Goal drought ends as Blues battle for a win
CARLISLE United finally scored a home goal following what had been a club record 480-minute league home drought.
Returning midfielder Jamie Devitt got on the end of a superb cross from George Glendon to poke his side into the lead with just nine minutes on the clock.
And the same player added a second just three minutes later to lift what had been a worrying cloud of concern, and put the Cumbrians in the driving seat against high-flying Newport County.
However, they were made to sweat for missing a string of excellent chances, and it took a wonder striker from returning captain Danny Grainger deep into time added on to win the points.
An already injury-hit squad had influential midfielder Kelvin Etuhu added to the list as he failed to shake off a knee problem picked up last weekend, leaving the Blues looking lightweight in midfield. But they cast those worries aside to take the game by the scruff of the neck with a focused and determined approach. Ten-
sions should have been eased before Devitt bagged his first of the day when a poor header from Butler left Jerry Yates with just the keeper to beat. It was in his favour, but he opted for accuracy rather than power and his under-hit shot was easily claimed by Day.
Carlisle came again with superb work from Glendon, whose pass was perfect, and Devitt finished it off with a measured touch
A short corner routine gave the Cumbrians a two-goal cushion as Devitt bounced the ball off Yates. He spotted Day off his line and left the stopper with no chance as he drilled a rasping shot through bodies into the net via the near post.
The game should have been made even more comfortable just after the half hour when Butler completely misjudged another low delivery. His touch slowed the pace of the ball down, leaving Yates with just Joe Day to beat. He hesitated, however, and that allowed the stopper to close the gap and apply a touch which took the ball spinning wide of the
upright. Carlisle were made to think about their misses just before the break when Willmott overlapped, having made a run from deep.
His clipped pass found Padraig Amond unmarked and the big striker showed excellent technique to bring his side right back into it with a thumping header which left Collin flapping at thin air.
Newport showed first after the break with Bakinson and Sheehan combining to unlock the home defence. The latter slipped the ball back for Seme- nyo to shoot but Gerrard did just enough to get the shot away. From the corner, Demetriou found himself alone as he spun to scissor kick a volley at the top corner. Collin showed good hands and composure to keep it out.
It became a very open game, with half chances at both ends, but Day had to be at his best as Slater carried the ball forward. A crunching piledriver was heading for the roof of the net until an outstretched hand sent it over the bar.
Good work from Bennett saw him pick Nadesan out with a telling delivery, and his strike partner was ready to celebrate until his header bounced down off the angle of post and bar.
Carlisle’s missed chances were finally made to matter when Butler got on the end of a rattling free kick. His initial header was wonderfully saved by Collin, but the defender was first to react to smash the equaliser over the line.
It was left to Danny Grainger to steal the headlines when he crunched a wonder volley into the top corner deep into extra time.