Match report: Carlisle Utd 0 Stevenage 0

Graham Westley. Photo: Harry Hubbard

Graham Westley. Photo: Harry Hubbard - Credit: Archant

Carlisle have plenty of chances but Boro defend well to earn a point and extend their unbeaten run to six matches

Stevenage put in a stubborn defensive performance to grind out a point at Brunton Park.

Carlisle United may have had the better of the chances, but Stevenage’s back line, with Jimmy Smith sitting just in front of them, limited their hosts to speculative shots from distance as Graham Westley’s men extended their unbeaten run to six matches.

Stevenage made two changes from the side that drew 1-1 at home with Preston on Tuesday. Michael Doughty and John Mousinho both returned to the starting XI in place of the injured Roarie Deacon and Dean Parrett, who dropped to the bench.

The home side started strongly and had two good chances to go a goal up within five minutes of the start.

The first came when both Jon Ashton and Bira Dembele went to head clear a long punt from Carlisle keeper Jordan Pickford, meaning that when the ball fell to James Berrett there was no defender there to pick him up.

The midfielder’s shot from distance was pushed wide by Chris Day, and when the corner came in and Stevenage failed to clear properly Carlisle’s Danny Redmond tried his luck from 16 yards but used the outside of his foot to curl his shot wide of goal.

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Graham Kavanagh’s men had another good opportunity moments later. This time Ashton could not clear a ball over the top and Sam Byrne, on loan at the club from Manchester United, got in behind, only for Darius Charles, covering, to get in a block and put the ball out for a corner.

Charles was then involved in an incident that left those on the Carlisle bench shouting for a red card, but his crunching tackle on James Pearson merited just a caution from the referee.

The hosts continued to have the better chances on goal as the half went on, and Day was left scrambling to his right when Carlisle left-back Chris Chantler smacked a 30-year shot just wide of his post.

Boro made a substitution at half-time with Sam Wedgbury coming on for Ashton, a change that saw Mousinho move to centre-back.

The game slowed considerably in tempo in the second period, and it took 20 minutes for a chance to materialise when Miller’s terrific shot from just inside the box was met by Day’s outstretched hand as the goalkeeper tapped the ball away to safety.

The hosts often got bodies forward in the second period, especially as their wingers pressed high up the pitch, but time and again they opted to strike from distance.

With just over 10 minute to go, though, Carlisle had their best chance of the half from a corner, but when the set piece was kicked into the ground it bounced up towards Miller who could only send it over the bar with his head from close range.

And although the home side pushed bodies forward in the final moments of the match, they were unable to get the better of a solid Boro back line and both sides had to settle for a point.

Carlisle United: Pickford, Chantler, Brown, Pearson, Chimbonda (Meppem-Walter 49), Amoo, Potts, Berrett, Redmond (Symington 74), Byrne, Miller. Subs: Fleming, Lynch, Brough

Stevenage: Day, Obeng, Dembele, Ashton (Wedgbury 46), Charles, Mousinho, Smith, Doughty (Morais 90), Freeman (Burrow 90), Zoko, Akins. Subs: Arnold, Hartley, Parrett, Reid.

Ref: J Adcock

Att: 3,672 (97 away)

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