Carlisle 1 Stevenage 0

Peter Murphy is the scourge of Stevenage once more

Carlisle 1 Stevenage 0

npower League 1

STEVENAGE set off for the long journey back home with no goals, no points but with plenty of work to do after they fell to defeat in Cumbria.

Peter Murphy - whose goal in 2005 separated the two clubs in the Conference play-off final - got the only goal of the game but the margin of victory could have been more as Boro gifted their hosts plenty of chances to inflict a bigger winning margin than the one they finished with.

Both Chris Day and Michael Bostwick, the latter stepping into the back four after Jon Ashton left the pitch through injury midway through the second half, were culpable for specific incidents in the second half, but they were not alone as time after time passes failed to stick and attacking moves failed to materialise.

In a congested midfield – Stevenage strung five bodies across the park to counter the home side’s 3-5-2 – there was space on the wings as both sides looked to get the ball out to quick, attacking players but only Carlisle were successful.

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Jennison Myrie-Williams, making his debut for Boro, often found space but his team-mates failed to find him. Yet even when the fleet-footed winger created opportunities to cross himself, his own end product was missing leaving Craig Reid, the sole striker, without much to work with.

Myrie-Williams went off at half-time through injury and was replaced by another debutant, Guy Madjo, but by that time Boro were already behind.

After a turgid opening 25 minutes the game sprung into life when Carlisle had two opportunities to go ahead and took the second.

The first effort was a volley from Liam Noble which looked as though it was going to squeeze under the body of Day only for the goalkeeper to get enough on it to see it bounce over the bar.

From the ensuing corner the hosts kept plenty of bodies in the box after an initial clearance, and when a cross was swung in from Danny Livesey on the right his fellow centre-back Murphy was on hand, and unmarked, at the far side of the box to head past Day.

When Madjo came on he seemed to offer something different – a link between Reid and the midfield – and he also created Boro’s best opportunity when he beat the right-back with some fancy footwork before sneaking into the box, beating another player and pulling back only for the ball to be cleared.

By that time Rory Loy had already shot over for Carlisle in the second period and soon afterwards Westley brought Robin Shroot on for Ashton, leaving Bostwick to partner captain Mark Roberts.

Bostwick gifted United an opportunity to extend their lead when his poor header allowed Francois Zoko in one-on-one with Day, but the striker got the ball tangled in his feet and Bostwick recovered to clear to safety.

Day was next to hand Carlisle a chance when his poor kick found Zoko who ran in on goal from 30 yards only to shoot wide, under pressure from Roberts, when the second goal seemed a certainty.

Even when they weren’t getting a helping hand from Stevenage the hosts were still creating chances themselves and they went close twice in 30 seconds only to fluff their lines. Firstly, Zoko was an inch away from making contact with a cross six yards from goal, and then substitute Jon-Paul McGovern spurned an effort wide from 14 yards.

Boro had further chances - Madjo was short of getting onto the end of a Ronnie Henry cross while Reid curled an effort over from 18 yards – but neither really concerned the home team who took all three points to leap-frog Boro into the top half of League 1.

Carlisle United (3-5-2): Collin 6, Tavernier 6, Robson 5, Livesey 6 (McGovern 63, 6), Murphy 7, Noble 7 (Taiwo 88), Berrett 6, Thirwell 7, Michalik 6, Loy 6 (Curran 78), Zoko 7. Subs: Gillespie, Curran, O’Halloran.

Stevenage (4-5-1): Day 5, Henry 6, Laird 4, Roberts 6, Ashton 5 (Shroot 56, 5), Wilson 5, Myrie-Williams 5 (Madjo 46, 7), Bostwick 5, Edwards 6 (Long 77), Mousinho 5, Reid 5. Subs: Julian, Harrison.

Attendance: 4,063

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