Crawley Town went into today’s game with a brilliant home record spanning back to last season but it was Carlisle United, who hadn’t lost away to the Red Devils since both teams faced each other in the Conference back in 2005, who triumphed. Goals from new signing Rhys Bennett before half time were added to in the second half by Josh Kayode and Aaron Hayden to cap off a great performance by the Cumbrians.
United started with great intensity as they pressed for an early opening and Gime Toure, back from suspension, was in full flow but the Blues struggled to create any real chances. The first real chance of the game fell to former United loan frontman Ashely Nadesan who got slipped through at the right-hand corner of the box but, the linesman’s flag went up as Paul Farman rushed out to block the striker’s shot.
Carlisle United’s first meaningful chance came on the 22nd minute when Nick Anderton’s cross was flicked on by a defender however Josh Kayode could only flick the ball at Morris in the Crawley goal. United went close again through Allesandra’s shot from just inside the box after good work from Kayode to lay him off however the former Morecambe man’s strike was sliced wide with power.
The breakthrough eventually came through central defender Bennett when he bundled in at the second attempt after mercurial Frenchman Toure drove across the edge of the box and shot low which Glenn Morris could only Parry. In came the onrushing Bennett whose first shot was stabbed straight at Morris from close range but he prodded the rebound home meaning Carlisle led at the break.
Crawley Town right-back Archie Davies came off for David Sesay at half time after a challenge with winger Toure in the first half which seemed to create a thigh problem for the former Brighton man. The second half started the same as the first with Carlisle looking to add to their lead and did so on the 55th minute through striker Josh Kayode.
Kayode, who scored on his first start for the Republic of Ireland under 21 team midweek, flicked a low George Tanner cross into the Red Devils net. Tanner showed excellent feet worthy of a higher level to break past the Crawley defender and sent in a scorching cross where Kayode was running in to steer the Blues into a 2-0 lead.
The Cumbrians did not rest on their laurels though and continued to press for a killer third, Kayode beat a defender on the right of the box and hammered a low cross into the six-yard box but, no one could connect in a blue shirt. Carlisle went very close again but was denied by a David Sesay header off the line after Hayden connected with his head from a Callum Guy corner and Joe Riley’s follow up landed on the roof of the net.
Ruthlessly, United made it three through the previously unlucky Aaron Hayden who capitalised from Allesandra low drive after a scramble in the box. Hayden stuck out a leg which saw the ball rolled past Morris to make the game seem secure for the Cumbrians.
In minutes David Sesay, who was called up to the Kenya squad in 2019, went from hero to zero for Crawley. First, he made a goal-saving tackle to deny fellow substitute Omari Partick from tapping in at the front right of the six-yard box. Then Patrick again drove through the heart of the Crawley defence with only the keeper to beat but was scythed down by Sesay and was rightfully sent off on the 80th minute.
There was no more action of note as the game finished off with the Cumbrians comfortably winning 3-0 and extending their unbeaten streak against Crawley to 14. A fantastic bounce-back performance for United who will face Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park on Tuesday night whereas Crawley go up against Grimsby Town at The People’s Pension Stadium.