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YOUTH: United 2 - 2 Gretna FC 2008

Report from the Thursday night friendly

8 July 2021

United's youth team kicked their pre-season campaign off with a home game against Scottish cross-border neighbours Gretna FC 2008 at Creighton on Thursday night.

And it was an entertaining affair as the teams went toe-to-toe on a firm summer surface.

Gretna had former Blues Jamie Armstrong, Jay Kelly and Ryan Swailes in their ranks and the visitors enjoyed some good possession through a series of opening exchanges which were largely played out in the middle of the park.

But it was the black and white stripes who opened the scoring on 19 minutes when Armstrong was clipped on the edge of the box. He placed the ball for the free kick and he left Simons with no chance as he drilled an unstoppable drive past the wall and into the roof of the net.

The away side were lifted by the goal but safe hands from Simons prevented a punt from distance from causing any further problems.

United started to see more of the ball and a cross from Potts had Bollado interested until two defenders converged to snuff out the danger.

Carlisle took the momentum into the second period and they were back on terms just before the hour when Kilsby pulled into space on the left flank. A wicked cross was spilled by the keeper and Dylan Garvey kept his cool to nod home from close range.

But Gretna refused to buckle and they restored the lead just three minutes later when a teasing, spinning pass left the Cumbrian back line exposed. Boyd could do nothing as a fizzed effort whistled into his net.

A response was needed from the hosts and they didn't disappoint as they flooded forward in numbers. A shot from Watt deflected wide for a corner and DJ Taylor swept a beauty of a delivery into the mix.

Josh Barnett thought he'd scored with a rasping header that angled at the top corner, but the keeper did just enough to claw it away. He needed help from his defenders as it looped out of the air, but it didn't come and he was left to beat the floor in frustration as Nic Bollado used his strength to make sure he was the one to guide it over the line.

It was suddenly all about Carlisle and Matty Bell fashioned a great chance when he ghosted through two challenges on the left flank. His pull back was perfect for Charlie Watt and a thundering 17-yard volley was set to bulge the net until a spectacular one-handed touch from the stopper diverted it over the bar.

The last chance of the night came from the resulting corner, with Max Kilsby disappointed to see his volley nick off a thigh and twist beyond the upright.

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United - Simons (Boyd 46), Potts, Barnett, Ellis, Kilsby, Garvey, Nugent (Bell 46), Hill (Gordon 46), Watt (Nugent 60), Bollado (Watt 74), Taylor. 

Goals - Garvey (59), Bollado (74)


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