Carlisle City 1 Redcar Athletic 2 – Ebac Northern League Division One:

For 45 minutes Redcar Athletic must have wondered what more they needed to do to score.  Chances galore and a series of goal line clearances by Carlisle.

Needless to say, it was City who opened the scoring.

The chances started early for the visitors, a cross by Brandon Holdsworth that was deflected and Kieron Olsen with the goal line stop.  A Redcar corner was only cleared as far as Holdsworth whose first time shot was taken low down to his right by City keeper Stephen Townsley who might well have seen the ball late through a sea of legs.

Long throw specialist Joe Thompson launched one into the City area, the ball took a deflection off a defender, forcing Townsley to tip it over his bar; minutes later the keeper parried a Danny Boyle volley away.  In the 37th minute a Paylor header was blocked by Townsley with the follow-up shot by Holdsworth cleared off the line, this time by Josh Simpson.  From the corner, Paylor met the ball with a glancing header that Arron Bradbury had to clear close to the post.

It wasn’t one-way traffic, City created their own openings, they were just less dramatic:  Jordan Palmer was tackled by Paylor just as the Carlisle winger was shaping up to shoot.  Then Callum Birdsall headed down a free kick but Thomas Mahone couldn’t get a clean contact on the ball.  There were a couple of other long range shots that didn’t trouble Jack Norton in the Redcar goal.

Against the run of play, City opened the scoring in the 41st minute:  Mahone slotting a ball through the Redcar defence, with Palmer running on to it, cutting it back across the goal and into the net.  Goal awarded despite appeals for offside by the visitors.

Having lived dangerously for much of the first half, City finally succumbed with five minutes on the watch after the re-start.  Another long throw by Thompson was flicked on to Craig Hutchinson who fired a volley past Townsley and in.

The second half developed into a much more even contest with attacks and counter attacks traded by the teams, but with fewer clear cut openings.

That all changed in the 64th minute when a ball in from the right was flicked on by Athletic No. 10 Sonni Coleman, allowing Holdsworth to volley it home to make it 1-2.

In the last 20 minutes City had only a couple of half chances:  a back pass was mis-hit by a defender, allowing Birdsall the chance to run on to the loose ball, but Norton beat him to it; and when a cross came in to the Redcar six yard area from the left, nether Birdsall nor Mahone could get a clean strike on the ball as it bounced around the goalmouth.

Overall, a solid rather than spectacular match.

Mike Snowdon