After their FA Vase exploits Carlisle City were back in Northern League action last night at Redcar Town.
A 1-1 draw was probably a fair result although City certainly dominated possession and had more shots. Away wins are proving hard to come by, now just one in six games, and this is slowing City’s progress up the league table.
As things stand this morning City are seventh in the table, 11 points behind the leaders Heaton Stannington with two games in hand.
City had to make three changes to the side from Saturday’s Vase win over Esh Winning, with Kirkup, Kelly and Irving all not making the trip. They were replaced by Olsen, Kerr and Jake Simpson, playing in a very unfamiliar centre-forward role.
With two Simpson cousins in the City side plus Ollie Simpson in the home goal, there were more of that family name than in an American comedy cartoon.
Town are newly promoted to the Northern League with two recent Vase victories over higher division opponents, and the playing surface was excellent. The meagre crowd, of 48, was no doubt affected by the alternative football on offer at the Riverside just up the road.
City keeper Murray was in action for the first time on six minutes and he did well to tip aside Williams’ shot for a corner. He was also needed to save an effort from Bennett from the corner.
Jake Simpson was unlucky in the 12th minute as he closed down the home keeper but the clearance rebounded out of play.
Bowman was caught out in the 15th minute and his foul on Williams was to prove costly as the free-kick from 20 yards brought the first goal. Webster calmly lifted his shot over the wall and into the corner of the net to put the hosts ahead.
Ruled out by the flag
Josh Simpson was off target in the 22nd minute and an away corner six minutes later was cleared to Atkinson who saw his fine shot parried by Simpson, with Palmer scoring from the rebound only to see the offside flag raised.
On 34 minutes Town came close to a second when Webster’s left-wing cross was headed just wide by Williams.
Simpson cousins combined in the 36th minute but Josh’s fine cross was met by a poor header that dropped wide. Jake Simpson then won a 37th-minute free-kick in a promising position but his weak effort was easily saved.
An excellent raking through ball from Atkinson saw Simpson scurrying out to clear for Town before Porritt fired over from 30 yards out.
Webster’s free-kick on 42 minutes was cleared before Holt’s goalbound effort was blocked by the posterior of a home defender.
The second period began with Jake Simpson’s 35-yarder comfortably saved by his name-sake before Palmer was flagged offside in a promising attack.
Murray had not had too much to do in the City goal but he was again alert on 52 minutes to push away Bennions’ shot, for a corner as play ebbed and flowed.
Palmer had a fine chance on 56 minutes which was saved by Simpson at the expense of a corner that was to bring City a penalty. Bowman was hauled to the floor inside the box.
Palmer stepped up to take the kick but his shot was saved by Simpson, diving to his right, only for the penalty-taker to fire in the rebound from ten yards.
Kerr had been quiet so far after his return from injury but a bright spell of play saw him go very close to putting City ahead on 59 minutes.
City might have hoped to seize the initiative and go on to win the game but this never really happened. A home corner on 68 minutes was cleared before Kerr saw another chance saved by Simpson.
Palmer fired a poor shot wide on 71 minutes and then a great run from Kerr won City another corner. This was cleared to Holt with his shot going not too far wide.
The first booking of the game went to Bowman after a foul in midfield and City’s only substitution of the game saw Studholme come on for Jake Simpson.
City were rather pegged back by Town in the latter stages, having to defend four successive corners at one point but held on.