Two minutes later a sliced shot by Blues left-back Matthew Blake ended up going to Andy Hardman who crossed the ball in low from the left. Madine and Hindmarch saw close-range efforts blocked before an off-balance Matthew Wood sent his ten-yard shot wide of the far-post. Just sixty seconds on and right-back Matthew Brown volleyed wide from a deep free-kick in by Matthew Blake which flew into the Clarets box on the gusty wind.
After 17 minutes Ali Akbar raced onto a ball down the left for the visitors and opened his body up "a la Thierry Henry" to shoot across Grant Carson from the edge of the United box, his side-footed effort was off-target though as it zipped past the back-stick. A quiet spell in the game, which was severly tested by the weather conditions and an appalling referee, saw the next chance come on 27 minutes when Burnley won a free-kick in a central position 22 yards out. The set-piece was touched off for Rob Turner to hit a shot in but the whistle soon blew as Blake was bizarrely booked for encroachment even though a Clarets player had already touched the ball, when the dust settled Turner eventually hammered a direct effort well wide.
Just after the half-hour mark Carlisle took the lead when Hardman headed the ball, from a Burnley goal-kick which hung on the wind, into the path of Hindmarch down the left-hand channel. Hindmarch beating two defenders on his way to the penalty area before crossing in a pinpoint low centre for Madine to side-foot home from just six yards out. Only one more real shot came before half-time to be honest when Hardman fired straight at the visitors keeper from 22 yards out on 40 minutes. The last action of the first period, which should really have ended with the Cumbrians further ahead than their slender one-goal advantage, being Blues skipper receiving a booking for a foul on Akbar two minutes later.
With the fierce wind behind them, and a probable flea in the air, the Clarets looked more threatening after the interval, although Carlisle missed two big chances early on that would eventually cost them the three points. Five minutes in a bad defensive header allowed Hardman to run in on the keeper one-on-one only for the young midfielder to get the ball stuck under his feet a bit and fire in a scuffed shot, Madine then unable to convert a good chance from the rebound as he could only loop the ball up into the keeper's gloves. Two minutes later, after good work by Wood, it was Madine getting the ball stuck under his feet as his soft chipped shot was easily held by the busy visitors glovesman.
Those two escapes seemed to give Burnley a real lift and from then on it was all Clarets, Akbar firing well over from 30 yards out after 53 minutes and the number ten hitting a left-footed shot from the edge of the Cumbrians box straight at Carson sixty seconds later. You could sense that after the missed chances for Carlisle a goal was coming for the visitors and it did come in the 55th minute, Turner controlling and turning in one movement on a ball in from the right before firing a well-placed 16-yard effort low into the bottom corner of Carson's net with his left foot, a good finish from the Burnley striker.
All of a sudden United found themselves a goal behind just sixty or so seconds after they had been a goal in front, a cross in from the right by the number ten being met on the penalty spot by Akbar racing in, Akbar neatly side-footing the ball home to put the Clarets 2-1 up. Burnley were getting well on top now and in the 58th minute a quickly taken short-corner saw the left-back be a bit wasteful as he fired well over Carson's crossbar from 20 yards out.
Carlisle tried to get things going again though and in the 63rd minute Wood sent a pass into Madine who cleverly back-heeled the ball into the path of Vipond running down the left-hand channel. Vipond was unable to find the finish though as his 15-yard left-footed effort flew into the Burnley side-netting at the near-post. Two minutes later the Clarets number seven hit a left-footed free-kick in from 22 yard out across the Blues box which Carson did well to push out for a corner, then after 68 minutes the number ten sent a 30-yard drive miles high and wide from fully 30 yards out as the visitors looked to increase their lead.
Cumbrians boss Eric Kinder made his first change of the match just after the midway point in the half when two under-16 lads swapped places with left-winger Connor Tinnion coming on to replace Michael Dowson. Burnley went further ahead after 73 minutes when a tangle of legs between Akbar and Blues centre-half Dan Wordsworth in the box saw both players tumble to the ground, with the referee bizarrely awarding a penalty and then booking Carson for dissent. Akbar dusted himself off to take the spot-kick and left Carson with no chance as he fired his left-footed effort high into the roof of the United net.
On 79 minutes some good link-up play between two Clarets saw the ball nicely laid into the path of the number four running in 18 yards out, his resultant left-footed effort being well pushed over the top by Carson. Akbar then sending the corner in which was headed over by a Burnley substitute at the back-post. United make their second, and final, change of the match in the 82nd minute when Richie Hoban replaced Hardman in midfield.
Sixty seconds later Carson saved an 18-yard effort in on his goal easily then shortly afterwards a couple of quick passes saw the Clarets number ten fire in a weak left-footed shot from the edge of the Carlisle box straight into the grateful gloves of Carson. Two minutes left in the match and the visitors made the scoreline a slightly flattering 4-1 when a shot from the substitute number fourteen came in from 18 yards out in the right-hand channel, Carson got a glove to the ball but he was unable to keep it out as it flew into the back of the United net.
The Cumbrians did notch the last goal of the game with a minute to go though when Vipond hit a free-kick up which Madine met at the Burnley back-stick as he sent a thumping header back across goal and into the far corner of the Clarets net. The final whistle coming soon afterwards on an entertaining 4-2 win for the visitors which was only spoilt by a biting freezing cold wind and an awful referee. The official seemingly having got a new whistle for Christmas as he gave dreadfully inconsistent free-kicks against both sides, forgot about the advantage rule, and wound the players of both teams up by constantly ticking them off for the most minor of offences.
United line-up :
Grant Carson, Matthew Brown, Matthew Blake, Terry Stewart, Dan Wordsworth, Shaun Vipond, Matthew Wood, Michael Dowson (Connor Tinnion 68), Andy Hardman (Richie Hoban 82), Stephen Hindmarch, Gary Madine.
Unused substitute :
Results in the division this morning :
Bury 3-2 Rochdale
Carlisle 2-4 Burnley
Oldham 8-0 Accrington Stanley
Shrewsbury 0-2 Walsall
Stockport 4-1 Wrexham
Blackpool P-P Preston
Chester P-P Port Vale
Fixtures in the division next week :
Carlisle v Wigan
Wrexham v Chester
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