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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: United 1 - 0 Walsall

Report from the Saturday afternoon home game

27 November 2021

It was a second home game of a run of four for the Blues with Walsall the visitors to Brunton Park on Saturday afternoon.

Manager Keith Millen made four changes from the Tuesday night match against Harrogate with Jack Armer and Joe Riley back from short-term injury concerns to take their place amongst the starters. 

Teenager Sam Fishburn made his first league start, with Morgan Feeney recalled at the heart of the back line.

Tristan Abrahams, Zach Clough and Danny Devine dropped to the bench, with Brennan Dickenson missing out through injury.

Weather conditions leading into match day were nothing short of horrendous, as Storm Arwen battered the country and travel to Carlisle was hazardous, with many public transport services suspended or completely cancelled.

Brunton Park wasn't completely unscathed, with advertising boards and pitchside graphics dislodged, and the eye-catching fan-produced mural was also ripped from its mountings, opposite the Blues Store at the entrance to the ground.

With the blustery conditions in mind the home side were made to kick towards the Warwick for the first 45 minutes, and the Saddlers fashioned the first chance of the day inside the first minute when Wilkinson got his head down to run at the box. It eventually broke for Khan to strike, but his 17-yard snapshot whipped just past the upright.

On five minutes a deep free kick from Menayese was cleared as far as Wilkinson, and he pulled to an angle before thundering a shot at the target. Howard stood his ground to beat it away.

Rushworth was made to stretch to catch when Guy popped a free kick high into the area at the other end, and a follow-up cross from the Carlisle captain was guided behind by Monthe before Fishburn could get a touch.

Another testing Guy free kick brought a second corner, but it bent wickedly and Rushworth was able to gather it beneath his bar.

The Cumbrians kept the ball well as they probed and probed, and they almost nicked a goal on 26 minutes when a stumble from Ward gifted it to Riley in the centre circle. He tried his luck with a long-range effort but it dipped just too late as Rushworth scrambled back, relieved as he was unable to do anything about it.

A home break sparked by Guy, when he took over from Young on the halfway line, saw the midfielder sprint onwards with Gibson in support. The wide man took over as he angled a run into the box, and Rushworth was well beaten when a clever shot was stabbed through a gaggle of legs. The crowd was ready to cheer until it struck the base of the post and bobbled away to safety.

Tenacity from Young moments later saw him come out of a challenge with the ball at his feet. He fed it to Armer, but the delivery on the run sailed over the bar.

It was a good spell for the home side and Guy sent a free kick from close to the corner flag into the mix. It came to Fishburn, 14-yards out, and his first touch set up the chance to volley. He lost his balance and Monthe was able to swipe it clear.

Substitute Taylor Charters was bundled over dead central, 22-yards out, just before the break but the drive from Gibson was always too high.

The last chance of the half came in the sixth minute of time added when Labadie nodded an inswinger from Khan wide of the nets.

Good work from Kelvin Mellor saw him beat his man and cross at the start of the second period, but Rushworth was off his line to claim it. 

Gibson was next to deliver, when he overlapped, but Monthe stuck out a boot to get it away. United came again when Fishburn showed strength to keep his marker at bay. His pass to Young was blocked, but the Villa loanee battled to win it back. His shot on the spin was charged down.

A surge from Guy took him from his own half to the edge of the area, but he pulled his attempt wide when he let fly.

Howard had to protect his front stick when Miller unleashed a stinging volley on the bounce as both sides worked hard, and the keeper did well to get both hands to it.

Away captain Joss Labadie kept one low as things remained tight, but Howard watched it and the defending was done.

Carlisle responded with a powerful run from Guy which took him past two. Gibson took over, and Charters was suddenly in space. He had to hurry his effort as Menayese closed him down and it ripped over the bar.

Rushworth showed good hands when a Gibson thumper skipped off the greasy surface just in front of him. Fishburn was waiting for any kind of a spill.

It became a game of few clear-cut chances and Miller sent a 14-yard header wide after Ward had popped a fizzed cross into the mix, following what had been a scrappy period.

Osadebe was a whisker away from finding a finish for the Saddlers on 79 minutes when he came out of a tackle with room to shoot. It had power but it rose sharply and bent just over.

Howard showed safe hands from a late free kick attempt from Wilkinson, but it was Carlisle who raised the roof when Abrahams finished off at close range when McDonald floated a touch from a deep free kick back into the area. The striker timed the run to perfection and left Rushworth with no chance.

Phillips hit the bar with a cross that turned into a shot in time added on, but the home crowd were noisy and they cheered every tackle and touch as they roared their side on to victory.

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Match sponsor - Thomas Graham

Click HERE to visit the official Thomas Graham website.

Associate match sponsor - Stanwix Park

Click HERE to visit the official Stanwix Park website.

Match ball sponsor - The Crescent Bar

Click HERE for more on The Crescent Bar.

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Goals

Carlisle United - Abrahams (88)

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Bookings

Carlisle United - Guy (70), Armer (75)

Walsall - Menayese (88)

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Teams

Carlisle United - Howard, Mellor, Feeney, McDonald, Armer, Riley (Charters 37), Whelan, Guy (c), Gibson, Fishburn (Mampala 85), Young (Abrahams 63). Subs - Simons (gk), Devine, Dinzeyi, Clough.

Walsall - Rushworth, White, Ward, Labadie (c), Monthe, Wilkinson, Osadebe, Miller, Earing, Khan (Phillips 65), Menayese. Subs - Rose (gk), Taylor, Kinsella, Leak, Perry, Shade.

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Match officials

Referee - Scott Oldham
Assistant Referee 1 - Ivan Stankovic
Assistant Referee 2 - Joe Simpson
Fourth Official - Simon Clayton (late switch from Matthew Dicicco)
Observer - Roy Pearson

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Attendance - 3,795 (293)


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