Hope sets Blues free before a late melee
A TEN-MAN penalty area brawl which saw two players sent off in the second minute of extra time completely overshadowed the thorough efficiency of Carlisle’s win at the Broadfield Stadium.
Referee Kevin Johnson only showed his red card to Crawley’s Josh Yorwerth and visiting defender Tom Parkes, but the amount of punches and kicks that were thrown could have seen several others joining them back in the dressing room.
It was a very ugly incident but not one that drew criticism from Carlisle manager Keith Curle who said: “It started with an aerial duel. Yorwerth fell backwards and started kicking out and Parkes was just defending itself.
“But then what happened is typical football. The melee started then players went in to cool it down and got involved. That happens.”
Parkes is now facing a four-match ban having already been shown one red card this season, and missing games too will be teammate Nicky Adams who had been sent off in the 74th minute for a flying elbow.
Crawley boss Harry Kewell described the closing scene only as ‘a scuffle’ adding: “I thought it was a lot of handbags, but I want to go away and look at it and see what happened.
“It was a shame because no one wants to see that on a football pitch or see players like Yorwerth missing games when he’s been excellent this season.”
For most of the match chances were few but not far between at both ends of the pitch.
In the 15th minute Hallam Hope found the net after Nicky Adams cross but was ruled offside, and a minute later breaking clear in a counter attack the striker managed get the ball past Glenn Morris but tripped over the keeper’s body.
The game was 22 minutes old before Crawley created their first clear opening which saw Jack Bonham dive to block Jordan Roberts firsttime effort.
That was set up by Enzio Boldwewijn’s powerful run and soon after another of his crosses picked out the unmarked Jimmy Smith but Bonham saved.
But the three points headed Carlisle’s way after Hope broke the deadlock in the 51st minute, rising unmarked at the far post to head home an Adams cross.
Crawley rarely looked like equalising leaving Curle smiling as he said: “It was an excellent result .
“We kept a clean sheet with our defending. Our players had a good mentality out there and that was the strength of our game.”