The Blues second-string draw a blank at Bloomfield Road in their quest for the title

David Raven
With David Raven making a long awaited return from injury tonight it meant a little bit of a change around at the back for the Blues second-string. Raven featuring at centre-half alongside Steven Swinglehurst, with Simon Lakeland playing once more at left-back and Tony Kane occupying the other full-back spot. Lenny Pidgeley another Blue coming back from injury this evening as he looked to get match fitness following his broken hand.

As for the side overall on a cold and very windy evening, United only had five youth team players in their starting eleven at kick-off against a young Blackpool side which contained just two professionals, in Stephen Husband and on-loan Huddersfield defender Andy Butler. The rest of the line-up for the Seasiders at Bloomfield Road being YTS lads, with that Tangerines youth team struggling badly this season.

It was Carlisle too that started brightly in the first minute when Pidgeley hit a long free-kick up which Ryan Bowman, back from Workington, headed across the Blackpool penalty area, Seasiders goalkeeper Chris Kettings though able to catch the ball in the air with no concern. Five minutes later Matt Osmond then unable to get on the end of a good cross in from the right wing by Ben McKenna.

With eight minutes on the clock Gavin Rothery was looking to get on the United scoresheet but his shot from the edge of the box was deflected away from the target. The Seasiders then responding with their first chance of the game only sixty seconds later when Jake Forshaw set up Adam Foster for an 18-yard shot well over the top.



Play was slightly untidy on the whole early on but in the 11th minute the Blues looked to break forward again and Bowman raced away down the left-hand channel, the angle was tight though and the United striker's shot flashed narrowly wide of the near-post. Bowman then, from a similar position four minutes later, having a low drive from a Manny Richardson through ball well saved by the right boot of Kettings.

Carlisle were again attacking after 19 minutes when a busy McKenna stuck a cross in from the right which Bowman was sadly just unable to reach. Richardson then wasting a good opportunity going forward two minutes later when he put a poor ball in at the end of a United break. Bowman then involved in proceedings again in the 25th minute when his low cross in was cut out by home defender Kiran Darcy just as Osmond looked to get on the end of it.

One of Carlisle's best chances in the game came in the 27th minute when Kane and Bowman both combined to set up Osmond for a left-footed 20-yard curler which zipped across goal only to go inches above the angle of far-post and bar. Osmond then involved in a meaty challenge with Jake Rooney bang on the half-hour mark which only saw the Seasider booked.

Shortly afterwards and Richardson tried an extremely speculative shot which only flew well wide of the target. Richardson then involved in a move with the creative Michael Burns in the 36th minute, but looking to get on the end of a pass through Bowman was somewhat harshly judged offside. The Tangerines then going close three minutes later when a Stephen Husband corner saw Blackpool skipper Andy Butler head narrowly wide under pressure from Steven Swinglehurst.

Carlisle though coming back as we ticked into the 45th minute when a nice passing move forward from the Cumbrians ended with Richardson playing in Osmond for a shot that flew straight into the arms of Kettings. Blackpool then having the last opportunity of the half in injury time when Tom Barkuizen put a shot across the Blues six-yard box which was well cleared away by the boot of Burns.



During the break United youth team coach Eric Kinder made his first, and pre-scheduled change of the game, when Raven was substituted by Lance McGlen, the Newcastle-based centre-half who joins the YTS scheme at Brunton Park next season actually making his reserve team debut before having even featured for the youth team in a competitive fixture.

Blackpool came out strongly after the interval though and they had a busy spell early on in the half, Barkuizen first putting a cross into the United box on 47 minutes which Rooney was just unable to connect with, before Rooney was definitely involved in the action only seconds later when he struck a shot in that was easily gathered by Pidgeley.

Two minutes on and it was still the Seasiders when Kurt Bradley had a shot well blocked by Swinglehurst, Bradley himself then pulling a low effort wide of the target from the rebound. United did manage to get forward themselves sixty seconds later though when McKenna played in Burns, but sadly for Carlisle a shot on goal from Burns looped up off Josh Roberts and proved easy for Kettings to take under his crossbar.

The Blues did though dodge a bullet just before the hour-mark when McGlen made a strong challenge on Barkuizen in the United box, the referee wasn't impressed with the Blackpool claims though and no penalty was awarded. Carlisle then breaking forward as the game began to swing end to end with Simon Lakeland and McKenna pushing the ball up for Bowman to stick a cross in which was well held by Kettings.



Bang on the midway point in the half and Rothery was booked for a hefty challenge on Barkuizen, the Blackpool striker then having to hobble gingerly off the field as he was replaced, following unsuccessful treatment, by Joe MacDonald. Rothery then involved for the right reasons with 20 minutes to go when his cross into the Seasiders box was taken by Kettings with McKenna lurking just behind him.

With fierce showers of hailstones coming down at regular intervals as the sodden pitch began to cut up, Blackpool were the next ones on the attack after 73 minutes when Foster tried a long range shot in on the Carlisle goal which Pidgeley was able to watch go wide. Pidgeley then taking the captain's armband from Kane two minutes later as Phil Towler came on for Kane, Towler coming in at centre-half as McGlen then moved out to right-back.

The Cumbrians then making their third and final change of the game with 12 minutes to go when Bowman was replaced by Dan Jones upfront, Jones another schoolboy who will join the YTS ranks in the summer. Jones was instantly involved too with some good touches and it was his early work, then along with Richardson, that set Osmond up for a left-footed 20-yard shot, Osmond though always leaning back as he smacked his effort well over the top.

After a slightly quieter spell, and with only three minutes to go, Burns fed Jones in for what looked like a great close range shooting opportunity only for Rooney to make an excellent last ditch tackle on the Carlisle striker. McKenna and Richardson then looking to find a late winner for United in the 89th minute only for Richardson's pass across the box to fail to find an unmarked Osmond.

The second-string Blues eventually having to settle for a point in their title challenge when two minutes into added time, following some good late Carlisle pressure, Burns saw his volley from the edge of the box first dropped but then held on the line by a nervy Kettings. The final whistle coming moments later on one of the more entertaining 0-0 draws you will see, particularly given the poor playing conditions.



Blackpool line-up :

Chris Kettings, Jake Forshaw, Josh Roberts, Stephen Husband, Andy Butler (c), Kiran Darcy, Kurt Bradley, Jake Rooney, Tom Barkuizen (Joe MacDonald 68), Adam Foster, Adam Dodd.

Unused substitutes :

Joe Potts (GK), Ben Breakell and Kingsley Reynolds.


United line-up :

Lenny Pidgeley, Tony Kane (Phil Towler 75), Simon Lakeland, Steven Swinglehurst, David Raven (Lance McGlen 46), Ben McKenna, Michael Burns, Gavin Rothery, Ryan Bowman (Dan Jones 78), Manny Richardson, Matt Osmond.

Unused substitutes :

Mark Gillespie (GK) and Josh Todd.



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