Yesterday, I travelled to Brunton Park for my yearly visit to my local English side, Carlisle United, for their match against Morecambe. Carlisle picked up a fantastic away win at last season’s league 1 relegated Oldham, but its the home form of Carlisle that has yet to start. The Cumbrian’s have now lost their last 4 home games after Saturdays defeat, with the worst part being that they have failed to find the net in any of those games. They started the season well, winning home games and away but as of the last month or so they have struggled really badly at home. It has left a few blue fans unhappy which was heard at the full time whistle on Saturday but manager John Sheridan said yesterday that ” Carlisle Fans Have Every Right to Grumble”.
Morecambe had the worst start to the season possible, getting hammered 6-0 away to Crewe, and never really recovered, they lost their next 3 matches, before picking up a massive 3 points at home to Northampton, which I also attended. However, once again they went downhill, losing another 4 league games on the bounce. It all changed for the Shrimps when they hosted fellow strugglers, Macclesfield Town on the 22nd of September in what was a must win match and indeed they did succeed. They have now went on to salvage 7/12 points in their last 4 games, winning at Grimsby and drawing away to Cheltenham and could of counted their selves unlucky 2 weeks ago, when they lost 3-4 at home to Tranmere in a thriller where, Harry Gilmour netted in the 89th minute to steal all 3 points for the away side. Things are now looking up for the Lancashire side.
Carlisle were forced into two changes on Saturday with Centre-back, Anthony Gerrard missing out through suspension, so Gary Miller filled in at right back, moving Gary Liddle to centre-back. Hallam Hope was on international duty, representing Barbados so Richie Bennet played up-front.
Morecambe have a huge injury crisis happening at the moment. Kevin Ellison picked up an injury against Stoke U21’s in the Checkatrade Trophy midweek, so he missed out along with, James Sinclair, Andy Fleming, Alex Kenyon and Kyle Hawley. Zak Mills, Aaron Wildig, Vadaine Oliver and goalkeeper Barry Roche all played through pain, having sight injuries.
After worrying about the game being postponed, the game did get underway in Cumbria after a minute’s applause for Carlisle United legend, Tony Hopper who sadly passed away last week at the age of 42, after fighting Motor Neurone Disease. The first half chance of the game came after 5 minutes when Ashley Nadesan was brought down on the edge of the box by Sam Lavelle. Jack Sowerby stepped up and crossed the ball brilliantly across the face of the six-yard box but both Richie Bennett and Tom Parkes failed to connect. Morecambe went close after 10 minutes when, A-Jay Leitch-Smith spun in the box before firing into the side netting. Carlisle should of been ahead on the 12th minute when Jack Sowerby slid Ashley Nadesan through 1v1, but Shrimps keeper, Roche saved well before gathering the forwards rebound effort. Carlisle were punished for missing a glorious opportunity when the Lancashire side took the lead after 14 minutes when, Leitch-Smith picked up the ball before beating a few defenders then laying it off to Aaron Wildig, who cut inside and then returned the ball back to Leitch-Smith who’s effort was well saved by Adam Collin however, the effort came back and hit the Morecambe striker and ended up in the net. The home side were inches away from being level after 23 minutes, when Jerry Yates beat his man before crossing into the box. His cross met the head of Ashley Nadesan, who’s effort struck the far post with Roche well beaten. The Morecambe keeper was called into action, less than a minute later when a Mike Jones corner, found the head of Richie Bennett. His header was well saved by Roche, before the ball was put to safety before Parkes could tap home the second effort. Against the run of play, the away side doubled their advantage, when a corner was met by Shrimps number 9, Vadaine Oliver, who rose above Tom Parkes to power a header high past the helpless, Adam Collin in the Carlisle net. The end of the half had very few chances with Carlisle looking a beaten team already and Morecambe just sat and held what they had.
Half Time- Carlisle 0-2 Morecambe
As the weather conditions worsened, the second half got underway in the huge downpour over Brunton Park. There were no changes for either side at the break, but Carlisle did start the second half well. On the 51st minute, the hosts came close to equalising. Jack Sowerby had a long range effort at goal, which was saved well by Roche, but it went straight to Richie Bennett who fired a volley over. This was the only real chance for a good 10 minutes with both side’s starting to feel the physical effect’s of the heavy surface, which was full of water. Carlisle had a few corners which came to nothing, and did also have a penalty claim on the 63rd minute when Richie Bennett went down under a challenge, but referee, Sebastian Stockbridge wasn’t interested. The Cumbrian’s had to try change something if they wanted to salvage anything out of the match so, John Sheridan made a triple substitution with, Richie Bennett, Mike Jones and Macauley Gillesphey all going off and George Glendon, Regan Slater and teenager Liam McCarron coming on, with the home side changing to what looked like a 4-3-3. McCarron looked useful and did cause the Shrimps trouble down the right hand side, delivering a couple of balls into the box which no-one could connect with. Unfortunately that was about it from Brunton Park. It was a dire second half, potentially down to weather conditions. The poor home form continues for the hosts as it finished Carlisle 0-2 Morecambe.
Collin, Miller, Liddle, Parkes, Gillesphey(68), Sowerby, Jones(68), Ethutu, Yates, Nadesan, Bennett(68)
Subs- Gray, Slater(68), McCarron(68), Adewusi, Brown, Egan, Glendon(68)
Roche, Mills, Yarney, Lavelle, Conlan, Oates(75), Wildig, Tutte(58), Mandeville, Leitch-Smith(82), Oliver
Subs- Halstead, Cranston(58), Hedley, Jagne, Mendes-Gomes(75), Oswell(82), Piggott
Referee- Sebastian Stockbridge
Assistants- Paul Hodskinson & Jonathan Hunt
Fourth Official- Dean Hulme
Attendance 4,569 (347 Away)
Goals- Leitch-Smith(14), Oliver(26)
Yellow Cards- 0
Red Cards- 0