Carlisle City maintained their 100 per cent home record in Northern League Division Two with a 1-0 win over Tow Law.
City made just the one change as Aaran Bradbury came in for Jordan Palmer, who dropped to the bench, where he was joined by Sam Atkinson, recovered from a back injury.
Tow Law had a problem in the warm-up, as Chris Renshaw was injured, and Joel Pearson stepped up to start the game.
The game began in lively fashion with a dangerous away free-kick deflected into Townsley’s hands, and then City responded with a shot from Bradbury, saved by Graham.
A fine run up the flank by Kerr won City their first corner, which Graham punched away. The end-to-end start continued as Knowles fired wide in the fifth minute.
Brown proved to be the visitors’ main threat all evening and his eighth-minute run was strong and took some stopping by the City defenders.
The first quarter-hour passed without further incident but City were looking assured and confident in possession, as they probed for openings.
In the 20th minute, Bradbury won a corner on the right, and this was to lead to the only goal of the game. Taking the kick himself, Bradbury’s cross was cleared back to him, and as he advanced into the box, he was fouled by Oldfield.
The spot-kick was duly awarded, and Bradbury’s shot beat Graham to his right, although only just with the keeper getting a hand to it.
A free-kick from Knowles was blocked and a 26th-minute foul by Kirkup on Brown gave Tow Law another opportunity, but Knowles blazed this one too high.
City pressed again and Brannan’s cross was headed wide by Holt, and a 31st-minute home corner was cleared, before Seggie’s free-kick was pushed away by Graham. Brown won a free-kick for Tow Law, and then latched onto the cross but his header was comfortable for Townsley.
Tow Law enjoy more possession
Bowman was on hand to clear a visiting corner on 38 minutes as Tow Law increasingly gained more of the ball, and used it well. The last action of the half was in the City box, but a foul by McKinnon on Kirkup eased the pressure.
The second period began with two quick home corners that were both cleared. A 47th-minute run from Bradbury was followed by a low shot just wide.
Another City corner on 52 minutes was cleared before Kerr went down in some pain on the left touchline and had to be replaced by Palmer. A Tow Law corner on 61 minutes brought no reward, and great battling from Irving saw him win the ball and his cross almost reached Bradbury.
A foul on Bradbury in the 65th minute brought a free-kick in a good area but City could not capitalise, and Atkinson was City’s second replacement.
City were conceding a lot of free-kicks as Tow Law struggled to break down the home defence, but the away delivery was never quite accurate enough.
In the 71st-minute, an excellent cross-field ball from Olsen could have brought a second goal, but Palmer’s shot was saved by Graham. Another fine run from Brown did trouble City but his 72nd-minute shot was way too high, and then Hurworth was also off target.
In the 75th-minute, Bradbury’s shot was blocked, before Atkinson was booked for a foul. Also cautioned in the game were Palmer and Holt.
The last change for City saw Studholme come on, and a fine Bradbury strike on 81 minutes brought an equally good save from Graham, with Kirkup wide from the resulting corner.
A Tow Law corner after 83 minutes was headed just wide by Milner before Studholme’s ambitious attempt from 30 yards was off target.
City managed the game very well towards the end and their cause was aided by a sin-binning for Milner, who appeared to throw the ball in the direction of the referee.
It was a tight, well-contested game and City held their shape well to earn their first clean sheet of the season.