A pair of goals from Jack Diamond and Rory McArdle’s first goal in a Town shirt were enough to see off Carlisle United by a 3-0 margin this afternoon at The Envirovent Stadium.
The opening forty-five minutes saw Town go 2-0 ahead through a pair of headed efforts, George Thomson the provider on both occasions, before Diamond capped a fine afternoon when he added the gloss in injury time.
The victory was Town’s third in succession over today’s opponents this season and signalled a first win on home soil since early February.
Town made one change to the side that to feel to defeat at Northampton on Easter Monday. Fit-again Alex Pattison returned to the starting line-up in place of Will Smith, a move that saw George Thomson start at right back.
Carlisle named the same starting side that won 1-0 at home to Mansfield last time out, but there was a place on the bench for Corey Whelan.
There was a statement of intent from Town in the opening minute as an important crunching tackle from McArdle thwarted a potential two-on-one breakaway.
Luke Armstrong was in the thick of things early on, heading just wide from a free-kick on ten minutes before then firing straight at Mark Howard from a narrow angle.
Town were combining well in attack at this point, the returning Pattison combining well with Jack Diamond to stretch the visitors defence.
And from such a breakaway Town got a deserved lead. Thomson’s chipped cross was met perfectly by Diamond who rose above the defence to direct his header over Howard.
The second goal, on 27 minutes, was almost identical. This time though a set piece delivery from Thomson met McArdle and he glanced the ball beyond Howard to double Town’s lead.
Town were relishing being on top after a difficult spell of late, first to the ball and displaying more energy than a
Carlisle side who struggled to respond after falling behind.
Daniel Devine then went into the book on 35 minutes four a late challenge on Pattison before Town could have all but killed the game off. Jack Muldoon poked a pass through the defence but the left foot of Howard denied Pattison’s goal bound effort.
Town began the second-half in similar mood, with a surging Pattison run freeing Armstrong and Town’s leading scorer went lose with his right-footed effort that Howard turned aside.
The visitors made an early change with Tyrese Omotoye introduced in place of Dynel Simeu within five minutes of the restart.
Brennan Dickenson then forced Joe Cracknell into his first meaningful save of the afternoon when his fierce strike was turned behind for a corner.
Morgan Feeney then went into the book for hauling back Diamond when the Town winger was advancing towards the Carlisle box.
Cracknell was again called up on after 56 minutes when Cracknell, off balance, reacted quickly to turn away Lewis Alessandra’s goalbound header.
A wonderful move from Town almost resulted in a third on the hour mark, Pattison’s run and shot was deflected but only into the path of Muldoon who, without steadying himself, cracked a first-time effort from the edge of the area that crashed back off the bar.
Josh Austerfield then went into the book for a foul on Alessandra, which was the last action the Carlisle forward was involved in as he was replaced by Kristian Dennis.
He was quickly joined by Nathan Sheron who went into referee Welch’s book for tripping Feeney.
Yet another quick Town counter saw the visitors defence backpeddling with Pattison again at the heart of the move. He slotted in Diamond, advancing long side him, but his low cross was turned behind with Simon Power ready to pounce at the far post.
Paul Simpson made his final change of the afternoon when Devine was replaced by Kelvin Mellor with just under 10 minutes remaining.
There was a return to The Envirovent Stadium for Aaron Martin on 84 minutes when he came on for Armstrong.
Cracknell then ensured the clean sheet with a smart save to deny Jordan Gibson in stoppage time before Town broke the length of the field with Diamond slotting home to make the final score 3-0.
TOWN: Cracknell, Thomson, Burrell, McArdle, Sheron, Power, Austerfield, Pattison, Diamond, Muldoon, Armstrong (Martin, 84)
Subs not used: Giles, Legge, O’Boyle, Beck, Ilesanmi.
Goals: Diamond (18, 90), McArdle (27)
Booked: Austerfield (65), Sheron (70)
Carlisle United: Howard, Armer, Devine (Mellor, 80), Simeu (Omotoye, 50), Riley, Alessandra (Dennis, 65), Dickenson, Mellish, Feeney, Gibson, Patrick.
Subs not used: Norman, McDonald, Whelan, Roberts.
Booked: Devine (35), Feeney (56)
Referee: Rebecca Welch.