REPORT| Newport County AFC vs Carlisle United
Mike Flynn named an unchanged side from the team that beat Accrington Stanley 1-0 the Saturday before but this was a very different task against a Carlisle team who were looking at the play-off places with expectation more than hope.
And for the first ten minutes, Carlisle United were showing all their class with excellent, high-tempo passing football. Early chances went Carlisle’s way, with crosses flashing across the front of Day’s goal. And Day needed all his experience to be in the right position to deal with an early header.
In the 11th minute, a beautifully weighted ball by Randall found Samuel’s run whose trickery forced Gillesphey into a foul winning the The Exiles a free-kick in their first attack of the game. The free-kick was fired in by Rigg which was met by a bullet of a header from Mickey Demetriou leaving ‘keeper Mark Gillespie no chance.
Against the run of play? Perhaps, but they all count.
The goal seemed to settle the game and the onslaught County had faced for the first 10 minutes subsided a little. And end-to-end game was doing nothing for the nerves of the 306 County fans who’d made the 564-mile round trip to Carlisle.
And there was to be even more good news just 5 minutes later, as news filtered through from Whaddon Road that Cheltenham had taken the lead against County’s relegation rivals Hartlepool United.
The final five minutes of the half mirrored the first ten with backs-to-the-wall stuff from The Exiles as they faced corner after corner. In the 42nd minute, Proctor curled a beautiful shot around Joe Day which the cross bar and bounced back for Day to collect. Seconds later, Day was called upon again and made a superb save to keep County 1-0 up at half time.
The only bad news from the first half was an injury to Alex Samuel – who’d caused the Carlisle defence any number of problems – that saw the striker carried off on a stretcher in added time.
With results elsewhere in the league going The Exiles’ way, most County fans were probably wishing that football only lasted 45 minutes.
A nervy second half for The Exiles begins in much the same way as the first half with County being pinned back and just 4 minutes in, Joe Day had already been called upon to pull off another excellent save to keep the home side at bay.
But by the 57th minute, Carlisle’s pressure became too much and a series of corners came good for the home team as they scored from two corners in quick succession. The first from a header by Ibehre, the second – just 3 minutes later – was an unstoppable strike by Adams after the Exiles’ defence were only able to clear as far as the edge of the box.
With the home team’s confidence growing, the noise around Brunton Park lifting, and County finding it difficult to get out of their own half, the remaining 30 minutes was starting to seem like a very long time.
County’s only real opportunity to get one back was a free-kick won by Dan Butler on the edge of the box on the 85th minute. Demetriou struck it well but it was just the wrong side of the post.
County had some half-chances fell County’s way in the final few minutes but nothing that really worried Carlisle ‘keeper Gillespie.
2-1 the final result.
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