The Stan’s 1st Saturday home match of the season saw them welcome Carlisle City to Grounsell Park. There were 2 changes from Wednesday’s win with Sharpe and McAndrew being replaced by Kevin Carr & new signing Dan Stephenson. The Carlisle keeper Murray was injured in the warm–up and had to be replaced by Newton.
A relatively even first 5 minutes saw only one effort when Carlisle blasted a shot over the bar. In 9 minutes, a Stan corner ball was headed clear. Imray crossed back into the box but Burn headed wide. Nothing much else happened until in 15 minutes, Carlisle shot wide. Another attack by the visitors was cleared allowing the Stan to counter but Burn was fouled on half–way with the resulting free kick towards goal going wide. In 19 minutes, Carlisle won a corner from which Esdaille headed clear. The ball came back into the box but the visitors shot high & wide. In 23 minutes, Newton had to get down to stop a Stan effort from McBryde who was supplied by Carr. Then a free kick at the other end was stopped by a good catch by Regan. It was end to end now after a quiet opening & Carr shot over the bar from the edge of a crowded box. In 27 minutes Newton had to get down to stop a shot from Burn. There was a good chance for the Stan in 39 minutes when McBryde sent the ball into Carr at the right post who miss kicked but the ball was deflected for a corner from which it was headed clear. In 42 minutes, Burn hit the wall from a free kick but the ball went back to Stephenson who passed to Burn who was advancing round the left of the wall but he shot just wide. Esdaille then had to head clear for a corner from which Regan caught the ball. Into added time & a Stan free kick into the box was headed sideways by Carr. Not a great half with limited chances so it remained 0-0 at half time.
Carlisle started the 2nd half with a speculative long–range effort which Regan caught. There was a long ball to the advancing Carr but it was cleared by 2 following defenders. The best chance of the match so far was in 50 minutes when the ball was sent into the box & a Carlisle player headed it at Regan from 6 yards when he should have scored. 2 minutes later & Carlisle attacked into the box again but Esdaille intercepted. There was a period of Carlisle pressure including, in 56 minutes, a free kick which went over the wall & just over the bar. The Stan had their 1st attack for a while in 58 minutes when a good Carr cross into the box was headed out for a corner. Stephenson’s corner ball though was miss headed by McBryde. Its then the Stan’s turn to have more of the pressure including Esdaille heading wide from a free kick in 62 minutes. In 65 minutes though Carlisle are in the lead to the surprise of the fans when a counter attack sees Palmer speculatively chip over Reganfrom 30 yards. The Stan Army have little time to get over the shock when, in 66 minutes, Hornsby scores from a long ball into the box from the left which goes over everyone & into the right hand corner of the net. What an equaliser! Carlisle then get a corner which looked dangerous but is cleared then the Stan counter & Burn is brought down as he advances. Stephenson’s 50 yard free kick is then punched clear by Newton. In 71 minutes, Carr shot just wide from the edge of box when he should have scored. Esdaille then had to clear at the other end. With just over 10 minutes to go, there is a bit of Carlisle pressure although in the 80th minute there is a great move into the box by Stephenson whose shot is blocked & Bailey’s shot then hits a defender & eventually the ball goes out to Carr on the left of the box whose effort is blasted over when it could have been in the net. There are a few quieter minutes until the Stan start putting pressure on again from 84 minutes. In 86 minutes it pays off when the Stan take the lead when, after a free kick, Carr supplies Proctor who blasts the ball into the net. The visitors though are level again from a debatable Palmer penalty in 88 minutes which was awarded for a shirt pull by Esdaille. Both sides seek a winner & in 92 minutes a move involving Bailey & Stephenson sees a handball in the box but nothing is given. Carlisle have a final 2 efforts in 93 minutes with Esdailleheading clear from a corner before Regan stops a free kick. So, a lively last 30 minutes, after what had been an ordinary performance by both teams, saw 4 goals & a point a piece. The Stan now travel to Sunderland on Wednesday to face Washington.