Gritty display takes City top of the League PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Walsh   
Monday, 26 October 2020

crook carlisle.pngThis season might have started slowly on the pitch but has really burst into life now for Carlisle City.

The Gillford Park side are clearly regarded as serious promotion contenders from Northern League Division Two after a fine 2-1 win at rivals.

In this strangest of years, though, there is the underlying current of Covid-19 issues off the field and will they conspire to disrupt another season.

More than ever it’s a case of taking a game at a time and with almost a third of the season gone, City proudly sit top of the table.

This latest success was a testament to the grit and determination in the team, not to mention their ability against a committed and physically strong Crook side.

Manager Jim Nichols’ 50th game in charge of City was also the team’s first fixture for a fortnight and there was the chance of them being rusty and off the pace.

But Nichols has two good lieutenants in Alan Inglis and Jack Boyd, whose midweek sessions had kept the City machine well-oiled.

Crook keeper Michael Arthur was the first to come under pressure and after he had pulled-off a superb save to turn away a shot in the 12th minute City defender Dan Kirkup was following up to thump home an excellent finish.

That sparked a strong Crook response and they started to dominate mid-field, and put pressure on Sam Henderson’s goal.

They were, perhaps, unlucky on a couple of occasions not to level but were shocked on 27 minutes when City broke to score a fine second goal.

Playing their way out of defence, City attacked down the flank and a great cross from the outstanding Kieran Olsen was volleyed home impressively at the back post by Keighran Kerr.

So City were able to go in at the break with a two-goal advantage, but it also signalled that they would face a torrid time in the second-half.

Crook responded really well, pressing and harrassing City into a series of mistakes.

They were  unlucky when Henderson was beaten by a header but he was able to breathe a sigh of relief as it just dropped over the angle of post and bar.

City simply could not get out of their own half as Crook applied more and more pressure, and inevitably they cut the deficit on 64 minutes with a fine header from Joe Hillerby.

It was backs to the wall now and wasn’t helped when Kerr was sent-off for a bad tackle.

The ten men could have been reduced to nine men when City, with no subs left, had Kirkup badly gashed above the eye.

Sportingly the Crook physio patched him up and he was able to return, suitably bandaged a la Terry Butcher, and helped City through to the final whistle and a memorable victory.


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