Carlisle United 3 Wycombe Wanderers 3
Vital would like to thank Ian Mitchell for the following report.
24 years since the Chairboys first played at the northern outpost of Brunton Park, we returned hoping to build upon our great recent away record.
Carlisle themselves have struggled at home and only had one league win back in August against Cheltenham Town to appease their fans – so was something going to give, or would this go with the form table?
Wycombe’s line-up showed two changes from Exeter on Saturday, with Scarr in for Stewart, and Saunders replacing the suspended Bean. O’Nien returned on the subs bench as we named a full complement.
Interestingly only three of the starting eleven began this same fixture just over a year ago (Jombati, Gape, & Akinfenwa) with Carlisle winning one nil.
Once the stuffed fox was cleared away from its traditional centre circle spot the action commenced.
Wycombe wearing their orange kit and looking resplendent against the impressive green baize of Brunton Park attacked the sparsely populated Warwick Road end.
Early pressure from Carlisle against a sluggish Blues resulted in a corner of the left. Lambe peeled off his marker for a free downward header into the net to give Carlisle the lead after 5 minutes.
Ten minutes in, another cross from the right for Carlisle and again there was an unmarked striker free in box but El-Abd cleared for a corner. The resulting cross was finally scrambled away.
A few minutes later the chairboys had their first attack and some neat link up play gave the ball to Eze but he blazed the shot high & wide.
A foul on Eze gave Jacobson chance to deliver a free kick that El-Abd put wide of post. Up the other end. El-Abd then headed clear but was penalised for a push and Carlisle sent in a free kick that troubled Brown.
After 23 minutes Mackail-Smith scuffed a long shot along the ground following an Akinfenwa chest-off but it was never troubling Bonham in the home goal.
Wycombe were starting to grow in confidence but Brown almost gave the Cumbrians a second with a poor clearance. Freeman then got involved for the first time with a run down the left wing but his inviting cross was headed clear with Akinfenwa lurking.
After 28 minutes our first corner arrived on the right but Jacobson’s cross sailed past everyone.
At the other end Brown had to be alert to tip over a teasing cross. Some keystone cops defending then resulted in a fortunate deflection for a goal kick.
A couple of minutes later Scarr made a good last ditch tackle otherwise it could have been two. Shortly after that Carlisle missed another chance as our defence went AWOL.
35 minutes in, and CMS and Freeman swapped wings but to little avail as Miller blasted one over for Carlisle. A minute later CMS broke away from Akinfenwa`s nod-on but a defender closed him down well before he could shoot.
After 38 minutes, Scarr gave away a penalty although the rest of team surrounded the ref and argued vehemently that the player dived. Looking at the Wanderers` reactions I suspect they may have a point, so look out for that on the highlights. A yellow card resulted for Scarr, and after a delay the penalty was confidently dispatched by Devitt to put Carlisle two up.
Gape had a chance to get a shot on target just before half time but again it went well wide.
Just before the half time whistle Eze was pushed over on edge of box & Saunders planted a right foot shot in to the top left corner with the badly positioned keeper nowhere. So half time and the Blues are lucky to still be in this, but that late goal gives the small band of travelling fans hope.
Ainsworth though has to earn his corn in the break as this was very disjointed from the Chairboys & probably the poorest 45 minutes so far this season.
Wanderers kicked off second half attacking the waterworks end which was empty except for 3 Wanderers` flags. No changes were made by either manager at the break so 45 minutes for the Chairboys to see if they can continue this great away run.
Wycombe came out the traps like a greyhound after the hare, and a great break for Freeman was halted as the ref blew for a head injury.
Good battling by CMS almost freed up Eze but Carlisle broke quickly & found a big gap on the Wycombe right. Their striker should have scored but put it wide of the right post.
Quick free kick by Saunders to Jacobson, great ball in and the defender hits bar with looping header. Corner was easily cleared. Wycombe starting to really push.
Ten minutes in, and Carlisle are relying on breaks but not creating any openings. CMS seems to be playing closer to Akinfenwa in a 4-4-2 formation. 15 minutes in and the Cumbrians plant a free kick harmlessly wide
The game had started to become more even and Carlisle missed another good chance as the Wanderers` defence was carved open.
After a neat build up, Scarr hit a long ranger just past the left post, and a few minutes later a Jombati header found Eze but his shot lacked conviction and was easily saved.
At this stage most of Chairboys` attacks were coming down the right and Akinfenwa soon headed over from another cross. With twenty minutes to go, Cowan-hall replaced an ineffective Eze.
After 72 minutes, neat triangles freed up Freeman who got to the bye-line and put in a great cross that Akinfenwa buried to level the scores. It was probably the first time all night that the Beast got the better of the defenders.
With 15 mins to go the game started to open up and Southwell replaced CMS who had put in his normal shift up and down the wing.
The last sub was made with 12 minutes to go as Bloomfield replaced Saunders who had been our best player on the night. Shortly afterwards Cowan-Hall broke down right wing and opted to hit a cross shot past the far post with others available.
With seven minutes to go, Jacobson lost the ball and it was swept forward to the Carlisle left, where Lambe in acres of space fired past Brown to put Cumbrians three two up.
Up the other end a clear hand ball in the Carlisle box was missed by both ref and linesman as the Chairboys looked to come back again.
With two minutes to go, a great set up deserved a better finish from Akinfenwa but he blasted over.
Five minutes of added on time followed, and Wanderers resorted to long balls forward. There were a couple of corners with Brown up, and from one of those Paris did the business! So the long unbeaten away run continues!
Brown couple of nervous clearances 6
Jombati often absent from defending 5
Scarr solid 6
El-Abd improving 7
Jacobson poor tonight 5
Gape tigerish 7
Saunders great strike good to have him back 7*
Eze ineffective 6
Freeman not given much chance to run with ball but looked dangerous when he did 7
Akinfenwa very quiet but good header 7
Mackail-Smith industrious 6
Cowan-Hall – looked very lively & took goal well 7
Southwell – a real trier needs a goal for confidence 6
Bloomfield – not enough time to get involved n/a