Debutant, Jack Armer produced one of the passes of the season to set up Omari Patrick for the nights only goal as Carlisle United cruised past Mansfield Town. United were excellent throughout the night and held on to Patrick’s first-half opener to seal their fourth win on the bounce.
The Cumbrians were without their influential right-back, who suffered a broken collar-bone in their four-goal destruction of Stevenage last weekend. Mansfield were without the previously dangerous Nick Maynard who did not make the squad; rumours are circling of a possible rift with the manager, Nigel Clough.
Both sides started with intent, but it was the away side who came the closest through experienced captain Ollie Clarke. The midfielder picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box, drove across to the left and fired low past the right-hand post. Early warning signs for the Cumbrians.
However, it didn’t take United long to find their attacking mojo with Josh Kayode coming close. A lovely ball from playmaker Lewis Alessandra found Kayode in the box, but his shot was blocked by a Mansfield defender.
The unfortunate Joe Riley was next to go close. Another flighted ball from Alessandra sent the former Manchester United academy prospect through on goal and on the half volley he hit a low shot which looked destined for the bottom corner. Heroically, defender Ryan Sweeney flung himself to clear the ball off the line and out for a corner.
Next, George Lapslie hit an unorthodox volley from the right side of the Carlisle box which caused United Keeper, Paul Farman to tip over the bar. Although it may have been a cross, it certainly made the United stopper acrobatically dive to prevent an unusual goal.
Robust play from United’s midfield dynamo Callum Guy, saw him charge down a clearance in the Mansfield half. He continued with the ball and shot low which beat Marek Štech but unfortunately for the Cumbrians, slipped past the post.
On the 37th minute, United finally broke the stalemate through the lively Omari Patrick. Jack Armer, playing out of position at right-back, curled a simply stunning ball into the path of Patrick who cooley finished past Štech.
Armer being left-footed seemed to aid him as he cut inside on his left foot which enabled him to curve the ball into the United winger’s path. After a shaky start, this moment of pure quality allowed former Scotland under 19 in international Armer, to play with more confidence through the match.
The Cumbrians may have thought they should’ve had two before the break when Alessdanra produced a delightful back-heel to send talisman Jon Mellish down the left. The former Gateshead man, however, could only shoot into the side netting. United went into the break with a one-nil lead.
Mansfield started the second half much brighter and came close on the 48th minute. Benning played a precise pass over the Carlisle back-line which found Jamie Reid; the striker chose to layoff the incoming Lapslie whose shot was deflected wide for a corner.
Driving in from the left-flank goalscorer, Omari Patrick looked to open his body to curl a shot into the top corner. Unfortunately, the ball slammed into a Mansfield defender and deflected the ball away for a corner.
Strong hold-up play and a clever layoff from Alessandra sent Jon Mellish rampaging down the left. He slid a quality ball across the box which evaded Kayode but found Joe Riley who could only shoot straight into a Mansfield defender.
Captain Nick Anderton went galloping down the left-wing, who showed pace and power throughout the match, linked up with Gime Toure who managed to get the ball into the box. Joe Riley took on the shot, but it was too weak.
Mansfield created panic in added time after a direct ball into the Carlisle box was missed by Mellish and the ball drifted out for a corner. Thankfully for United fans, the inswinging corner was punched away by keeper by Paul Farman. Full-time score Carlisle United one Mansfield town nil.
Another impressive performance by the Cumbrians, which means they are now up to second in the table and only two points off the top. United go to the New Lawn on Saturday with the hope that they could be top of the tree during the Christmas period. Another disappointing result for Mansfield who are now without a win in three games. The prowess of Mansfield’s squad compared with recent results certainly shows that squad chemistry and passion is more important than the previous reputation.
Man of the Match: Joe Riley