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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: United 3 - 1 Bantams

Report from the Saturday afternoon home game

13 March 2021

Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: United 3 - 1 Bantams

Report from the Saturday afternoon home game

13 March 2021

United's mad March continued with the fourth of their nine games in the 31-day period a home meeting with Bradford City.

Changes were made as Jon Mellish, George Tanner and Ozzy Zanzala came into the starting eleven, with Josh Kayode missing out once again through injury.

It was another extremely windy afternoon, with United taking the gusts on their backs as they kicked towards the Waterworks End.

Two good early touches from Zanzala almost paid dividend as Alessandra played it on and Armer crossed. Paudie O'Connor was there to guide the ball to safety.

United had an early scare when a clip back into the box from a Mellish clearance was plucked out of the air by the unmarked Gareth Evans. He was just 12-yards out, but he couldn't get it from under his feet and the blue shirts closed ranks.

Good work from Riley saw him regain possession midway inside the Bradford half and Tanner won a free kick when he was upended as he carried the ball on. Guy touched the 30-yarder for Dickenson to strike but he dragged his effort low and wide.

A long throw from Dickenson was flicked on by McDonald as United increased the pace, but Alessandra had to peel off to recover it. Riley showed, and his cross was cleared as far as Armer, who had a volley blocked as it dropped to him on the edge of the box. Another cross came in, and Guy connected with a stunning swipe that had to be beaten away on the dive by Hornby as it angled at the top corner.

It was a good spell for the home side and Riley had another rasper charged down when he spun on a loose ball. It was recycled to Dickenson, and his dipping pass was challenged for by McDonald. It wouldn't quite settle and Ward was on hand to hook it high.

Wide man Dickenson combined with Tanner as the right back overlapped to beat his man, with the blue shirts looking confident, and the cross was a real teaser as Zanzala lurked. Canavan miscued it but he got enough of a toe there to stem the attack.

The pressure remained with the hosts and a swift passage of passes left Armer with room to cross. Bennett was up, but it was taken off his head just as he was about to meet it on the rise.

Bradford attacked from nowhere on 28 minutes when Cook rode a challenge before playing it through the gap. Crankshaw was suddenly clean through but Farman sprinted off his line to make a superb and important save, and McDonald was in attendance to help to tidy things up.

There was a loud appeal for a penalty on 32 minutes when Armer was dragged to the floor as he tried to get on the end of an inswinging Guy corner. The officials completely missed it.

Guy took the resulting corner, and Bennett was disappointed when he sent his header high and wide.

Carlisle were close again when Dickenson whipped a stunning cross into the mix. Zanzala was a whisker away from putting it away but it flashed past him and Hornby could breath again.

The home side then thought they'd done it when Zanzala pulled wide to turn his man. He fed it to Dickenson, and his thunderbolt from 19-yards was saved well by Hornby. The parry was there to be put away but it got stuck under Alessandra's feet and the Bantams were able to squirrel it behind.

It was a short-lived reprieve though as Guy picked out Bennett with a precisely delivered corner. The crunching header bounced off the floor and into the roof of the net.

A two-goal cushion was established two minutes later when another wicked corner dropped at the feet of the stopper. Zanzala challenged, and he made it two goals in two games as he bundled it over the line.

United created the first attack of the second period when Dickenson went past his man to deliver. Hornby was there to pick it up.

The Cumbrians used the same route when Riley and Alessandra put Tanner on a run. He stepped over once, twice, then checked back to rip a delivery at the front stick. It ricocheted off Canavan and Zanzala could only prod it wide as he tried to get there on the stretch.

Another patient passage of play gave Riley space to shoot after Mellish and Alessandra had once again worked the ball well. Hornby had to get his full body behind it as it skipped off the surface.

Substitute Danny Rowe flashed a long-range free kick over the bar as the Bantams looked to find a foothold, but it was the Blues who had smiles on their faces when they moved the ball from right to left. Alessandra started it, Guy had a hand, Riley moved it onwards and Tanner spotted Dickenson in space. His cross was measured, as was the header from Zanzala which looped majestically past the dive from the keeper.

Gareth Evans gave his team hope with 25 minutes left to play when a misguided clearance from a deep free kick came his way, as he loitered on the penalty spot. He struck it on the turn and a deflection left Farman with no chance.

A huge kick from Hornby suddenly saw Evans break clear after Rowe had nicked it on. Farman spread himself to make a strong block. Cook was then unexpectedly one-on-one when a clearance from Tanner was deflected, but he got his angles wrong and he sent a gentle lob wide of the post.

Zanzala missed a great chance to claim his hat-trick after Alessandra and Mellish had pulled the Bradford back line this way and that. Mellish found a neat cross and the striker was furious with himself as he put his header into the side netting.

A wild shot from Billy Clarke sped into the hoardings as Bradford tried to find a way to apply some late pressure, but it was the hosts who should have added to the tally when Guy popped a great free kick towards Alessandra. He let it go, and Hornby had to punch out before Dickenson could make it count.

United defended their lead well through the closing stages, and a slick move involving Mellish and Patrick brought a corner as Alessandra moved into space. That was cleared, and the back line had work to do when the Bantams won a corner of their own. There was a scramble, and Farman had to put a header behind and then gather a late drive from Paudie O'Connor, but the Cumbrians held their nerve to take their points.



Carlisle United - Bennett (37, 39), Zanzala (56)

Bradford City - Evans (64)



Carlisle United - Zanzala (74), Farman (79), Alessandra (90), Patrick (90)

Bradford City - Watt (34), Sutton (69), O'Connor (73), Rowe (90)



Carlisle United - Farman, Tanner, McDonald, Bennett, Armer, Mellish, Guy (c), Riley (Hayden 81), Dickenson (Patrick 89), Zanzala (Toure 76), Alessandra. Subs - Norman (gk), Anderton, Charters, Walker. 

Bradford City - Hornby, P O'Connor (c), Canavan, A O'Connor, Vernam (Clarke 66), Evans, Watt (Stevens 66), Sutton (Scales 79), Wood, Cook, Crankshaw (Rowe 46). Subs - O'Donnell (gk), Donaldson, Cousin-Dawson, Scales.


Match officials

Referee - Ollie Yates
Assistant Referee 1 - Joe Simpson
Assistant Referee 2 - Billy Smallwood
Fourth Official - Chris Isherwood
Observer - Nigel Miller


Attendance - BCD

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