MK DONS 2 CARLISLE UNITED 0 Tough bat­tle ends in disas­ter for Cum­bri­ans

Sunday Sun - - Football -

WITH a tough De­cem­ber ahead it was im­por­tant that United put up some kind of fight against ta­ble-top­ping MK Dons on their re­turn to league ac­tion fol­low­ing the dis­ap­point­ment of their FA Cup exit last week­end.

The play-off places are still within touch­ing dis­tance, but the Cum­bri­ans know they need some kind of run if they are to keep their sea­son alive with just the league cam­paign left to deal with.

An al­most empty treat­ment room – long-term ab­sen­tee and tal­is­man Ja­son Kennedy has fi­nally been given the green light to step up his re­cov­ery pro­gramme, with Jan­uary tar­geted for a re­turn – has lifted spir­its, but it’s the much talked about need to find the back of the net that will re­ally make a dif­fer­ence, should Sheri­dan’s men start to get that right.

The Dons started the brighter and Healey twice went close as he found space in a crowded box. His header from a D’Ath cross looped over the bar and a fierce vol­ley when he got on the end of a cut back from Cargill. A lunge from Sowerby brought a vi­tal block.

There was more for Carlisle

to think about as they lost Jerry Yates to a hip in­jury late in the piece, and the space in mid­field was ex­ploited well by the home side. A re­v­erse pass to McGran­dles in­vited a shot which Collin was pleased to see curl away from his bot­tom cor­ner. More tidy foot­ball from the hosts saw D’Ath, Cargill and Cisse tease a path through the stub­born back line. Cargill whipped a de­liv­ery across the face of goal but it was once again just an inch too high for Healey as he steamed in.

The Cum­bri­ans were let off the hook mid­way through the half when Cargill rat­tled a beauty of a de­liv­ery into the mix. Collin spilled it, as he banged into Gerrard, and the ball bob­bled invit­ingly loose and un­guarded. It was sighs of re­lief all round as the static at­tack al­lowed the keeper to re­cover.

Hav­ing been com­pletely un­der the cosh it was United who should have taken the lead when Nade­san beat his man to cross low. Hope slid in and got the con­tact, but Ni­cholls spread him­self to make an ex­cel­lent save. The re­bound hit Hope and ca­reered on to the up­right be­fore ric­o­chet­ing kindly be­hind as the Carlisle striker threw ev­ery­thing at it in an at­tempt to get it over the line.

The home side roused them­selves and Healey jinked through two chal­lenges to make his way into the box. He was stopped in his tracks as he shaped to shoot but the ball rolled nicely for Agard to have a go. It was go­ing in until an out­stretched boot helped it on its way over the tar­get. It was Carlisle’s turn to feel lucky when an­other wind­ing run from Agard brought a mea­sured pass which Healey put his laces through. Cel­e­bra­tions had all but started until Gary Lid­dle some­how got there to com­plete a mag­nif­i­cent scis­sor-kick of a goal line clear­ance. It took just five min­utes of the sec­ond half for the Dons to do what they’d failed to do in the first half when a lack of con­cen­tra­tion from a half-cleared cor­ner al­lowed Houghton to steal in and nick pos­ses­sion. He shot from dis­tance and the slight­est of de­flec­tions took it past Collin and into the net via the base of the post.

The game be­came com­fort­able when Carlisle were caught light at the back as Lew­ing­ton was sent free on the left flank. His cross was per­fect for Agard and the pro­lific for­ward left Collin with no chance as his deft flick took the ball into the bot­tom cor­ner. Keeper Ni­cholls had to save with his fin­ger­tips from Hope when his vol­ley fizzed through bod­ies, but the home side closed ranks to pro­tect their cush­ion and to see the game through to its suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion in rel­a­tive com­fort.

Sol Camp­bell on the touch­line ahead of his first EFL game as Mac­cles­field man­ager. The Silk­men lost 1-0 at League Two ri­vals Colch­ester United

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.