DANNY BOY IS ON THE SPOT
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