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Match Reports

Match report: Carlisle United 3-2 Stags

5 January 2019

Mansfield Town suffered their first away league defeat in Sky Bet League Two following a 3-2 loss to Carlisle United at Brunton Park.

In what was a pulsating affair in Cumbria, Carlisle found themselves with a two-goal advantage at the break courtesy of strikes from Jack Sowerby and Hallam Hope.

The latter then struck once more either side of Matt Preston and Tyler Walker’s eventual consolation goals in the second period to end the Stags’ impressive unbeaten league streak.

Stags’ boss David Flitcroft made one solitary change for the afternoon’s defeat in Cumbria as Danny Rose was replaced by Timi Elsnik.

Mansfield had made a fast, attacking start under the floodlights at Brunton Park yet found themselves victim to an early setback.

After being afforded too much space on the edge of Conrad Logan’s area, Sowerby was able to power home Carlisle’s first attempt at goal to put his side in the driving seat in only the fourth minute.

It was an unneeded blow to the Stags’ confidence that was almost dealt another hit seven minutes after.

Tom Parkes connected with a wicked set-piece delivery, however, the Carlisle centre-half somehow guided the ball wide of the upright with his head.

Mansfield had boasted the bulk of possession inside the opening 15 minutes but had no gilt-edged chances to show for it.

While Elsnik had volleyed clear of Adam Collin’s crossbar, and Mal Benning’s promising cross had been intercepted, the Stags were yet to trouble the Cumbrians’ shot-stopper.

And the hosts duly took advantage of any wasted possession as they doubled their lead on 26 minutes.

Ashley Nadesan latched onto a through ball down the right flank, and his square ball was tucked away by Hope to round off a free-flowing Carlisle move.

On the half-hour mark, Jacob Mellis’ driving run could not be capitalised on as the midfielder’s eventual final pass was intercepted smartly by Anthony Gerrard.

And Flitcroft, seeking a way back into the clash, opted to make a change just minutes later.

Elsnik made way for Rose as the Stags’ lineup reverted back to the one that secured victory at Grimsby.

The hosts were then awarded a corner, which was well cleared by the head of Preston.

Down the other end, an advancing Hayden White looked to be found by Walker in-behind the Carlisle defence, but the execution was amiss.

Neal Bishop then found himself in the referee’s notebook just moments before half-time – before picking up a second yellow during the interval as the Stags returned for the second period with only ten men.

Into the second half, the visitors continued to press for a way back into proceedings.

Walker nipped inside from the right and drilled an effort marginally wide of Collin’s goal from a tight, tight angle.

The on-loan striker then almost profited from Rose’s teasing delivery, yet couldn’t stretch far enough to make the desired connection.

Carlisle were soon on the front foot themselves, with Mal Benning making a vital interception to alleviate pressure from the Stags’ defence.

Jamie Devitt struck a curling effort off target as the clock ticked towards the hour mark.

Macaulay Gillesphey was next to try his luck from range for Carlisle – also watching his respective effort fall wide of the mark.

Hamilton did find space on the left flank for a cross, but it was well defended by Gerrard inside his own penalty area.

The game had somewhat fallen flat before a flurry of late goals ensured there would be a nervy finish for the Cumbrians.

Much against the run of play, Mansfield found themselves with a glimmer of hope on 78 minutes.

Hamilton was upended centrally and the subsequent set-piece, taken by Benning, was expertly flicked home by Preston to halve the deficit.

However, the hosts soon regained their two-goal cushion in the 80th minute, courtesy of Hope.

The Carlisle striker beat Logan at the near post to net his second of the afternoon.

The Stags ‘keeper then faced Hope one-on-one again, but this time the former came out on top as he produced a stunning fingertip save to deny the Carlisle frontman his hat-trick.

And proceedings were left on a knife edge with three minutes of regular time remaining when Walker grabbed a goal for himself.

On 87 minutes, White dispossessed Collin and looped a ball into the middle that the Stags striker was able to bundle home from point-blank range.

Flitcroft’s side were afforded three minutes of added time to rescue a point but they could not do so as the hosts held out for the victory.

Despite falling short on Saturday afternoon, the Stags now have exactly a week to prepare for their next outing as they face Yeovil Town at One Call Stadium.

STAGS' XI: Logan (GK), White, Benning, Preston, Pearce ©, Bishop, Mellis, Sweeney (Atkinson 46’), Walker, Elsnik (Rose 33’), Hamilton.

SUBS NOT USED: Kean (GK), Khan, Butcher, Law, Graham.

CARLISLE XI: Collin (GK), Grainger ©, Liddle, Gerrard, Parkes, Hope (McCarron 85’), Devitt, Gillesphey, Sowerby, Etuhu, Nadesan.

SUBS NOT USED: Gray (GK), Miller, Kennedy, Jones, Bennett, Slater.

REFEREE: Robert Lewis.

ASSISTANTS: Barry Gordon & Bill Khatib.

FOURTH OFFICIAL: Sebastian Stockbridge.

ATTENDANCE: 4,563 (335 away)


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