REPORT FROM CARLISLE SITE
report from CUFC Online
UNITED 0 - 2 Mansfield Town
Story by Al Woodcock
United are still 10 points adrift at the foot of the table after losing a club-record ninth consecutive league match. Mansfield moved into second place thanks to goals from Wayne Corden and Junior Mendes.
United have set a new club record for consecutive league defeats after crashing to a 2-0 home loss against high-flying Mansfield Town.
The ninth straight loss leaves Carlisle still 10 points adrift at the bottom and 11 points away from safety. The Cumbrians held the Stags for 53 minutes but Wayne Corden broke the deadlock with a close range finish and Junior Mendes, an ex-United player, completed the job with a second goal 10 minutes later.
With Darren Kelly sidelined through flu, Will McDonagh remained at the back alongside Lee Andrews. Shaun Smith and Paul Arnison started together in the full back positions with Kevin Henderson up front alongside Craig Farrell.
United looked sharp and lively in the opening 45 minutes, more than matching their opponents and creating some openings, although there were few real chances. Craig Russell offered an opening down the left and almost opened up Mansfield on five minutes but the Stags cleared his cross. Then Mansfield went very close as a Curtis shot cannoned off the cross-bar and on to the line before the home side scrambled it clear. McGill sent in a teasing cross for Carlisle but Kevin Pilkington came out well to claim from off the head of Henderson.
United's response was to hit the bar themselves. On loan Arnison charging forward to fire a 25-yard effort on to the bar and over. Lee Andrews had an outstanding half for the Cumbrians, getting in some telling tackles. Glennon spilled a Lawrence effort on 36 minutes but was quick to recover and grab the rebound. Although they had sometimes failed to support the front pair, the home players would have been happy enough at the break to have achieved parity without looking second-best.
The second half was a different story though as the visitors visibily upped the pace and caught Carlisle napping twice. First Mendes and Liam Lawrence combined down the right hand side and Colin Parkin's header came back off the bar. Corden was unmarked and on hand to tap home and give United another uphill fight to avoid the record defeat.
On 63 minutes their hopes practically evaporated as the pacy Mendes collected the ball near the edge of the box and held off McDonagh's challenge to drill a low shot across Glennon and into the far corner.
Brian Wake came on for Farrell. Adam Rundle came on to the left wing in place of right winger Brendan McGill. United never stopped running and they were almost rewarded when the impressive Henderson reached Rundle's cross with a header that clipped the top of the bar. There was just time for Russell to waste an even better opening near the end when he side-footed tamely over the bar with his left foot.
Al's verdict: For 45 minutes it looked quite likely we'd avoid the record defeat. We competed well and Andrews, Henderson and Billy all stood out, as did Russell down the left side. But in the second half Mansfield found a second gear, and we had no real answers. Our play became scrappy again and we gave the ball away too easily. McDonagh, who was comfortable in the opening half, was no match for Mendes on the second goal and I felt we missed him in midfield where we never really got numbers into the box to support the hard-working Henderson and Farrell. Schumacher had one good pass in the first half but never really got into the match. As ever, there were passages of play to admire, but we are all too easily beaten once the first goal goes in. No light yet at the end of the tunnel.
Latest | November 2003