Stevenage pay the penalty as Carlisle set club record

Luke Wilkinson and the Stevenage players remonstrate with the referee at the final whistle.

Luke Wilkinson and the Stevenage players remonstrate with the referee at the final whistle. - Credit: Archant

Danny Grainger fired Carlisle to victory from the penalty spot as United set a club record of 14 league games unbeaten with a win over Stevenage in a match full of controversy.

The Carlisle skipper coolly sent Stevenage goalkeeper Jamie Jones the wrong way with 57 minutes on the clock to ensure his side went home having endured a tough test by a Boro side who will feel hard done by with the outcome.

There were two penalties – one converted by each side – and a controversial opener for Carlisle in a match that had plenty of drama and 10 bookings in total.

That a handful of Stevenage’s players approached the referee at the full-time whistle showed what they thought, while Carlisle boss Keith Curle said that at half-time he’d told his players to stop talking about the officials and that if any were booked for dissent in the second period they would be fined £500.

The controversy started with Jason Kennedy’s goal on the 17th minute.

Tom Miller took a long throw on the right and it was flicked on by Michael Raynes allowing Charlie Wyke a shot at goal.

Jones pulled off an outstanding stop, but as he tried to keep it out a second time Kennedy forced the ball over the line much to the anger of the Boro goalkeeper who was booked for his protestations.

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Jones believed that the ball hadn’t crossed the line, while Boro boss Darren Sarll later said that Jabo Ibehre, the Carlisle striker, had been offside.

Boro’s equaliser came a minute before half-time, and it too raised eyebrows.

All afternoon shirts had been pulled in the box by both sets of players without so much as a raised eyebrow from the referee, but when Tom Miller took a liking to Charlie Lee’s shirt on 44 minutes - no different from at other moments in the game - Nicholas Kinseley deemed it extravagant enough to point to the spot.

Carlisle were unhappy with the decision, and up stepped Matt Godden to blast home the spot kick to add to his header at Morecambe last week.

The winning goal came on 56 minutes and it was given for a foul by Luke Wilkinson who had climbed all over a Carlisle attacker. It was a soft foul, but a foul nonetheless, but it came less than 10 minutes after a similar incident had occurred in the visitors’ box without reprimand.

The referee pointed to the spot, and Grainger put away his fifth goal of the season.

Unable to get back on level terms Boro made a double change with Ben Kennedy and Dale Gorman making way for Harry McKirdy and Tom Pett.

Both were soon involved, with McKirdy setting up Jack King whose shot was blocked and Pett crossing for King only for Godden’s outstretched leg unable to connect with the flick on.

Godden had picked up an injury so made way for Michael Tonge with just over five minutes to go, while the lively McKirdy directed a header goalwards from 16 yards which was held by Mark Gillespie.

For both teams it was a frustrating afternoon, but it is Carlisle who go home with the three points.

For Stevenage it will be scant consolation that they matched a team so far unbeaten in the league this season, and the result drops them to third bottom in the table.

Up next is a trip to Mansfield Town next weekend.

Stevenage: Jones, Henry, Nthle, Wilkinson, Franks, Gorman (Pett 71), Lee, Cowans, King, Godden (Tonge 84), B Kennedy (McKirdy 71). Subs: Day, Fox, Schumacher, Wells.

Carlisle Utd: Gillespie, Grainger (Brisley 84), Joyce, Raynes, J Kennedy, Jones, Wyke (Lambe 68), Adams, Gillesphey, Ibehre (Asamoah 85), Miller. Subs: Crocombe, Ellis, Devitt, McKee.

Att: 2,720 (447 away).

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