showing 42 yellow cards and four reds.

The December trip to Harrogate turned into an interesting evening as dipping temperatures sent an already struggling pitch over the edge. Just eight minutes into the game, and with the hosts a goal to the good, Mr Coy deemed that the surface had become too dangerous and United's first ever trip to Wetherby Road was cut short with the match abandoned due to safety reasons.

He was at Brunton Park in October 2020 for the 3-2 home win over Colchester where goals from Lewi Alessandra and Jon Mellish gave us a two-goal cushion. The U's pegged us back with strikes either side of the break, but Aaron Hayden sealed a deserved win with a late goal. Callum Guy, Jon Mellish and Joe Riley were booked on the afternoon.

We also had him for our 3-0 home defeat against Plymouth in January 2020. Aaron Hayden was sent off in the final minute of that fixture as tensions ran high. 

Prior to that he was here for the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Port Vale back in November 2019.

Ryan Loft put us ahead with just one minute on the clock, but second half goals from Worrall and Cullen took the points the way of the hosts. Loft and Canice Carroll had their names taken on the day.

We saw him twice in the 2018/19 season, with our first meeting for the home defeat against Grimsby in October. The goal came in the first half from Luke Hendrie, but there were no United names entered into the book.

He was back here a month later for the 1-1 Checkatrade Trophy meeting with Stoke City under-21s. Jack Sowerby scored the goal and Gary Liddle was shown a yellow card. 

He was with us three times during the 2017/18 season, with his first visit up north coming in August 2017 for our 3-0 home victory over Cheltenham. Tom Miller and Reggie Lambe added to a fifth minute own goal from Harry Pell, and Mark Ellis was the only Carlisle booking on the day.

We saw him again for our November Checkatrade Trophy group game against Fleetwood, where a certain Jack Sowerby opened the scoring on the night. Wes Burns doubled the lead just before half time, and a late Shaun Miller goal did little to affect the outcome as the visitors took the win come full time. Tom Miller and Jamie Devitt received yellow cards that night.

His last trip to Brunton Park during that campaign was for our 2-2 draw with Crawley in March. Richie Bennett and Hallam Hope appeared to have done the job with goals to give us a 2-0 lead, but the Red Devils recovered and claimed their point courtesy of a brace from Kalen Grant. United names taken were Clint Hill, Hallam Hope and Tom Parkes.


This game is behind closed doors. See above for details of how to watch this game via iFollow, our live streaming service.

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