Carlisle United edge past nine-man Cleator Moor to reach county cup semi-finals

·4-min read
A young Carlisle United side took on Cleator Moor Celtic at Inglenorth Park
A young Carlisle United side took on Cleator Moor Celtic at Inglenorth Park

Cleator Moor Celtic 1 Carlisle United 2 (AET): Carlisle United needed extra-time to get past Cleator Moor Celtic and reach the semi-finals of the Cumberland Cup.

Nic Bollado’s goal was the difference as a young Blues side finally got the edge against their depleted opponents at Inglenorth Park.

Cleator Moor had to play 70 minutes of normal time and then the 30-minute extra-time period a man down after Brad Tatton’s early red card.

Mason Hardy broke the deadlock for Mark Birch’s United under-18s in the 79th minute but Moor skipper Tom Mahone hit a dramatic injury-time leveller to force extra-time.

Striker Bollado then fired the decisive goal as holders Carlisle went through to the last four, with the home side receiving another red card to Jay Weatherill in the final seconds.

Martin Mahone’s North West Counties side set the early pace, with Ryan Hall seeing a shot blocked and Tom Ward and Callum Birdsall almost combining for a chance.

United broke well with Hardy seeing a volley saved low down by keeper Craig Rule, before the first half’s major flashpoint on 20 minutes.

It came when United counter-attacked and Hardy went through on goal, ignoring Bollado to his left. Tatton was penalised for the challenge that brought the Carlisle forward down – and the home side were furious when the defender was shown a straight red card.

Cleator Moor adjusted to going down to ten men by bringing on another defender, Jamie Glover, in place of Hall, and they continued pushing for an opener.

Carlisle keeper Gabe Breeze showed good reactions to save from Birdsall after Weatherill had cut in from the left, before another defensive block denied home frontman Birdsall.

United then forced good opportunities late in a half which saw several more bookings, hardy seeing a weak shot blocked, Charlie Watt firing straight at Rule, the keeper parrying a Watt free-kick and then Rule doing well to deny Bollado from a narrow angle.

After the break Cleator Moor had the better of things for a solid spell, Weatherill enjoying two early chances to open the scoring but headed the best of them wide.

Birdsall then went close with a shot on the turn across goal and, after the hour mark, Kieran Maguire twice tested Breeze. Substitute Glover then had a chance when meeting a free-kick behind the Blues’ defence, but headed off target.

United came back into things as the second half went on but struggled to create chances, Ryan Carr pulling a shot wide from a decent position as the game seemed set for extra-time.

But then Birch’s side struck when Watt chipped Bollado through on goal, Rule parried his shot and Hardy was quickest to react, and the forward made no mistake from close range.

Bollado missed another late opportunity for Carlisle – and the visitors were made to pay in the second minute of added time when home skipper Mahone rifled a left-footed effort past the dive of Breeze.

That forced extra-time, and United were first to go closest after eight minutes of the first spell when Bollado saw a shot come back off the left-hand post. Sub Romeo Park then shot just wide for the Blues.

At the other end, Josh Barnett had to be in the right place to clear a dangerous Cleator Moor cross, and then United went back in front shortly before half-time in extra-time.

It came when Watt got behind the home defence down the left and when he squared it, Bollado was in space on the edge of the box and drilled a firmly-hit shot past Rule.

Maguire was denied by Breeze as Cleator Moor applied pressure in search of another leveller, while Watt and Park failed to finish off a counter-attack that could have sealed things for United.

The hosts threw the tall figure of Glover up front late on in a bid to force a penalty shoot-out, and Mahone headed a good chance over the bar with five minutes to go.

Watt hit the post in the final moments and Weatherill was dismissed for dissent in the final seconds as United held on to go through.

Cleator Moor Celtic: Rule, Mahone, Smith, J Little, Tatton, Close (Charlton 105), Ward (D Little 85, Johnston 113), Maguire, Birdsall, Hall (Glover 20), Weatherill. Not used: Jackman.

Carlisle United: Breeze, Gordon (Hill 70), Barnett, Kilsby, Bell, Carr, Nugent (Taylor 65), Watt, Garvey, Hardy (Park 85), Bollado. Not used: Simons, Swinburn.

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