United Go Down To Defeat At Tranmere
Despite that it was a quiet start to the game as it took until the ninth minute for the first real shot on goal to come, Matty Robson's 20-yard free-kick going straight into the arms of Joe Collister. Carlisle then going very close moments later when Craig Curran and Gary Madine got in each other's way a bit as Curran ended up heading Ben Marshall's cross over the top from close range. Joss Labadie then sending a long range free-kick in, albeit way too high, as Rovers looked to respond.
United's spell of pressure did earn them a penalty in the 16th minute however when Timothee Catalina was punished for handball, Murphy, instead of designated spot-kick taker Berrett, stepping up to take the 12-yarder only to blaze it way over the top of the angle of post and bar. Thomas-Moore then curled a shot in that was an easy one for Collin to save before Enoch Showunmi missed a good chance for the hosts when he could only head over following a good ball in by Dale Jennings.
Just after the half-hour mark and an on-top Carlisle were once more pressing when Curran and Madine set up Marshall for a powerfully hit 20-yard volley which flew inches wide. It was the home side who found the net in the 39th minute however when, following a partly cleared corner, a poor piece of control by Berrett just outside the box allowed Goodison to hammer a fierce drive into the Cumbrians net off the inside of Collin's left-hand post.
Slightly shellshocked by that goal, United looked to get back into things straight away but Murphy was once more off target as his header from a Berrett corner disappeared away over Collister's crossbar. That, bar a poor late cross from Tranmere's Aaron Cresswell being the final opportunity for either side to find the net in a first-half in which Carlisle went down the tunnel rueing their missed chances in front of the Rovers goal.
United missing another one three minutes into the second-half, but this time it was down to a fantastic one-handed save from Collister as he did very well to keep out Madine's side-footed effort. The Rovers goalkeeper then making a much easier stop as he held onto Curran's touch and volley in on his net. Curran though then being replaced by Francois Zoko in the 56th minute as the Blues looked to freshen things up in their attacking ranks.
It was penalty time again bang on the hour-mark again though when Robson brought down Labadie for a clear Whites spot-kick. Penalty saving expert Collin once more the United hero however as he kept out Thomas-Moore's 12-yarder away to his right. Carlisle then picking up their fourth yellow card of the match shortly afterwards before Tom Taiwo became the latest Cumbrians sacrificial lamb as he was replaced by Leeds-loanee striker Mike Grella.
Into the 69th minute and there was yet another penalty as Lubomir Michalik was very fortunate to avoid a second yellow card after he brought down Lateef Elford-Alliyu in the Cumbrians box. Cresswell this time on the ball for the spot-kick only to see his shot ping straight back off the left-hand post via the fingertips of Collin, with Murphy then able to clear the United lines. That was the fifth time out of five that a penalty had been missed by the two sides against each other this season, but there wasn't to be a sixth despite Grella's shot up at the other end seemingly striking the hand of a home defender moments later.
Those two missed spot-kicks looking to have cost Tranmere dear in the 78th minute when Frank Simek and Grella combined to push in a low cross which Berrett slotted well past Collister from ten yards out. Parity didn't last long though as two minutes later Rovers were ahead once more, Labadie first having a shot well saved by Collin before play went on and some poor defending on a Showunmi cross in from Murphy and Robson allowed Thomas-Moore to hammer the ball home powerfully from close range.
Sandwiched between a substitution apiece Showunmi sent a shot on the turn narrowly wide after 88 minutes, before United missed a massive chance to nick a point two minutes into the almost six minutes of injury time played. Grella scooping a low Marshall cross to the back-post way over from close range, before Carlisle's definite final opportunity came and went when Berrett flicked a free-kick up for Madine 25 yards out, but United's top scorer could only volley it straight into the Rovers defensive wall.