Carlisle United preview

Newport County AFC will be looking to return to winning ways when they make the longest trip of the League Two season to Carlisle United on Saturday. The Exiles have a relatively good history from their previous trips to Cumbria, but the home side will be looking to stop that record with a much needed three points at Brunton Park.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League Two encounter…


Last five results in League Two

After a positive start to the campaign, Carlisle United have struggled to maintain their early form when sliding down to 16th position in the table and setting some unwanted records.

Looking at their last five League Two fixtures specifically, their run from 6th October actually starts exceptionally well after they went to a place Mike Flynn reckoned “very few teams would win at” and managed to acquire three points.

Hallam Hope, Ashley Nadesan and Jack Sowerby all ensured manager John Sheridan made a winning return to former club Oldham Athletic, with Ishmael Miller’s late reply merely a consolation in a 3-1 victory for the away side.

But Carlisle’s recent home form has been a cause for concern and Morecambe were next to travel to Brunton Park and win in a 2-0 success. First-half goals from Ajay Leitch-Smith and Vadaine Oliver enabled the visitors to take the three points at the hosts expense.

Then comes another tricky afternoon for the Cumbrians as they suffered a 2-1 defeat at Macclesfield Town in a result which remains the Silkmen’s only league triumph this season. The home side avoided setting a new unwanted Football League record of longest run without a win as goals from Michael Rose and Peter Vincenti overturned Nadesan’s opener.

Confidence may have taken a hit after a shock defeat to the basement boys, but the Cumbrians used it as motivation to bounce back and take a credible point at league leaders Lincoln City. Nadesan’s purple patch continued by getting both goals, but they twice lost the lead thanks to replies from Michael O'Connor and Bruno Andrade.

In their most recent league contest, the unwanted records were set as Yeovil Town struck late to secure a 1-0 victory at Brunton Park. Tom James’ deflected 96th minute free-kick ensured a fifth straight home league defeat for the first time since 2003, whilst it was also the fifth successive home fixture in which Carlisle had failed to score.



Carlisle United manager John Sheridan will have a couple of injury concerns to contend with when County make the long trip to Brunton Park on Saturday.

Sheridan did not face the media after last weekend’s defeat to Yeovil Town because he was too ‘frustrated’ to talk, so assistant manager Tommy Wright provided the injury update.

Striker Hallam Hope and centre-back Tom Parkes are the definite absentees through injury, whilst Danny Grainger and Jamie Devitt may have to settle for cameo appearances having only recently returned to first-team action.

Wright said: “Hallam [Hope] is probably another two or three weeks, same with [Tom] Parkes. We thought it was a bit early [for Grainger], because he’d only trained about three days. We have to be careful with him. But he will get this full week’s training and that will do him a lot of good.”

Carlisle United team vs Yeovil Town (4-4-1-1): Collin, Etuhu, Liddle, Gerrard (C), Gillesphey, Sowerby, Jones, Slater (McCarron 81’), Yates (Bennett 72’), Campbell (Devitt 60’), Nadesan


One to Watch – Ashley Nadesan

An exciting young striker, Ashley Nadesan has certainly made the transition from amateur to professional appear seamless after hitting the ground running this season whilst on loan at Carlisle United.

From 16 appearances, Nadesan has accrued the Cumbrians five points with his seven goals, including both in the 2-2 draw at league leaders Lincoln City. He has also found the target against Crewe Alexandra, Cambridge United, Oldham Athletic, Macclesfield Town and against Sunderland in the CheckaTrade Trophy.

The 24-year old also spent the second-half of last season at the Brunton Park outfit, playing against County on the final day of the season, but could only find the target on four occasions from 19 appearances. They came against Exeter City, Port Vale and a double at Barnet.

Carlisle United are only the second professional club he has appeared for, in a career that took off when plying his trade at semi-professionals Horley Town alongside a job at McDonalds (other fast food outlets are available.)

The striker netted on 99 occasions across just two seasons for a club who were then in the ninth-tier of English football, clearly attracting some big names within the sport.

Norwich City and Millwall were just some of the clubs Nadesan had trials with, but he eventually selected Fleetwood Town as his destination citing reasons such as the development of Jamie Vardy during his stint at the club and the fact his mother owned a Bed & Breakfast in neighbouring Blackpool.

He’s made four appearances for the Cod Army since joining in July 2016, including his Football League debut on 19th August 2017 alongside more games in the CheckaTrade Trophy.


Manager – John Sheridan

After a scintillating start to life as Carlisle United manager earlier this season, reality has seemingly now kicked in for former Exiles manager John Sheridan that every club will have their spells across a full campaign.

But if past history is anything to go by then Sheridan will find it easy to revive the Cumbrians' form – if he can replicate the impact he had at previous clubs including County.  

Following a couple of caretaker spells, Sheridan was afforded his first permanent managerial position at Oldham Athletic ahead of the 2006/07 season.

Play-off semi-final heartache occurred in his first season at the helm, before an 8th placed finish in the following season. Oldham looked destined for another promotion bid in 2008/09, residing in fourth position at the end of February, but Sheridan was relieved of his duties on 15th March under mysterious circumstances.

Sheridan then found himself at Chesterfield, the club he had his greatest successes with. A good season in 2009/10 was followed by promotion from League Two in the subsequent season, with the Spireites clinching the title on the final day of the season.

Chesterfield then added another trophy to their cabinet when winning the Football League Trophy in March 2012 by beating Swindon Town, but their league form couldn’t replicate their cup success and the side were relegated back to the fourth division. Sheridan left his position not long afterwards.

Sheridan soon found himself joining Plymouth Argyle in January 2013 and this was where he first made a name for himself as being a manager capable of joining clubs’ mid-season and saving them from relegation.

Steady progress occurred in the following two seasons as Sheridan took the Pilgrims to the play-offs, losing in the semi-finals against Wycombe Wanderers, but Sheridan left after that 2014/15 campaign citing wanting to return to the North of England for family reasons.

A short stint at County bridged the gap while he was looking for a managerial vacancy closer to his home and Sheridan deserves tremendous credit for keeping the Exiles in the Football League. Five wins in 17 helped propel County away from danger and notably included a 4-1 triumph away at Bristol Rovers

Those positive results with County got Sheridan his dream return to Oldham Athletic in January 2016 and in the space of just 18 months he had saved them from relegation, joined Notts County and was sacked, before going back to Oldham and saving them again.

The ‘Sheridan effect’ of going and saving clubs with little time remaining has clearly taken off and he repeated the trick last season at Fleetwood Town – joining Carlisle United over the summer after The Cod Army elected to give Joey Barton a shot at life in management.


Stadium – Brunton Park

Currently the largest stadium in the Football League that contains both seating and standing areas, Carlisle United have resided at Brunton Park since its inception in 1909.

Brunton Park boasts arguably – excluding Rodney Parade and Meadow Lane (Notts County) – the best view of the pitch in League Two for members of the media in the press box.

Situated in close approximation to away supporters in the East Stand, the high vantage point at Brunton Park allows you to work out how each team has setup quite easily alongside being able to predict a pass before it is made – that is, if you are not afraid of heights!

The current capacity of the stadium is 17,949 for Football League matches, although the record attendance for the stadium far exceeds that – with crowds of 27,500 being noted on two occasions in the FA Cup.

Unfortunately for the high number of Carlisle supporters, the Cumbrians didn’t win either tie. They did draw with Birmingham City on 5th January 1957 but then lost the replay, while Middlesbrough also triumphed at Brunton Park on 7th February 1970.

On matchday, County fans will be housed in the East stand which runs adjacent to one side of the pitch. More ticket information can be found here.   

Despite being the longest trip of the league season, it is a journey that County fans have had to make on nine previous occasions since 1963 – but only four times since achieving promotion back to the Football League in 2013.

The Exiles have had relative success on their recent trips to Cumbria, including the game on 29th November 2014 when goals from Yan Klukowski, Ismail Yakubu and Sean Jeffers secured a thrilling 3-2 victory. 186 County fans made the trip.

On 26th September 2015, Tyler Blackwood’s solitary goal in a County shirt was enough to secure a hard-fought 1-0 victory. A total of 133 supporters travelled that day.

In the ‘Great Escape’ season, County could have gotten the job done a week earlier on 29th April 2017 if they had beaten Carlisle United. Mickey Demetriou’s header made it a dream start, but Jabo Ibehre and Nicky Adams turned the game on its head. 306 away fans travelled.

Last season, Padraig Amond scored in-front of 270 County supporters to secure a 1-1 draw on 5th May 2016 after Mark Ellis’ early opener.


Meetings between the two sides in the 2017/18 campaign

Two draws of different score lines between Newport County AFC and Carlisle United last season as the two sides played some sublime football against each other.

That starts with the six-goal thriller at Rodney Parade on 9th December 2017 – a game in which both sides had the lead at different stages of the contest.

Despite the high volume of goals, only one of them came in the first-half and surprisingly came with the only shot on target – Shawn McCoulsky scoring his ninth of the campaign with a deft flick in the area.

It took Carlisle just 50 seconds after the restart to find their equaliser, Luke Joyce stabbing in after a goalmouth scramble, before the Cumbrians turned the game on its head in the 53rd minute through Kelvin Etuhu.

The goals continued to flow over just a short space of time and County were level after just 55 minutes when Matty Dolan sent a superb free-kick over the wall and into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

That meant it was three goals from the opening 10 minutes of the second-half and another followed on 63 minutes as Carlisle re-took the lead when ex-Exile Tom Miller headed home at the second attempt.

It would have been harsh on either side to lose a game played to the highest of intensities throughout and County ensured a share of the spoils with 20 minutes remaining when Dolan repeated the trick of netting a beautiful free-kick.

Watch the highlights.

Read the full match report from Rodney Parade.

The sides met for the reverse fixture on the final day of the season and that was another intense contest in spite of the fact that the result was meaningless to both sides.

The news that manager Keith Curle would leave the club following the conclusion of the contest set about a party atmosphere at Brunton Park as they saluted a legend of the club – Mark Ellis striking first after 13 minutes.

County ensured Curle wouldn’t sign off with a victory, however, as Robbie Willmott’s mesmerising run through the heart of the defence gave Padraig Amond the easiest of headers to level the scoring.

That was how it stayed despite Carlisle pushing hard for that perfect gift for their manager – the long trip back to South Wales made slightly easier by the acquisition of a point.

Watch the highlights.

Read the full match report from Brunton Park.



Referee: Christopher Sarginson

Assistant Referee 1: Helen Byrne

Assistant Referee 2: Barry Gordon

Fourth Official: Paul Brown

Sarginson is currently embarking on his 11th season as a Football League referee having taken charge of his first game in League Two on 16th August 2008 as Rotherham United secured a comprehensive 3-1 away victory at Morecambe.

He has refereed 13 matches already this season, giving out 36 yellow cards and zero red cards, including five yellows in his first game of the campaign as Colchester United won on penalties in a first-round EFL Cup tie against fellow League Two side Cheltenham Town.

Only one game has been officiated this season without Sarginson going to his pocket – that coming as Gillingham pulled off a shock away victory in League One when they triumphed 2-0 at leaders Portsmouth. 

Having failed to award a red card so far this campaign, Sarginson’s season high tally is five yellow cards, a number he has given out on four occasions – including twice in his previous three matches.

His last game as a referee came on Tuesday night as Mansfield Town put an end to a succession of draws with a convincing 3-0 away victory at Crewe Alexandra. Two yellows for the home side.

Those statistics follow on from refereeing a total of 43 matches across all competitions in the 2017/18 campaign, a season in which Sarginson gave out 136 yellow cards and five red cards throughout the entirety of the campaign.


County Connection

Sarginson has refereed a match involving Newport County AFC on ten previous occasions across League Two and the Emirates FA Cup. He is not the luckiest of omens for the Exiles in terms of win percentage, however, as County have only managed two wins from those previous matches.

County don’t lose on many occasions under Sarginson either and in the only other County game officiated this season, the Exiles struck late through Mark Harris to secure a 1-1 draw at Exeter City. Scot Bennett and Harris were both booked on 18th August 2018.

Last season, County also remained unbeaten from Sarginson’s two games, including the six-goal thriller at home with Forest Green Rovers on 6th March 2018. Dan Butler was the only player booked from either side.

The other game that season was much better in terms of result for the Exiles as Joss Labadie struck in added time to seal a 2-1 away victory over Cambridge United on 16th December 2017. Labadie was also booked, alongside Ben White and Frank Nouble.

In the 2016/17 campaign, Sarginson was only the man in the middle for one County game and that wasn’t without its dramatic finale either. The date was 4th February 2017 and a Janaai Gordon goal deep into injury time in-front of over 800 County fans rescued a point in the 1-1 draw with Cheltenham Town. Gordon was also booked in that fixture.

The 2015/16 season saw Sarginson officiate two matches, starting with the 2-2 draw at Accrington Stanley on 14th November 2015. Yan Klukowski and Scott Boden both scored for County at the Wham Stadium, as Jazzi Barnum-Bobb and Alex Rodman were cautioned.

Sarginson’s other game that season came as Northampton Town continued their charge towards the League Two title thanks to John Marquis’ solitary effort on 25th March 2016. Mark Byrne picked up the only booking.

In 2014/15, another tie with Northampton Town was again presided over by Sarginson but this result was far better for the Exiles as they secured a 3-2 victory at Rodney Parade on 13th September 2014. Kevin Feely and Joe Pigott were booked.

Sarginson first refereed County on the road against Luton Town on 8th November 2014 in the Emirates FA Cup. The Hatters secured a 4-2 victory in the First-Round clash, as Lee Minshull and Chris Zebroski were both shown yellow cards.

That just leaves the first ever County games refereed by Sarginson and those two encounters came in the first season that the Exiles were back in the Football League.

The first of those matches came way back on 14th September 2013 as a penalty from Padraig Amond helped Morecambe to a 3-2 victory at Rodney Parade. Billy Jones scored on his debut and Robbie Willmott also found the net for County, as Harry Worley and Tom Naylor were both booked.

The next game refereed by Sarginson that season came in the 0-0 draw with Bury at Rodney Parade on 25th March 2014. This time four yellows cards were given out to the Exiles – Adam Chapman, Chris Zebroski, Aaron Holloway and Lee Minshull all cautioned.


Other League Two results (All 3pm Saturday kick-offs)

Cambridge United vs Grimsby Town

Cheltenham Town vs Mansfield Town

Colchester United vs Swindon Town

Crawley Town vs MK Dons

Lincoln City vs Forest Green Rovers

Macclesfield Town vs Bury FC

Morecambe vs Yeovil Town

Northampton Town vs Crewe Alexandra

Port Vale vs Notts County

Stevenage vs Oldham Athletic

Tranmere Rovers vs Exeter City


Can’t make the match?

You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the Club’s official Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram pages.

Don’t forget – if you reside outside of the UK, you can watch the game live by subscribing to County’s iFollow service.

Unfortunately, due to a special family occasion, Tim Thraves will not be providing live match commentary from this fixture. All subscribers tuned in to iFollow Exiles will, however, be able to listen to commentary provided by Carlisle United. 

An on-the-whistle match report of this match will be provided on the Club website upon the end of the game. Michael Flynn’s post-match analysis will appear on the website the day after the game, while you can watch all of Flynn’s post-match press conference as-well as two County players by subscribing to iFollow Exiles.