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MATCH REPORT: United 1 - 1 Imps (4-3 pens)

Report from the Tuesday night home game

30 November 2021

Group A winners Carlisle United were up against Lincoln City in the first straight knockout game of this season's Papa John's Trophy competition.

Manager Keith Millen made three changes to the starters from Saturday with Tristan Abrahams, Zach Clough and Jon Mellish in for Corey Whelan, Brad Young and the injured Joe Riley.

It was Mellish who went on the first charge inside the first minute when he confidently took the ball down the left flank. His cross had venom but it smashed into the side netting.

The Imps responded with a move through the middle of park with Fiorini at the heart of it. He fed it to Adelakun, and his sharp delivery was met by N'Lundulu. He got his bearings wrong and the snapshot rose high into the Warwick.

Good interplay between Clough and Armer left room for Mellish to exploit, and his cross on the sprint was turned behind for a corner. That was cleared, as was the follow up cross from Guy.

Howard was called into action on 10 minutes when Adelakun dropped a shoulder to make some room. He was at an angle, but the drive was powerful and the keeper had to beat it away at the front stick.

The resulting short corner routine eventually came to Sanders, who was dead central 25-yards out. His measured effort was going in until the agile stopper dived to palm it away from his bottom corner.

Direct running from Gibson saw him bend a run from the right flank as Carlisle responded. Mellish took over and he let fly when he reached the edge of the area. Griffiths stooped low to pick it up.

Another winding run from Gibson earned a free kick when he was chopped to the ground. Clough got it over the wall from distance but Griffiths was there once again.

Lincoln unexpectedly turned possession over in the home half on the quarter hour and Fiorini had time and space to work with. He went for power and it drifted wide of the angle of post and bar.

There was danger in the United box when Adelakun unleashed the stepovers as he weaved his way through two challenges. Just 10-yards out he had the goal at his mercy, but a weak shot with the outside of his left boot made it easy for Howard to deal with.

The Imps continued to probe, but the back line remained solid with the Blues appearing comfortable in allowing the away team to have the ball.

Attacking on the break Gibson broke clear to give Clough an overlap. He found Abrahams, and he won a corner as he almost turned his man. The delivery was excellent and the glanced header from McDonald smacked into the woodwork after Maguire had got the merest of interventions.

A second good set piece from Clough was cleared as far as Guy, and he caught the rolling ball on the full with a thunderous connection. Griffiths watched in relief as it grazed the top of his bar.

Half chances came and went for the Imps with N'Lundulu and Fiorini drawing blanks in quick succession, but the good work from the hosts was undone in time added on for the first half when N'Lundulu went wide to cut the ball back. Maguire took a touch then crunched a wicked effort into the roof of the net from just inside the area.

Carlisle should have been back on terms on 53 minutes when a heavy touch from Bramall gifted Gibson possession. He was clean through, and he dumped keeper Josh Griffiths to the floor as he rounded his way to the target. He steadied himself, but he somehow poked the ball wide as he tried to place it in the perfect spot.

A shot from range from Sanders hit Mellor on the thigh as he tried to catch Howard unawares as Lincoln came again, and Adelakun thrashed a dipping, swirling tester through bodies when he pulled off his marker. Howard saw it late but he completed a fine save as he got there to touch it onto the post.

Manny Mampala sparked the move that brought the Blues level when he turned on a sixpence to create an acre of space. Jack Armer was on his toes and the sliderule pass he received invited a shot. Griffiths got a finger to it but he could do nothing as it skipped into and bulged the inside of the net.

The home crowd found their voice and they applauded Kelvin Mellor when he tracked a dangerous move to make a vital interception, as McGrandles looked to find Maguire in the box.

Mellish and Mampala combined to pick out Young as the clock ticked down, and the forward had Griffiths worried with a fizzer that had to be closely monitored. And there was care to be taken at the other end when Maguire flighted a pass towards Bishop. McDonald made sure he made it his.

Midfielder Lewis Fiorini bent one wide when he flashed his laces through the ball at distance, and Maguire poked one over the bar when he tried to take matters into his own hands with the game still in the balance.

It stayed tight as the rain battered down on Brunton Park, with Rod McDonald looking to recreate his assist magic from the weekend with a touch from a Guy free kick. He got the volley but it was too close to the keeper.

The final whistle blew, taking the encounter into the hero making territory of a penalty shootout.


Mellish - left-footed, smacked the bar - 0-0

Maguire - blazed it well over - 0-0

Armer - straight down the middle - 1-0

Fiorini - rifled into the corner - 1-1

Whelan - into the roof of the net - 2-1

Bishop - low, to the left, Howard got a touch - 2-2

Young - skipping type jump, slotted - 3-2

McGrandles - low, hard - 3-3

Charters - drilled into the top corner - 4-3

Montsma - over the bar - 4-3

United go through.



Carlisle United - Armer (69)

Lincoln City - Maguire (45)



Carlisle United - Mellish (55), Guy (90)

Lincoln City - Adelakun (55), Maguire (85), McGrandles (90)



Carlisle United - Howard, Mellor, Feeney, McDonald, Armer, Gibson (Charters 63), Mellish, Guy (c), Clough (Whelan 85), Abrahams (Young 46), Fishburn (Mampala 63). Subs - Simons (gk), Devine, Dinzeyi.

Lincoln City - Griffiths, Poole, Bramall (Robson 69), Eyoma, Montsma, Fiorini, McGrandles (c), Sanders (Bishop 78), Maguire, N'Lundulu, Adelakun. Subs - Long (gk), Roughan, Gallagher, Longdon, Sorensen.


Match officials

Referee - James Bell
Assistant Referee 1 - Bradley Hall
Assistant Referee 2 - Lewis Raper
Fourth Official - Lucy May
Observer - Mick Brown


Attendance - 884 (75)

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