Match Report: Carlisle United 1 Walsall 0

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's League Two clash between Carlisle United and the Saddlers.
Arriving at the match in the back of their midweek win over Darrell Clarke's Port Vale, the Saddlers were looking to add three more points to their tally as they travelled North to a windy Brunton Park to take on struggling Carlisle United.

Walsall began the game brightly, with Conor Wilkinson seeing the sides first effort on goal blocked just one minute into the contest, with the ball then falling to Otis Khan, whose effort on goal from the centre of the box sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

The Saddlers went on to win a corner in the third minute, as Wilkinson forced the first save of the game from Carlisle United goalkeeper, Mark Howard, but Kelvin Mellor was alert to the danger as a low ball came in from the flag-kick and he cleared the danger.

Brad Young won a free-kick for his side at the other end in the sixth minute, as his side began to grow into the game, but captain, Callum Anthony Guy was unable to beat Walsall shot-stopper, Carl Rushworth with his set-piece shot.

The hosts went on to win a corner moments later, as a second Guy cross was turned behind, but Rushworth was on hand to prevent an early goal. Another Carlisle corner followed in the twelfth minute, after a quieter spell of play, but again the Walsall 'keeper was alert to the danger and ensured his side would not concede.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides seeing plenty of the ball, whilst struggling to create any forward momentum.

A mistake by Stephen Ward, in the twenty-sixth minute, allowed Joe Riley an effort on goal, but his shot from forty yards out, as he sought to catch Rushworth off-guard, sailed narrowly over the crossbar and the scores remained tied.

At the other end, moments later, the Saddlers won a corner as Morgan Feeney was forced to turn the ball out of play, but the Carlisle defences stood firm and ensured no goal would follow.

There was a brief halt to proceedings as we reached the half hour mark, allowing Jack Earing to receive treatment, but it was soon determined he would be able to continue and play resumed.

Another pause followed in the thirty-third minute, allowing Riley to receive treatment after a clash with Earing. He was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

The hosts almost opened the scoring, thirty-five minutes into the contest, as Jordan Gibson broke free of the Saddlers defences and cut inside before unleashing an effort which hit the post.

With thirty-seven minutes on the clock, it was determined that Joe Riley would be unable to continue, following his earlier tussle with Earing, and Taylor Charters was introduced in his place.

Carlisle won a free-kick close to the corner flag in the thirty-eighth minute, which Guy swung into the box, where it was half-cleared by the Saddlers defences before falling to Sam Fishburn who failed to make a clean connection with the ball allowing Walsall to finish the job and clear the danger.

Another Carlisle free-kick followed in the forty-second minute, after Walsall captain, Joss Labadie tripped Charters on the edge of the area, but Gibson's shot failed to test Rushworth as it sailed high over the crossbar.

Six additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but there was little further action of note, and the sides eventually headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.

HT
CUFC
0-0
WFC
 
The teams returned unchanged following the break, and the action got back underway. The second-half got off to something of a slow start, with both sides taking their time to settle back into the game, though five minutes in, Young saw an effort blocked, before Charters fired an effort over the crossbar.

Eight minutes into the half, Walsall won a corner, as Mellor turned the ball out of play, but the Carlisle 'keeper was well placed to gather the effort. Walsall went on to win a corner in the fifty-seventh minute, as Hayden White looked to play in Miller, who forced another save from Howard, who turned the ball behind, but nothing would come of the opportunity as the United defences stood firm.

As we reached the hour mark, Labadie looked to find the breakthrough with a shot from distance, but Howard was able to do enough to prevent the initial effort finding the target and the Saddlers were unable to turn the spilled ball home.

With sixty-three minutes on the clock, Carlisle opted to make their second change of the afternoon, with Brad Young making way for Tristan Abrahams.

Carlisle won a corner moments after the change, as White turned the ball out of play, but they were unable to make anything of the opportunity and the scores remained tied as the Saddlers made their first change of the game. Otis Khan the man to make way as Kieran Phillips entered the fray.

The home side continued to look the more dangerous of the two, with Guy working Charters into space in the sixty-sixth minute, but the substitute was unable to keep his effort down, sending the ball soaring high over Rushworth's crossbar.

In the seventieth minute, Callum Guy became the first player to see his name entered into the referee's notebook, as he was cautioned for a foul on Emmanuel Osadebe.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the seventy-second minute, allowing Mellor to receive treatment, but he was soon deemed able to continue and the play resumed.

Jack Armer joined his captain in the referee's notebook in the seventy-fifth minute, as a foul on Earing earned him a yellow card.

The Saddlers were presented with a chance to open the scoring in the seventy-ninth minute, but Osadebe's effort from the edge of the area sailed narrowly over the crossbar, after some nice play from Miller set him up.

Five minutes from time, Carlisle opted to make their third and final change of the game, with Sam Fishburn making way for Manasse Mampala.

With eighty-eight minutes on the clock, Carlisle found a thus far elusive goal, as a Guy and Rod McDonald combined from a free-kick to allow Abrahams a tap in from close range, likely securing all three points for the home side, as Rollin Menayese joined those listed in the referee's notebook for the foul which gifted the hosts the set-piece.

Five minutes were added to end the game, but there was little further action of note, and the game ended with Carlisle winning by one-goal-to-nil. A disappointing trip north for the Saddlers, who struggled to really get going.

FT
CUFC
1-0
WFC
Abrahams (88')
 
REFEREE
Scott Oldham
ATT / AT
3,795 (293) - Brunton Park
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