Match 14
9th October 2004
Carlisle U (h)

Exeter City 0 Carlisle United 0

9th October 2004 

United stretched their record making. unbeaten start to the season to 13 League games without defeat with a gritty and determined defensive performance in what was the toughest test of the season so far.

An end of week set back for Chris Lumsdon meant that he had to sit out this visit to St James and Paul Simpson kept faith with the starting II that had destroyed Leigh, despite the fact that both Farrell and Henderson were knocking very loudly on his door after some excellent performances from the bench.

United started brightly, closing Exeter down in midfield, and had the better of the opening exchanges as they made use of both flanks with some enterprising attacking play. Paul Arnison almost opened the scoring in the 3rd minute when Cowan dropped a lovely ball in to the box behind the watching defence and the Carlisle midifelder, arriving late, brought a good reaction save from Rice as he connected well with a downward header.

Exeter won the first of a string of first half corners in the 5th minute and Steve Flack should have done much better as he nodded over from a Jeannin cross that found him unmarked and 11 yards from goal. He rushed his chance and could only guide it over the angle of the post and the bar.

Carlisle were still holding the upper hand in the possession stakes and won their first corner on 6 minutes. Murphy delivered and Chris Billy had to work hard to retrieve it as it skipped across the 18 yard box. The visitors kept it well and Murphy himself came close, driving the ball over the bar from 19 yards from a short Billy pass.

A great move just two minutes later saw Arnison collect a throw and find Hawley, with his back to goal. Hawley took the sting off the ball then played Murphy through on goal but the in form Carlisle man fizzed his right foot shot just wide as he opted to shoot low and early.

United were applying all the pressure and Vieira shot straight at Rice before Billy got on to the end of a loose ball after Cowan had challenged at the back post for a deep Arnison cross. With the taste of at goal still fresh after his second half strike at Leigh Billy could only send this one flying high over the target.

Matt Glennon was being tested from the Exeter corners and he did well under pressure from Flack in the 16th minute as the big striker looked to get on the end of a wicked Jeannin curler. United answered with an incisive move down the City right that saw Arnison, Billy and Murphy combine to release McGill for a shot that crept just wide of the goal.

Exeter were coming in to the game more and Glennon had to tip a dipping Taylor free kick out for a corner as it threatened to sneak Just under his bar. A moment of panic in the Cumbrians defence on 21 minutes almost opened the door for Edwards but Andrews and Glennon cleared the danger between them after an initial mix up.

Simon Grand sacrificed a booking as he brought the lively Edwards down just outside the 18 yard box as the striker made his way through on goal in the 25th) minute but he made immediate amends by clearing off the line from another excellent Jeannin dead ball kick Questions were being asked of the Carlisle defence as Exeter started to push forward more and Edwards broke through again from a flick by Flack but Glennon was alert and was out of his safety zone quickly to block the danger.

Ampadu was booked for a foul on Hawley in the 31st minute but United were incensed by the decision to stop the play as McGill raced clear on goal. Referee Mr Bratt was having none of it, though, and ignored the Carlisle protestations. It became a battle in midfield and Tom Cowan had to be substituted in the 37th minute after a niggling back injury was aggravated in some tough tackles. Craig Farrell replaced him as Peter Murphy dropped back to cover the left side of defence.

Afful almost capitalised on a weak headed clearance from Gray on 41 minutes but Murphy did well to block for a corner. Steve Flack was booked just before half time for a high challenge on Simon Grand and substitute Craig Farrell had the last chance of the half after a quick Carlisle move but he didn't quite find the right connection and dragged his snap shot away from goal.

The visitors had enjoyed most of the possession without managing to dominate and both teams will have gone in to the dressing room believing that the game was there to be won.

The visitors had enjoyed most of the possession without managing to dominate and both teams will have gone in to the dressing room believing that the game was there to be won.

Simpson kept the 4-3-3 formation that had been forced upon him by the departure of Cowan through injury but will have wanted more in the attacking third from a side that were battling to make things tick in the blustery conditions.

It was to be good early pressure from City after the break as they probed the Carlisle back line but Grand and Gray were proving equal to the task as they snuffed every attack out. Afful broke through, though, in the 50th minute but got over excited and, with time. on his side, grabbed at his effort and skied it badly. Gray pulled off the tackle of the match in the next attack as he stopped Edwards in his tracks, knowing full well that had he got it wrong it was a penalty conceded.

A period of real nip and tuck midfield play followed until Edwards was replaced by the wily Sean Devine in the 65th minute and it signalled the start of some strong attacking football from Exeter. Steve Flack must have thought he'd opened the scoring in the 67th minute when he got on the end of a Taylor corner but his downward header rattled off the post with Glennon a mere spectator. Santos Gaia can have no excuse for not scoring in the 68th minute as he raced on to another dangerous cross from Taylor as he, somehow, missed with a free header when he should have at least tested the keeper. Matt Glennon was called in to action in the 72nd minute when Devine stole a yard at the back post, as Murphy was robbed by Jeannin out on the left, and his sprawling dive brought a fantastic save that preserved his precious clean sheet. Henderson came on for Vieira as Carlisle struggled up front and it almost paid immediate dividends as a Hawley cross evaded his outstretched leg by inches, Barry McConnell came on for Afful and Farrell got on the end of a looping McConnell clearance but put his volley high over the goal. McConnell did better at the other end in the 83rd minute but was guilty of misplacing his header under pressure from Grand. A rare definite chance for Carlisle came from a well taken Arnison free kick that found Farrell unmarked 12 yards from goal but he connected poorly and the opportunity was gone. Both teams seemed to sense that a goal wasn't, going to come and Jeannin closed the proceedings with a speculative left foot effort that was never going to make Glennon work.



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