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Carlisle United 2-1 Notts County

Joe Jones

Unlucky. Hard done by. Sucker punched. Just a couple of words to describe our game today against Carlisle. Having dominated the majority of the first half and taken the lead through Callum McGregor, the home side then equalised through a soft free kick by Matt Robson. The second half saw Carlisle take the lead through David Amoo, before shutting up shop - their keeper, Mark Gillespie, was incredible, and unfortunately those factors made all the difference. Chris Kiwomya picked an unchanged team from the good win agaist Tranmere, playing a 4-3-3 for Notts.

The starting 11 consisted of Bart, Sheehan, Leacock, Liddle, Dumbuya, Labadie, Fotheringham, Boucaud, McGregor, Haynes and Grealish.

Interestingly, Notts legend Mike Edwards was out for Carlisle, as was Troy Archibald-Henville and Lee Miller - three of their best players all out.

A quiet first ten minutes saw nothing more than a knock in the first minute for Carlisle defender Sean O'Hannell, free kicks for both sides and some good passing football from Notts.

On fifteen minutes, a great chance by Boucaud was smartly saved by Gillespie - that was after the same player accidentally played in David Amoo, but Bart was equal to it.

On 25 minutes, Carlisle's Mark Beck was guilty of missing a gilt-edged chance after a cock up from Bart, his clearance completely miscued.

Notts eventually took the lead 27 minutes in, after Boucaud played in Callum McGregor, who then unleashed a great long rage low shot.

Carlisle were clearly second best, and aside from a couple of half-chances, never quite threatened. However, they still managed to pull a goal back - a soft free kick was conceded by Joss Labadie, and the ensuing set-piece was drilled through the Notts wall by Robson and past Bart.

From then on, the rest of the half was swings and roundabouts, Carlisle having good possession and another chance by Amoo, but Notts finishing it strongly, with Dean Leacock rampaging into the home box and McGregor finding the side netting.

The second half began emphatically, with Amoo getting close to the Notts box, before a Haynes chance from a tight angle flashed across the goal, both of these in the first few minutes of the half.

Sheehan had a good chance from a set piece on 53 minutes, but it went straight to Gillespie. From the counter-attack, Carlisle surged forward, and James Berrett's chance was saved by Bart, but the rebound came to Amoo, who slotted the ball in from a tight angle. And from leading the game, Notts were now behind.

The away side tried to come back sharpish, Sheehan's tackle near the Notts box setting up a counter attack for a chance which was fired wide by McGregor on 57.

After a lull in terms of chances, the ball fell to Robson, who had all the time in the world to take a shot, but luckily it hit the side netting from long range. Just a minute later, Amoo and Symington combined to once again threaten the Notts box.

Undeterred, Sheehan and Boucaud lined up to take their chances on 72 and very nearly pulled level but for Gillespie's great saves. The ensuing corner by McGregor was saved by the keeper, having such a great day that he found himself receiving applause by the home crowd.

The next few minutes were also bedlam, McGregor trying another long-range shot before another one of Carlisle's good counter-attacks which was fended off by Notts, Beck trying his luck.

Just two minutes later, Haber was next to try his luck, but by this point, Gillespie was playing like a man possessed, his legs keeping Notts out once again.

Coming into the last ten minutes, and Notts found themselves a goal-line clearance away from equalising, Gillespie actually beaten at this point but Leon McSweeney at hand - or at foot? - to bail him out.

More exchanges took place in the last ten minutes from both sides plus injury time, including a great headed chance by the substitute Manny Smith and a foray into the Carlisle area by our Bart himself, but the immovable object of Gillespie just couldn't be moved, and 2-1 was the final score.

Notts were considerably hard done by today, having played so well, but those soft goals conceded, combined with Mark Gillespie's outstanding performance between the sticks, meant the points were Carlisle's, their third victory in a row. Notts are in 23rd, off the bottom solely on goals scored. The wooden spoon after today falls to... Sheffield United.

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Pride of Nottingham is an independent fansite devoted to Notts County, the world’s oldest professional football club. Created in 2013, it has served as a source of Magpie news, features, match previews, reports, analysis and interviews for more than three years.

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