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RESERVES: Boro 1 - 1 United

Report from the Tuesday afternoon game

14 March 2023

The draw was probably the fair result from a competitive reserve fixture at the Middlesbrough training ground on Tuesday afternoon as a number of United's first-team players featured.

It was tight from the start, with strong tackling and quick pressing the order of the day, and it was Boro who showed first with a long ball from deep that skipped into the box. Ben Barclay was excellent as he timed his tackle to perfection.

The hosts came again with a neat move down the right flank but Kelly was comfortable as he watched a header from a pinpoint cross drift past his post.

There was more defending to do for the Blues when the right touchline was utilised once again by the home team. The delivery needed a touch, but there was nobody there to make it count.

Carlisle started to settle and Dixon did well to wriggle out of a tight spot as he recieved a pass from Devitt. He was tackled from behind, and Robinson took charge of the set piece. His inswinger was a beauty, and Dennis was a whisker away from popping it over the line.

Strong work from Harris brought a turnover of possession in the centre circle. Gordon was on the move, and he put Dennis through with the deftest of passes. The striker unleashed a shot but the keeper was down to gather.

Back at the other end and the red shirts looked to have unpicked the lock with a crisp passing move until Whelan sprinted across to make a vital block.

In a game that was suddenly very open, Edmondson dropped deeper to find space. He bounced it off Dennis before clipping it through for the overlapping Robinson to volley as he raced into the box. The keeper was beaten but it was cleared off the line by a retreating defender.

Carlisle finished the half on top, with Devitt seeing plenty of the ball, and he gave Robinson more to work with when he rolled a measured through ball towards the corner flag. The left wing back crunched it across the face of goal but Gordon was bumped out of the way before he could finish it off.

United picked up where they had left off from the restart for the second period and Edmondson found joy from out wide as he battled his way past two challenges. Dennis put his boot through the ball as it ricocheted his way but the stopper was well placed to deal with it.

Whelan repeated his goal-saving feats from the first half with another excellent challenge as Boro enjoyed a good spell, and his defensive efforts were rewarded when Kelly kicked the ball long. Edmondson won it, and his downward header sent Gordon on a run. He was chopped to the ground, and Kris Dennis calmly converted the resulting penalty.

Chances were suddenly few and far between, but the equaliser was a stunner - a dipping volley from distance that caught the wind and sailed into the top corner.

Bollado nodded a difficult chance wide as the Cumbrians looked to regain their lead, and the final chance of the day came from a Devitt pass, with both Bollado and Hardy thwarted by strong blocks.

United - Kelly, Barclay, Whelan (Hardy 74), M Bell (c) (H Gordon 83), Dixon (Allan 46), Harris, Devitt, Robinson, Edmondson (Bollado 65), Dennis, JK Gordon. Subs - Boyd. 

Goal - Dennis (60 pen)

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