REPORT FROM CARLISLE SITE
Match Report from Carlisle United Official Site
A pulsating and exciting first half of football saw United take a two goal lead before being pegged back on the stroke of half time by a Mansfield side who looked very impressive going forward.
Carlisle made the early running and looked like a side who knew what the stakes were as they closed the Stags down and fought for every ball. Craig Farrell had the first real effort of the afternoon in the 5th minute as he made space for himself 20 yards from goal. He hit his shot well but could only guide it wide of the target.
Mark Boyd also tried his luck from just outside the area shortly after but it was, perhaps, written in the stars that United defender Kevin Gray would have a huge say in what is his final game of the season. A superb corner from Brendan McGill was met well by the popular player and he made no mistake as he bulletted his header in to the net to make it 1-0.
Mansfield reacted well and Colin Larkin fluffed a glorious opportunity to level the scores in the 14th minute as his shot from just 6 yards, after good work on the wing by Mendes, rocketed back off the cross bar. Carlisle eventually scrambled the ball for a corner and went to sleep for the set piece as Lawrence found himself completely unmarked on the back post. Richie Foran was in place on the line to clear the ball before it could nestle in the back of the net.
Lawrence came even closer on 17 minutes as he worked his work in to the box and made space for a shot. He connected well but was left looking on in disbelief as Glennon dived low to complete a world class save that kept his goal in tact.
Carlisle composed themselves and things were about to get much better as they won a free kick 26 yards from goal in the 20th minute. Preece placed it and moved to take it as Curtis charged it down, running forward far too early as far as referee Steve Mathieson was concerned. Curtis was booked for his ploy and the ball moved forward to the edge of the box, allowing Preece the opportunity to re-take the kick. He made no mistake as he drilled the second goal of the day in to the back of the net, though both Shelley and Farrell may be arguing that they got a touch on the way.
Carlisle understandably sat back to regroup and Mansfield started to get forward more, causing the travelling fans no end of nail biting. In the 26th minute Liam Lawrence showed why he has built up a following at Field Mill as he rode two challenges to break in to the United box. Gray shadowed him but mistimed his tackle and the ref had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
A penalty kick that turned in to farce brought bookings for Cowan, Murphy and Foran before and after its completion and it also saw Lawrence have to score twice as the officials appeared to lose the plot. Never-the-less the end result was that Mansfield were back in the game as Lawrence eventually slotted the ball in to the bottom left of the goal to make it 2-1.
The Stags had their tails up and pushed United ever deeper as they went for the equaliser and it almost came in the 40th minute as Mackenzie mesmerised the Carlisle back line with a jinking run. He crossed the ball low in to the box and Cordon volleyed it goalwards but was left with his head in his hands as Glennon pulled off world class save number two of the afternoon.
Disaster was to strike on the stroke of half time, though, as the very impressive Liam Lawrence picked up a short pass from Mendes and beat two defenders before clipping the ball over the advancing dive of Glennon to make it 2-2. As good as the equaliser was it did not warrant the disgusting gestures made by both Cordon and Mendes in the direction of the Travelling fans as they celebrated the goal, and more may be heard of that particular incident yet.
Going in to half time, then, both teams will have felt that they should have been in control of a game in which they had both had their moments but it meant that both sides still had everything to play for.
Half Time - Mansfield 2 - 2 Carlisle
The opening 10 minutes of the second half were to be the flattest period of the match as the sides drew breath after a monumental first half but the excitement was sparked off again when Preece was nudged from behind in the penalty area but Mr Mathieson steadfastly ignored the claims for a spot kick. Arnison replaced the injured McGill on 51 minutes
Mackenzie came close for Mansfield in the 56th minute as he rode two challenges on his way towards the 6 yard box but he snatched at his shot as he sliced it over the bar from the angle. Arnison was even closer for United as Foran picked the ball up in midfield and ran forward at pace. He reversed a cheeky pass to Murphy who clipped it to the back post but the Carlisle defender could only guide his header narrowly wide of the target. Simpson brought Langmead on for Farrell in the 60th minute in a move to force something different to happen up front and it was to be the visitors who would enjoy the better periods of play in the following minutes.
On 66 minutes the moment that the 19 year old has dreamed about since joining the club came after some superb work on the wing from Foran. The United striker forged through two crunching tackles and held his pass until Langmead moved in to space. The youngster took the ball, feinted his move and crashed the ball in to the back of the net to give his side hope once more as he put them 3-2 ahead.
Two minutes later he felt the full ferocity of veteran Andy Preece's tongue as he moved forward again, however, instead of playing his partner through he opted to shoot from an almost impossible position. Preece himself will feel he could have done better on 69 minutes as he saw Pilkington off his line but the chip was too weak and it was easy for the keeper to collect.
The last 20 minutes was all about Carlisle digging deep and it took blocks from Gray, Cowan and Andrews to keep the lead in tact and, it has to be said, it took a huge effort from Richie Foran who ran himself in to the ground for the cause and to make sure we took the three points.
Mansfield probed and probed but it was to be a 20 yard effort that would appear to have levelled the scores in the 89th minute as Lawrence curled a superb effort just past Glennon and his goal. Just as it appeared that Carlisle had done what was necessary to see this game out, and with the 3 minutes of added time almost up, a looping ball in to the box brought a clumsy challenge from Cowan on Lawrence as they both rose for the ball. The referee pointed to the spot immediately and Lawrence stepped forward to take his 14th penalty of the season, having successfully put the previous 13 in the back of the net.
With a run up that a long jumper would have been proud of he struck the ball low and hard to Glennon's left but this team has a habit of making heroes out of its goalkeepers. Our current incumbent didn't disappoint and he was equal to the pressure of the moment as he kept United's hopes of League football alive with his third superb save of the afternoon. The celebrations were followed by the final whistle and a fantastic few minutes shared between the players and the fans.
Paul Simpson, Dennis Booth and the players they have moulded together proved yet again that they have become a force to be reckoned with in this Division and deservedly climb off the bottom of the table after this massive effort. It is still all to play for, simply because they have never given it up. When you see what players like Foran, Glennon, Preece, Gray, Andrews, et al are willing to put in then there is little doubt that they fully deserve to survive. We're still there, we're still fighting and we still have 6 points to play for. Let's see the City of Carlisle down at Brunton Park next week and let's make sure we are there together to see this team to safety.
Full Time - Mansfield 2 -3 Carlisle
Mansfield - Lawrence (29 pen), (45)
United - Gray (12), Preece (21), Langmead (66)
Glennon penalty save - last kick of game!!!!
Mansfield - Curtis (20), Lawrence (41)
United - Cowan (26), Foran (28), Murphy (30), Langmead (66), Boyd (87)
Pilkington, Hassell, Vaughan (Disley 82), Baptiste, Day, Lawrence, Curtis, Mackenzie, Cordon, Larkin, Mendes (D'Jaffo 64). Not Used - Beardsley, Williamson, Artell.
Glennon, Shelley, Andrews, Gray, Cowan, Murphy, McGill (Arnison 51), Boyd, Farrell (Langmead 60), Preece, Foran. Not Used - McDonagh, Simpson, Duffield.
Travelling Fans - 996
Latest | April 2004