The Football League Paper - - FA CUP - By Bob Reid

CARLISLE boss Keith Curle be­lieves a sec­ond chance is the least the Cum­bri­ans de­serve af­ter they stood firm to earn a home FA Cup re­play.

Carlisle will be in tomorrow’s hat for the third round draw, hav­ing bat­tled back through Danny Grainger’s penalty to earn them­selves a sec­ond shot at Gilling­ham.

Curle said: “I thought we fully de­served to get a sec­ond chance.

“We de­fended re­ally well and I felt we matched Gilling­ham stride for stride.

“We’re in the hat for the big draw and that’s all we wanted re­ally.

“We’ll have to see what that presents us with now, but be­fore the next cup game there are im­por­tant league fix­tures to pre­pare for.

“Of course that must re­main the pri­or­ity.

“Points on the board is what we all get paid to try and achieve, and the fo­cus switches back to the bread and but­ter.

“We’ve done our jobs here, so now it’s on to an­other day.”

It was an en­ter­tain­ing first pe­riod at the MEMS Pri­est­field Sta­dium, which ended even.

The hosts went in front in spec­tac­u­lar style af­ter just five min­utes.

Af­ter Conor Wilkin­son had been up­ended, Luke O’Neill curled home a su­perb free-kick from the edge of the box.

The Cum­bri­ans al­most replied im­me­di­ately, but Kelvin Etuhu’s well-struck shot flew nar­rowly wide.

Carlisle equalised from the penalty spot as, af­ter Mark Byrne had brought Tom Parkes down in the box, Grainger scored from 12 yards.

Jake Hessen­thaler came close to a sec­ond for the Gills just be­fore the in­ter­val but shot wide.

Soon af­ter the restart Tom Eaves went close af­ter he latched on to a smart through­ball from Wilkin­son.

Wilkin­son then planted a header wide with five min­utes to go and Gills boss Steve Lovell felt his side missed a golden op­por­tu­nity to seal progress at the first at­tempt.

Lovell said: “We can’t com­plain that we didn’t have the op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“We did that, cre­at­ing nu­mer­ous chances, but we needed that lit­tle bit of luck that can tend to lift ev­ery­body.

“It wasn’t a bad per­for­mance from the lads, but we’re not quite turn­ing our dom­i­nance into vic­to­ries here.

“It’s up to me to try and work out why that is.

“We need to turn these kind of strong per­for­mances into wins, but we’ll keep plug­ging away.

“The lads started brightly, but the penalty re­sponse from Carlisle def­i­nitely gave them a lift.

“We’ve got some re­ally tough games com­ing up. “We need ev­ery­one in the squad to be fit and healthy. “We’ll have to take a break now and see where we are on Mon­day.”

GILLING­HAM: (4-4-2): Holy 7, O'Neill 8, Ogilvie 7, Zakuani 6, Eh­mer 6, Clare 5 (Martin 46 6), Hessen­thaler 8, Byrne 5, Wagstaff 7, Eaves 7 (Parker 75 5), Wilkin­son 8 Subs not used: Nel­son, Nu­gent, Ol­daker, Simp­son, Cun­dle CARLISLE: (4-5-1): Bon­ham 7, Brown 6, Grainger 6 (Miller S 71 6), Hill 7, Lid­dle 8, Joyce 7, Lambe 5 (Hope 88 N/A), Jones 7, Parkes 6, Etuhu 7, Ben­nett 6 (O’Sul­li­van 81 5) Subs not used: Ge­orge, Miller T, De­vitt, Cos­grove.


HIGH FIVE: Gills de­fender Luke O’Neill cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing the opener STAR MAN CONOR WILKIN­SON Gilling­ham LAMBE SAND­WICH: Carlisle mid­fielder Reg­gie Lambe takes on two de­fend­ers

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