After last night's excellent 2-0 home win over Middlesbrough hopes were high for Carlisle this evening against a Reds side for who nine of their 17 available players had former Brunton Park miles in their tank. As for the Blues the injured young trio of Ben Mckenna, Brad Potts and Josh Todd watched the game from the sidelines, while no-one who started in the 'Boro game featured today, the United line-up kicking-off in a diamond formation as follows :
Craig Curran - Paddy Madden
Jack Lynch - David Symington
Steven Swinglehurst - Stephen O'Halloran - Lubomir Michalik - Lance McGlen
On a lovely summer evening at Borough Park the match took a good while to get going with the first chance coming as far on as the seventh minute when Adam Main's cross in from the right found Mark Sloan for a 12-yard right-footed volley which was easily held by Gillespie low down at his left-hand post. Seven minutes later and it was Carlisle looking to press but Symington's shot on his right boot from 25 yards out skipped away narrowly wide of Aaran Taylor's far-post.
During the break in play the first of three injury situations for United on the night came as Paddy Madden went off as a precautionary measure with an ankle knock following a hefty challenge over in the far corner of the pitch, Mark Beck therefore coming on in Madden's place. Both sides struggling with their final ball in the last third and so Jonny Blake tried his luck from distance for the Borough Park side in the 23rd minute with a long range right-footed shot that disappeared away over the top.
Just before the half-hour mark and it was Carlisle attacking when Michalik, still up from a corner, headed a Lynch cross in from the left wide of the Reds far-post from eight yards out. With 35 minutes gone and both sides still struggling to get their passing game going Symington tried one of his right-footed long range blockbusters but the effort was never going on target as it zoomed high and wide of Taylor's left-hand upright.
Three minutes later and Lynch went in heavy on opposition skipper Phil McLuckie 30 yards out on the right, the foul no doubt seeing a yellow card had we been in season proper, Sloan then sticking the free-kick in which Gareth Arnison flick headed wide from ten yards out. The last action of a relatively toothless first-half coming in the 42nd minute when an Andy Murray-Jones cross in from the left came in slightly behind Arnison in the middle of the box, Arnison therefore unable to steer his header from there on target as it looped wide of the near-post.
Half-time then came and went with five changes for Workington, none of them coming in defence, as Blake, Adam Main, Murray-Jones, Arnison and Sloan all went off and Jonny Wright, Mark Boyd, Dan Dillon, Jake Simpson and Simon Tucker entered the fray. As for United Craig Curran was the next injury victim with a first-half dead leg, that seeing Dale Minor come on in his place and Carlisle change to a 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation as follows :
Andy Welsh - Mark Beck - David Symington
Stephen O'Halloran - Paul Thirlwell - Jack Lynch
Dale Minor - Steven Swinglehurst - Lubomir Michalik - Lance McGlen
The early stages of the second-half started with Workington on top a little in the 47th minute as Jonny Wright's right-footed shot from 15 yards out on the right angle was well palmed away by Gillespie, the loose ball then falling to Dillon who only succeeded in shanking the rebound wide of the United far-post from the middle of the Blues box. Carlisle came back strongly in the game for a while though and three minutes later it was O'Halloran pressing up as his left-footed shot from the edge of the Reds penalty area zipped away inches wide of Taylor's left-hand post.
Former Penrith assistant boss Tucker then produced some neat footwork for the home side in the 56th minute when he cut in on his left foot from the right and forced a good low save out of Gillespie at his near-post from 15 yards out. The injury hat-trick for United then came sixty seconds later when McGlen, who had been limping for a short while, was directly replaced at right-back by Blackburn-loanee YTS player Will James.
Shortly afterwards and Anthony Wright brought down Lynch bang on the very right-hand side of the Workington penalty area 15 yards out, Welsh though wasting the free-kick as his weak left-footed low delivery was easily cleared by the first man in the Reds defensive line. In the 64th minute Carlisle were looking to get something going again though but a cross in from the right by James went slightly behind Beck and so his header from ten yards out looped away wide of Taylor's near-post.
At the midway point in the half United went as close to scoring as they would all night when a Welsh left-footed corner was met by the head of O'Halloran ten yards out, it was placement over power though and Boyd was able to nod the effort off the line at the Workington back-post with relative ease. The home side then responding moments later but Simpson, from Anthony Wright's left-wing cross, could only send a right-footed volley almost into orbit from the edge of the United box.
The last substitution of the game then came in the 70th minute when Tony Hopper went off and Dan McDermott came on for the Reds. Workington then taking the lead just sixty seconds later when McLuckie was brought down in the United box by Thirlwell, Jonny Wright then stepping up to comfortably send Gillespie the wrong way from the penalty spot with a well struck low right-footed effort.
There was then a non-penalty incident up at the other end on 74 minutes when Lynch went down, at best, a little easily in a challenge with McDermott, referee Seb Stockbridge signalling for a free-kick for Reds for diving as Lynch got an earful from Workington's Kyle May. Lynch, just turned 16-years old, hopefully realising that would have been his second yellow card and therefore a sending off in any proper competitive fixture.
Things then got worse for United in the 76th minute as Boyd's ball over the top found Tucker in the right-hand channel, the Workington striker then producing an excellent left-footed half-volley from 15 yards out that fairly flew over Gillespie on its way into the far top corner of the Carlisle net. The last 15 minutes saw United struggle to make any headway at all going forward as the Reds often held onto possession well, Symington and Welsh swapping wings not really making any changes to the Blues in attack.
The final chance for a goal to hit the net in a relatively uneventful game coming for the home side in the 81st minute when McLuckie cut in from the right before firing a left-footed strike across goal and wide of Gillespie's right-hand post from 18 yards out. So, chalk and cheese really for Carlisle, excellent last night, not at all excellent tonight, more concerning though would be the amount of niggling little injuries that are being picked up at the moment, that list at all levels now comprising of Craig Curran, Dan Jones, Paddy Madden, Lance McGlen, Ben Mckenna, Dillon Morse, Brad Potts and Brad Staunch, five of those being youth-teamers.
Workington line-up :
Aaran Taylor, Phil McLuckie (c), Anthony Wright, Kyle May, Dan Wordsworth, Jonny Blake (off 46), Adam Main (off 46), Tony Hopper (off 70), Andy Murray-Jones (off 46), Gareth Arnison (off 46), Mark Sloan (off 46).
Jonny Wright (on 46), Mark Boyd (on 46), Dan Dillon (on 46), Jake Simpson (on 46), Simon Tucker (on 46), Dan McDermott (on 70).
Goals - Jonny Wright 71 (pen), Simon Tucker 76.
United line-up :
Mark Gillespie, Lance McGlen (Will James 57), Steven Swinglehurst, Stephen O'Halloran, Lubomir Michalik, Paul Thirlwell, Jack Lynch, Andy Welsh, David Symington, Craig Curran (Dale Minor 46), Paddy Madden (Mark Beck 14).
Unused substitutes :
Jordan Parker (GK).
Referee - Seb Stockbridge (Dunston, Tyne and Wear).
Attendance - 229.
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