Inspired by classy Gilliead
CARLISLE fans could be forgiven for thinking their Christmas present has come early, as new season-long loan signing Alex Gilliead turned in a stunning performance to topple Exeter.
Newcastle youngster Gilliead saw his spell at Brunton Park extended earlier this week, and capped the news by slotting a late winner in an eye-catching afternoon.
And despite his best efforts, Blues boss Keith Curle couldn’t help but heap praise on the teenager for his sensational display.
“Alex has delivered an extremely pleasing performance,” admitted Curle.
“He has had a top week with his international duty but credit to him, he has come back here and put his head down and produced big time.
“The best bit of it all is that he told me he doesn’t enjoy playing on the right wing.
“Their full-back Jamie McAllister is a good, solid and honest pro but he has come up against a special player today.
“Alex is going to be doing that to a lot of good defenders in the future.
“He’s a very levelheaded young man, though.
“He can play anywhere across the front line so he’s a very tough man to plan against and a real asset for us.”
It was the Gilliead show from the opening moments, with the lightning-quick winger dancing past the Grecians defence at will.
He carved out the Cumbrians’ best early opportunities, but both Charlie Wyke and Bastien Hery failed to put the final touch to some pinpoint crosses.
And Exeter could’ve made Carlisle pay when Lee Holmes saw his fierce volley acrobatically saved by Mark Gillespie.
But after the interval the home side were dominant, with Gilliead at the heart of every Carlisle attack.
The youngster beat a bewildered McAllister several times but was unable to produce the killer ball.
Yet the teenager’s performance was to have the fairytale ending it deserved, when home substitute Derek Asamoah dug out a cross and Gilliead slotted it into the bottom corner.
And Exeter boss Paul Tisdale was left to reflect on his side’s early chances, come the final whistle.
“Being philosophical, it was a very close game,” said Tisdale.
“The reason we lost it was purely and simply we didn’t take our chances when they came.
“It was a classic game of two halves. In the first half we had a number of chances and good deliveries but we didn’t get a goal from that spell.
“On the road you get opportunities and if you don’t take them, that’s what happens.”
STAR MAN ALEX GILLIEAD