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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Walsall 0 - 2 United

Report from the first game of 2021

2 January 2021

United's first game of the new year was at the Bescot Stadium, with Walsall the hosts.

Taylor Charters made his first league start, and Aaron Hayden his fiftieth appearance for the club, with Dean Furman on the bench as the only change to the eleven from Tuesday night.

Brennan Dickenson was back from the hamstring injury he picked up during pre-season to take his place in the match day 18 for the first time at his new club.

United started on the front foot with Charters sneaking in to steal possession inside the home half. Kayode was able to give it back to the young midfielder and he looked up to shoot from distance. He put his boot through it but it was always heading wide.

Carlisle came again with another good move when Guy picked out Alessandra on the edge of the box. He clipped it inside for Charters but a heavy touch allowed the red shirts to clear.

There was half a shout for handball as Kayode launched a long throw into the mix, but the officials ignored the moment with the defender having had no time to react.

Another handball shout came when a half clearance from a Guy free kick was nodded back by Hayden. An arm got in the way, but once again the appeals were waved away. 

Good footwork from Kayode and Patrick followed, but the shot was blocked at source and the Blues had to build again. They did that as Charters arrived late, with possession having been turned over once more, but his volley sailed over the bar.

Carlisle were alert, winning the second balls and the midfield battles, and an Armer overlap brought a low delivery that had to be hooked away as he latched on to strong work from Charters and Riley.

Walsall showed on 25 minutes with a raking crossfield pass that was taken out of the air by Norman. He clipped it past Patrick and rolled it back towards the edge of the area. Scarr went for a shot on the run but it spooned into the air and Farman gathered it in.

The Cumbrians were immediately on the break and Alessandra showed great poise to keep the ball close with his back to goal. He nonchalantly set it for Charters, and he took everybody by surprise when he dinked it outside for Patrick. The striker bagged his fourth of the season as he dropped a shoulder and picked his spot.

The influential Charters was having a league starting debut to remember and he earned his team a corner as he went past a man to put a pass into the centre. That delivery from Guy somehow skipped past everybody.

Wes McDonald tried his luck with a shot from long range for the hosts as the away side continued to defend well, but it was Carlisle who asked another good question as Alessandra intelligently brought Armer into the equation. The left back let fly from 20-yards but it took the slightest of deflections to send it over the target.

More close pressing won the ball back for the Blues from the corner clearance, and Kayode was suddenly clean through as a lobbed pass from Patrick outwitted the back line. Roberts raced out to spread himself and he got enough of a hand to it to prevent a certain goal.

A Gordon header from a Norman cross was easy for Farman just before the break, and United had defending to do as crosses were whipped into the box from the hosts. They coped, and that meant they took a one-goal advantage into the dressing room.

A tight start to the second period saw Gordon booked for a late challenge on Patrick, and Guy drilled one over the bar as he looked to make an impact.

Farman was needed at the other end when Wes McDonald skipped into space before shooting through legs. The keeper blocked it and Rod McDonald completed the clearance.

Carlisle went close on 56 minutes when Kayode linked with Alessandra in midfield. He popped it through to Riley, who got his head down on the angle before aiming for the bottom corner. He connected well but he dragged it past the upright.

Another spell of tough tackling from both sides was punctuated by a miscued effort from Gordon which was never troubling the target.

Walsall looked to use Adebayo as an outlet, but he was twice stopped in his tracks by attentive tackling.

A short corner routine orchestrated by Guy and Alessandra brought a cross from the former which Adebayo glanced onto the roof of his own net.

United had a shot from Charters cleared off the line from the corner as Roberts spilled it when it was guided back into the box by Armer. The youngster was ready to celebrate until a red shirt got in the way.

Furman replaced Guy with 15 minutes left to play, when the midfielder limped from the pitch after a heavy challenge, but the Blues brushed off the setback as they doubled their lead with a superb move.

Armer slipped a pass through to Alessandra, and he used Kayode with a lovely touch. Another precise through ball set Riley free and clear on the right flank, and his pull back eventually came to Kayode. The big striker didn't get the cleanest of strikes, but that didn't matter as his volley skipped of the surface and left Roberts flapping at thin air.

Brennan Dickenson made his long awaited first appearance in a blue shirt with just under 10 minutes left to play, and he was immediately involved as he helped out at the back.

United could have wrapped things up on 86 minutes when they broke wth purpose from a Walsall corner. Alessandra was at the heart of it, and he bided his time as he approached the area with Charters making up ground. A neat through ball invited the shot but it was difficult to control as he struck it on the sprint.

The visitors looked comfortable with their lead and Alessandra curled one over in time added on as they continued to play some excellent football. 

And the hard work continued until the final whistle which, with the Forest Green game against Oldham abandoned early in the second half due to freezing fog, saw the Cumbrians head into the New Year in top spot ... and deservedly so.

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Goals

Carlisle United - Patrick (26), Kayode (78)

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Bookings

Walsall - Gordon (51), Bates (59)

Carlisle United - Charters (27), Armer (57), Hayden (80)

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Teams

Walsall - Roberts, Norman (Osadebe 81), Sadler (Guthrie 61), Clarke (c), Scarr, Sinclair (Nurse 61), Kinsella, Gordon, Adebayo, Bates (Scrimshaw 61), McDonald. Subs - Rose (gk), Lavery, White.

Carlisle United - Farman, Hayden (c), Bennett, McDonald, Armer, Charters (Bell 89), Guy (Furman 75), Riley, Patrick (Dickenson 83), Kayode, Alessandra. Subs - Norman (gk), Dixon, Malley, Fishburn.

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Match officials

Referee - James Oldham
Assistant Referee 1 - Declan Ford
Assistant Referee 2 - Paul Evans
Fourth Official - Neil Hair

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Attendance - BCD


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