ANOTHER REPORT FROM CARLISLE SITE
Mansfield Town 2 - 3 UNITED
by Al Woodcock
The Cumbrians have clung on to their Football League life - but only just. Keeper Matty Glennon was the hero at Field Mill when he saved a penalty in the last seconds. United won 3-2 and need two more wins to stand a chance of beating the drop.
In yet another dramatic match that will live long in the memory, Carlisle United kept alive their flickering hopes of Football League survival with a battling 3-2 victory at play-off chasing Mansfield Town. After blowing a 2-0 lead and then regaining it through youngster Kelvin Langmead, keeper Matty Glennon rode to the rescue with a dramatic injury time penalty save from Liam Lawrence, whose kick would have sent the Cumbrians out of the league had it gone in. It was a fabulous finale for 1000 travelling fans who also saw their side get off the bottom of the table for the first time since August 25 - eight long months ago.
The big pre-game news was the shock recall of Richie Foran to the starting line-up. The controversial Dubliner began up front in place of Peter Duffield, who was relegated to the bench. Both Paul Simpson and Will McDonagh were named on the subs bench after being passed fit in the week.
Foran's ball into the box on 3 minutes forced the first corner when defender Baptiste was hurried into a clearance. Mark Boyd drilled over the bar when the kick was only half-cleared. United won another corner as they tried to apply some pressure, but a linesman's offside flag denied Boyd as he volleyed wide. Farrell almost found Preece with a clever ball into the box but Tony Vaughan got back to head out for another Blues corner. From McGill's inswinging kick Gray headed into the top corner. It was just reward for an enterprising start for the Cumbrians.
Mendes crossed for Colin Larkin who hit the bar when a goal seemed certain. Then Wayne Corden did well to put in a cross to find the head of Liam Lawrence and Foran was on the line to head out and preserve the lead. The Stags were at it again a minute later when Glennon brilliantly denied Lawrence. Carlisle won a free kick on 20 minutes and Preece's effort was ordered to be re-taken due to encroachment from Curtis who was booked. The kick was marched forward to the edge of he box. Preece had another go. His left-footed effort brushed past the defensive wall and into the top left corner to double the Cumbrians' lead.
Liam Lawrence was adjudged to have been brought down by Gray in the 26th minute. Referee Mathieson awarded a penalty. Lawrence rolled it home but the referee dramatically awarded a re-take. Tom Cowan was booked as an argument raged. Lawrence ran up again and this time beat Glennon with a low shot. Foran went into the book for intervening after the ball had gone into the net. McKenzie set up Corden but Glennon made a top save. Lawrence was booked with 4 minutes of the first half remaining after clashing with Murphy.
With a minute left in the half, Lawrence worked a one-two with Mendes and lobbed Glennon to register his second goal and equalise. Lawrence had been the danger man throughout the half with Carlisle unable to contain the Town winger. Larkin drilled wide of the left hand post. The home crowd were the happier at the interval after seeing their side claw back a two-goal deficit.
Simpson made a switch five minutes into the second half with McGill being replaced by Paul Arnison. McKenzie had a chance when he skipped past two challenges but fired wildly over. Murphy and Foran combined to create a good chance on 64 minutes but Arnison appeared to head just wide. Langmead came on for Farrell. Boyd curled a shot well wide of the target. Ex-Carlisle man Mendes was replaced with D'Jaffo. Langmead then made a name for himself when he met Foran's fine run and smashed the ball home to restore United's lead. Unbelievably Mathieson waved a yellow card at the youngster after scoring his first league goal.
Foran did well again to feed Preece but his attempted chip simply found Pilkington who held well. Lawrence delivered a teasing cross that missed everybody. United had to defend desperately at times but Gray and Murphy combined to stop another Mansfield raid, as the Stags tried to throw more men forward. Langmead created several openings as United try to wrap up the game but his final pass or shot often showed a lack of experience. Then he did well to waste time near the corner flag as the game moved into the final two minutes. The fifth player booked in a blue shirt was Boyd after making a poor challenge. A long range effort almost deceived Glennon as the game moved into injury time.
With seconds left, Cowan was harshly adjudged to have fouled Lawrence. Lawrence stepped up to take a kick that would send Carlisle down to the Conference. Glennon pulled off an astounding save to keep the Cumbrians up, to fight for another day.
Al's verdict: Another goalie, another last second incident, and United are still alive, if only just. This was a magnificent performance in the most testing of circumstances. Matty Glennon goes down alongside Jimmy Glass as a Carlisle folk hero, saving a penalty with literally the final kick of a draining match. Unfortunately, with other results going against us, it will still require a miracle, but it's still just possible and as everyone in Carlisle knows, if it's still possible, United can still do it. It seems at time that everybody wants us to go down - from referees giving penalties against us to other teams failing to bail us out but still somehow we're not down yet. Let's have 10,000+ for Cheltenham and take it on to the final match.
Latest | April 2004