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Match Reports

Town 1 - 0 Carlisle United - Early Armstrong strike sees Town progress

4 January 2022

Match Reports

Town 1 - 0 Carlisle United - Early Armstrong strike sees Town progress

4 January 2022

An early strike from Luke Armstrong was enough to book Town's place in the quarter-finals of the Papa John's Trophy with a 1-0 win over Carlisle United.

Town had other opportunities over the course of the ninety minutes and their defence held firm to ensue Simon Weaver's 600th game in charge of the club ended in success.

Town welcomed Rory McArdle back to the starting line-up after his lengthy spell on the sidelines as well as handing debuts to on-loan pair Brahima Diarra and Josh Austerfield, who joined the club from Huddersfield until the end of the season.

There were also places on the bench for fit-again Will Smith and Mark Beck, who returned from a loan spell at
York City.

The visitors meanwhile were unchanged from the side that won 1-0 at Scunthorpe on New Years Day, a result that saw them pull clear of immediate relegation danger.

Despite not having played for two weeks due to a number of postponements Town were immediately in the game. A quick free-kick released Lewis Page with his cross met by Armstrong but his effort was narrowly wide.

Armstrong was on the mark though after six minutes when the striker profited from a poor goal kick to poke home over Mark Howard.

It had been an energetic start from Town, with new-signing Diarra looking particularly lively.

Carlisle though almost immediately responded when Morgan Feeney crashed a header against the crossbar and five minutes later Rod McDonald struck an effort straight at Mark Oxley.

The recalled Jack Muldoon had a pair of chances on the half-hour mark when he first hit straight at Howard before hitting an effort into the side netting after being played in behind the visitors defence by Diarra.

Diarra was again in the thick of the action when he found himself in the book for a show of dissent, with Brennan Dickenson following shortly after as a result of a heavy challenge.

Shortly before the break McArdle was caught in possession to gift Carlisle a golden opportunity to get back on level terms. Some stout collective defending from the Town side though ensured that the potential danger was cleared.

Down at the break the visitors brought on Joe Riley in place of Sam Fishburm.

A Dickenson run and shot at the start of the half warmed the hands of Oxley on a bitterly cold night in Nork Yorkshire.

A typical pacy Jack Diamond run left a pair of defenders in his wake but his well-hit effort from the edge of the area fizzed a matter of inches over the top of the bar.

With just a one-goal deficit Carlisle were still well in the game and looked to attack Town out wide. The defence though was holding firm and restricting the visitors to half-chances that Oxley was able to comfortably deal with.

Muldoon was felled after taking a blow in the face from a ferocious Jordan Gibson strike but recovered quickly enough to get to the other end to force Howard into a fine save from his left-footed volley.

On 70 minutes Oxley produced one of the moments of the match when he acrobatically tipped a wonderful effort from Dickenson past his right-hand post.

After failing to win a free-kick of his own Diamond retaliated by pulling back his opponent to earn himself a yellow card.

Lloyd Kerry was then introduced in place of Austerfield who had enjoyed a solid outing on his Town debut.

With the visitors sensing time was running away from them their play became more direct and Oxley was forced off his line to smother Jon Mellish's effort after he met a long ball over the Town defence.

With ten minutes remaining on the clock Simon Weaver brought on Beck for Diarra, whilst Keith Millen made a quartet of changes for Carlisle, with Manasse Mampala, Tristan Abrahams and Joel Senior replacing Mellish, Kelvin Mellor and Callum Guy.

The changes in truth killed the momentum of the game and Town were able to easily see out the final minutes.
The win sees Weaver's side in the draw for the last eight which will be made this Thursday.

TOWN: Oxley, Sheron, Page, McArdle, Hall, Falkingham, Diarra (Beck, 81), Austerfield (Kerry, 74) Diamond, Armstrong, Muldoon. 

Subs not used: Cracknell, Smith.

Goals: Armstrong (6)

Booked: Diarra (31), Diamond (74)

Carlisle United: Howard, Mellor (Mampala, 81), Armer, McDonald, Guy (Senior, 81), Dickenson (Charters, 86), Mellish (Abrahams, 81), Feeney, Whelan, Fishburn (Riley, 45), Gibson.

Subs not used:  Norman, Devine.

Booked: Dickenson (33).

Referee: David Rock.

Attendance: 928 (142 away)

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