Carlisle City v Heaton Stannington

Jordan Lashley and Danny Sayer were on target for The Stan as they fought back from behind twice to secure a draw in their fourth friendly of the new season.

The 60-mile journey from Grounsell Park to Gillford Park was the longest we’ve faced so far in 2024-25, but pales in comparison to the anticipated trips to the likes of Yorkshire and the Midlands which will be common place in the campaign ahead.

The first chance of the game went to the home side on 3 minutes, as an inviting ball from the Carlisle right back was headed wide at the near post. Moments later, the Stan had a similar opportunity, but Evans’ cross deflected on its way into the area and was dealt with by the keeper.

Carlisle took the lead on 11 minutes. Leighton Hopper picked up on a loose ball just inside the Stan half, but was charged down, allowing the Cumbrians to break. A hopeful lump forward deflected off both Jay Hornsby and Marc Ellison, falling to a Carlisle forward who was able to cut onto his left and hang a ball up for Riley Boertien who leapt higher than Kane Evans at the back post. Goalkeeper Lewis Brass met the effort on goal but could only push it high into the net.

A committed start to the game from both sides stepped up a notch a couple of minutes later, as Hopper was fouled by Carlisle’s no.7, who swiped for the ball but completely missed and kicked the Stan striker across his shins. This would set the tone for what was a feisty friendly fixture.

The Stan’s best chance so far followed shortly after, as Hopper seized possession on the edge of the Carlisle box, whipped a ball to Andy Burn at the far post, but the no.10 couldn’t keep his header on target.

Midway through the first half, the Stan found their equaliser, but it was only possible because of some quick reactions from goalkeeper Lewis Brass at the other end first, who had to palm a close range header from a corner against his own crossbar. Once the Stan dealt with the danger, Brass was able to launch a ball forward which was knocked down by Daniel Sayer into the path of Jordan Lashley, who received the ball on his right foot, cut back to send his marker scrambling before firing low into the bottom corner with his favoured left.

Buoyed by their leveller, it was the Stan who did most of the pushing for the next 20 minutes, with a Marc Ellison header from a corner saved well by the Carlisle keeper on the half hour mark.

But it was the home side who went into the break ahead, with a brilliant passing sequence from front-to-back – not unlike the Stan’s style of play – rewarded with a suitably brilliant goal. Ellison dealt with a searching cross from Carlisle’s no.2, but it was smashed in on the volley just inside the D by Callum Birdsall with some venom.

Carlisle’s lead was short-lived. The Stan were on the front foot from the second half restart and forced a corner after an overload. Danny Sayer lurked at the back post in a packed six yard box and was the grateful recipient of an excellent deep in-swinging cross by David Palmer to level the game again on 47 minutes.

The Stan arguably had the best chances to win the game in an otherwise less eventful second half. On 55 minutes, a scramble from a wide Lashley free kick saw Carlisle clear off their line twice in the space of five seconds – first from Sayer and then from Alfie Marriott.

A mazy run from Leighton Hopper 15 minutes later was just lacking a crucial finish, but did win the Stan a corner, which pinballed around the six yard box with some menace without troubling the Carlisle keeper.

The closing stages of the game are mostly notable for the emergence of goalkeeper Callum Corkhill from the bench sporting the bright yellow outfield kit adorned with the number 12. Corkhill replaced Sayer – who finally succumbed to the constant physical harassment of the home side – with a minute of normal time remaining, but the back-up custodian’s assistance up front did not return a winning goal.

The trip to Carlisle City was a friendly in name, but these two sides battled as if points or cup progression were on the line. The game was rather stop-start with the number of fouls racking up very quickly, and both sides finding it difficult to get into much of a rhythm as a result. The scoreline reflected the evenly-matched nature of the contest, and there can be no doubt that both teams got a good workout at Gillford Park on that drizzly Saturday afternoon.

Lewis Brass; Kane Evans, Marc Ellison, Alfie Marriott, Jay Hornsby; David Palmer, Andy Burn, Danny Sayer (Callum Corkhill 89); Jordan Lashley, Louis Anderson, Leighton Hopper

Liam Milburn


Carlisle City vs Heaton Stannington

On Saturday 13th January, the Stan travelled to Carlisle City for their third consecutive away game of the new year. A crowd of 145, including a strong contingent of travelling Stan fans, watched a game of few quality chances, somewhat hampered by the effects of recent weather on the Carlisle pitch.

The opening quarter of an hour saw each team receive promising free kick opportunities with Reid firing over for Heaton and Marriott blocking a shot from Carlisle’s Jordan Palmer. Both teams struggled to link passes together or create any real goalscoring opportunities until Reid again shot over the Carlisle crossbar on 28 minutes. Shortly after the Stan were awarded another freekick on the edge of the box. Sayer whipped in a dangerous looking cross and shouts for a foul on Reid in the penalty area were waved away by the referee.

The deciding moment in the match came just 10 minutes later when a neat ball over the top found a Carlisle forward behind the Heaton’s defence. Brass came out quickly to close down the ensuing shot but a scrambled clearance fell straight to Birdsall. His follow up was again turned away by Brass but Jordan Holt was on hand to tap in for Carlisle.

A late corner from Hopper found Reid but he was unable to get the necessary power on his header to trouble Carlisle’s keeper and Sayer was unable to find the target with an effort in 1st half stoppage time. The hosts went into the break with a 1-0 lead.

The second half produced more clear chances for both sides. On 49 minutes Hopper’s cross was punched clear with a strong hand from Carlisle’s keeper before a scramble in the area led to Carlisle firing against Heaton’s bar. Hopper caused more problems for the Carlisle defence, beating a couple of players before shooting high and wide.

The 65th minute saw Lashley subbed on for Sayer and he almost immediately had an opportunity to shoot from distance. Once again, however, the Carlilse keeper wasn’t forced into action. Carr played in Lashley again minutes later, this time resulting in a corner but the Carlisle defence stood firm.

On 80 minutes Holt played in McCartney for Carlisle but Brass was once again on hand to keep the difference to one goal. The Stan managed to work a chance of their own a few minutes later from a throw in. Nice play between Greenwood and Reid resulted in a shooting opportunity for Greenwood but the keeper was equal to the task. Greenwood had another chance from a freekick in the dying minutes of the match but sent the ball into the stands. Despite a large amount of stoppage time due to an earlier injury to Carlisle’s Kirkup, the Stan were unable to rescue a point and had a frustrated Burn sin binned to round off the match.

It just wasn’t to be for Heaton today with strong defensive performances from both teams largely cancelling each other out. Weather permitting, Heaton go again on Wednesday night when they face Guisborough Town who currently sit just one point behind them in the table.

Sam Henderson

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Carlisle City vs Heaton Stannington

3:00 pm