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FRIENDLY: United 0 - 1 Tangerines

First home game of the summer

24 July 2021

The Blues were back at Brunton Park after what has felt like an age on Saturday afternoon when they hosted newly-promoted Blackpool for a sun-bathed pre-season friendly.

Good defending from Whelan prevented Hamilton from crossing early in the piece, and a clearance from Abrahams from the corner was controlled by Clough. He looked to release Bell, but Blackpool came again.

It was Ward who was the spare man this time, and he picked out Yates with a curling delivery. He got there with a close-range header but it looped over the bar.

The early pressure came from the Tangerines, but the balls from wide caused little in the way of trouble as the blue shirts marshalled it well.

A deep corner from Garbutt found Ekpiteta on the rise with Blackpool asking questions, but he sent it high into the air as he lost his bearings. Mitchell recovered it, but Hayden and Feeney did well to see out the danger.

Hayden was needed to make a block when Anderson was worked into space by a passing move down the left flank. The centre back moved to get in the way of the 19-yard stinger as it headed goalwards.

United had the crowd clapping on 17 minutes when a dragged backheel of a pass from Bell created space in midfield. Mellish strode away with it, and he spotted Abrahams on his inside, moving at pace towards the Waterworks End. The forward spun on the pass, and he played it out for Bell to strike from 22-yards, but it was always swerving away from the nets.

Awareness from Bell saw him steal possession high in the opposition half midway through the half and Mellish took over, tight by the corner flag. His near post cross found Abrahams, but he feinted to get out of the way and he allowed the ball to run on. It ran free, but the whistle went as the assistant on the near side flagged that the ball had gone out of play.

Defender Morgan Feeney had to leave the field on the half hour when he sat down indicating that he needed treatment, and he was replaced by Brennan Dickenson.

A surging run from the substitute helped to turn defence into attack as he took Connolly to the byline. The cross was put behind for a corner, but the visitors eventually cleared that, with Demetri Mitchell first to the ball.

He took a touch off his chest on the half way line and sprinted through to pick a spot in the bottom corner as Jensen advanced to try to make the angles smaller.

Magnus Norman was on for Lukas Jensen for the second half, and United mounted the first attack of the period when a flick from Bell sent Abrahams on a chase. Clough also covered the space and he almost nicked it off Maxwell as the keeper hesitated when it came to his feet.

Mitchell was close at the other end when he combined with Hamilton. A drop of the shoulder opened a gap, but the shot deflected off Whelan and into the side netting.

United kept trying to find the outlet, with Abrahams and Clough constantly mobile, and Riley was almost presented with a gift when Maxwell rolled a poor pass into no man's land. His second touch was heavy and the ball ran harmlessly behind.

Yates blazed over from the edge of the box at the other end as clear-cut chances remained rare, and Connolly did the same after a long pass forward brought orange shirts into the mix. The cut back was perfect for the right back but he was off target with the missile he released.

Mass substitutions for the visitors caused mass panic in the press box on 66 minutes, but Dickenson took it in his stride as he rode three challenges to spred the play. Toure took over, and he used Whelan as the pair shifted it in an attempt to make room.

A break from Abrahams moments later took him past two just inside his own half, and Mellish forged ahead when the dink came his way. Abrahams was on the overlap, but his measured cross was dealt with as Clough bore down.

Great close ball work from Toure brought a twist, a turn and a stepover as he took a fizzed pass off Mampala, but the cross was headed clear in the nick of time.

Blackpool moved out in numbers from the clearance, with Bange at the spearhead. He picked out Sarkic but the first-time piledriver from just inside the area was mishit.

Dickenson and Guy were in tune in midfield and their short exchange sent Whelan into a good area. Another stern piece of defending brought the move to an end.

United were a whisker away on 76 minutes when Guy bent a beauty of a 28-yard free kick at the 18-yard line, after Toure had been toppled. Clough met it with the slightest of touches and Maxwell was relieved to see it skip past his upright.

Another Dickenson break had Clough and Mampala in support, but an attempted defence splitter was rescued by Keogh. 

Carlisle came again when Clough turned away with his back to goal, when Guy spotted his nifty movement. Riley's eyes lit up but he bent it high as he tried to tuck it into the top corner.

Dickenson was scythed to the floor by the Blackpool trialist with 10 minutes left to play, tight by the byline in front of the Warwick Road End. Guy swept the set piece across the face of goal but it was just an inch too high for Hayden.

The Cumbrians should have equalised on 85 minutes when they fashioned a superb passage of play. Coming out from the back it was taken by Riley, who tore the back line open with a pss from the outside of his right foot. Dickenson did everything right as he cushioned it, but the lob over the keeper on the run from 12-yards had just too much on it and it dropped wide of the mark.

Norman was comfortable with a snapshot from Matshazi late in the day, and Toure was a whisker away after Mampala, Dixon and Charters had moved it from right to left. The wide man twice dropped his shoulder before flashing it just over from close range.

Toure and Dixon both had shots charged down in the final minute, but the Tangerines held on to claim their slender win.

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Teams

Carlisle United - Jensen (Norman 46), Whelan, Hayden, Feeney (Dickenson 30), Armer, Riley, Mellish (Dixon 81), Guy (c), Bell (Toure 56), Clough (Charters 81), Abrahams (Mampala 70). Subs - Simons, Tanner, Fishburn.

Blackpool - Maxwell (c), Connolly, Husband, Yates, Anderson, Mitchell, Ward, Ekpiteta (Fitzgerald 83), Hamilton, Trusty (Trialist 46), Garbutt. Subs - Sarkic, Carey, Mtashazi, Keogh, Bange, Moore, Mariette, Holmes, Monks.

All subs came on on 66 minutes.

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Goals

Blackpool - Mitchell (37)

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Referee - Anthony Backhouse
Assistant - Kevin Mulraine
Assistant - Jonathan Bickerdike
Fourth Official - Scott Henry

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Attendance - 1,863 (256 away fans)


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