Shamal George the unwitting spark for gritty Stevenage win at Carlisle

Ben Kennedy had the best chance of the first half for Stevenage. Picture: Danny Loo

Ben Kennedy had the best chance of the first half for Stevenage. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Midway through the first half an announcement rang out round Brunton Park for the duty electrician to make himself known. It left some wags to comment that perhaps he could find the spark the game needed.

In the end it was Shamal George, the Carlisle United goalkeeper, that provided the platform for Stevenage’s 2-0 win – although not in the way that he would have wanted.

The stopper caught but then inexplicably dropped a corner on 51 minutes which Ben Kennedy gleefully tapped home.

Then nine minutes later with Tom Pett’s tame header floating towards him, he fumbled it behind him and into the net.

It settled a game where the two sides, both on a high after good wins at the weekend, cancelled each other out for long periods.

Carlisle had more chances in the first half but failed to test Joe Fryer.

One good five-minute spell had Clint Hill and Tom Parkes threaten with headers but the nearest they came was the former hitting the side netting with Fryer in command.

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Nicky Adams had been Carlisle’s main threat early on and he sent a curling effort over, as did Ryan Lambe.

At the other end Stevenage found themselves in good positions often but struggled to find the right pass.

When they did though they fashioned the best chance of the half.

Joe Martin made good ground down the left and when the ball was pulled back across it found Kennedy in space and unmarked 12 yards out.

However, his side footed, placed effort was deflected just wide.

Boro’s front two of Danny Newton and Matt Godden had been well marshalled by the Cumbrians centre backs who restricted them to very little.

So perhaps it was always going to take an error to bring a goal, although George’s will be the stuff of nightmares for the 19-year-old, on loan from Liverpool.

The goals visibly took the wind out of the hosts’ sails, although strangely the corner that led to Boro’s second came after George had made a fantastic save to deny Godden’s deflected shot.

Carlisle mounted a late challenge, aided by eight minutes added time, but again they didn’t test Fryer, only adding to the sense of frustration in Brunton Park.

For Stevenage, and their hardy band of 34 supporters, the worry will be the number of niggling injuries picked up late on.

However, the gritty win, which lifts them back into the play-off places in sixth, will be a fine tonic.

Stevenage: Fryer, Smith, Martin, Franks (Wilkinson 74), Kennedy, Pett (Conlon 82), Gorman, Newton (Wootton 58), Vancooten, Godden, Henry

Subs (not used): Day, Whelpdale, Toner, Gray

Goals: Kennedy 51, Pett 60

Carlisle: George, Grainger, Joyce, Parkes, Jones, Adams, Brown (Hope 70), Lambe (Devitt 66), S.Miller, Etuhu (Bennett 61), Hill

Subs (not used): Bonham, T.Miller, Liddle, Ellis


HT: Carlisle United 0 Stevenage 0

Referee: Michael Salisbury

Attendance: 3,701 (34 from Stevenage)