Stevenage come unstuck as Ibehre fires Carlisle to victory

Darren Sarll

Darren Sarll - Credit: Archant

Stevenage were left to rue several missed chances as Jabo Ibehre fired Carlisle to all three points at a windy Brunton Park.

Dean Parrett, Luke Wilkinson and Ryan Hedges were among those who went close to extending Darren Sarll’s winning run to three League Two matches, but in the end it was a goal from Jabo Ibehre, Carlisle’s top scorer this season, that was the difference between the two sides.

Stevenage had made just the one change from the side that had beaten Cambridge United the week before, with Parrett coming in for Tom Conlon who dropped to the bench.

Sarll’s men were handed a chance to open the scoring in just the third minute after Mark Gillespie, the home keeper, gifted the ball to Tom Pett with a poor clearance under pressure from Byron Harrison.

Pett then seeing Harrison in the box laid the ball off to his team-mate, but Gillespie was able to redeem himself with a save from close range.

Stevenage were then dealt a blow when Charlie Lee pulled up with injury and had to be replaced by Keith Keane with just eight minutes on the clock, but they continued to press hard and high up the pitch and almost got their reward.

This time Harrison turned provider, but Parrett’s shot took a deflection and bounced back off Gillespie’s crossbar.

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The home side had to wait until the 33rd minute for their first shot at goal, but the effort from the right-back, Alex McQueen, sailed over Jamie Jones’ bar.

They were then met by boos from their own supporters as they left the pitch at half-time, but in truth it had been a high-energy Stevenage approach that had restricted the hosts to very few forays into the final third.

Carlisle made a double change at the break with the introduction of both Macaulay Gillesphey and Alex Gilliead for David Atkinson and Luke Joyce, but within 30 seconds of the restart they almost conceded when Harrison’s lob shot landed on top of the netting.

Jason Kennedy fired just off target for the home side before Ibehre went one better when he headed home his 13th league goal of the season.

The move originated from a Mark Ellis long throw on the right which was cleared as far as McQueen, and when the defender’s ball in was met by Ibehre the striker sent his header past Jones to put his side ahead.

Hedges was then picked out at the far post by Pett, and although he had the time to adjust his body he failed to do so and side-footed his shot off target.

Wilkinson then had a better chance to get his side back on level terms but when Pett crossed perfectly for him the defender headed downwards and wide from just a couple of yards out in what was Boro’s final chance to get something out of the game.

Stevenage will be left disappointed to have come away from the match without any points, but Sarll’s men continue to shows signs of improvement and will be looking to return to winning ways on home soil against Exeter City next weekend.

Carlisle: Gillespie, Joyce (Gilliead 46), Raynes, Atkinson (Gillesphey 46), Kennedy, Wyke, Ibehre, Comley, Hope (Asamoah 82), Ellis, McQueen. Subs: Hery, Hanford, Rigg, Thompson.

Stevenage: Jones, Henry, Ogilvie, Wilkinson, Franks, Parrett, Tonge, Lee (Keane 8), Pett, Hedges (Marriott 82), Harrison (O’Connor 77). Subs: Day, Johnson, Conlon, Cox.

Att: 4,780 (118)