Carlisle United sealed their third win in a row, with an excellent two-nil victory over Scunthorpe United. Jon Mellish’s quickfire second-half double and 15th goal of the season gave the Cumbrians another vital three points to keep the pressure on those in the play-off places.
Chris Beech continued with the starting line-up, which has seen Carlisle through this encouraging run of form. The improving Rod McDonald continued to partner Aaron Hayden in the centre of the defence, whilst Offrande Zanzala continued to lead the attack, despite an injury worry sustained at Southend United last Saturday.
Your team for tonight's game against @SUFCOfficial 👇
— Carlisle United FC (@officialcufc) April 6, 2021
Neil Cox made three changes from his team’s stalemate against Crawley Town last Friday. Mark Howard, Manny Onariase and Abo Eisa dropped out of the starting line-up, with Lewis Spence, Jordan Clarke and Rory Watson replacing them.
📋 TEAM NEWS:
Here’s the Iron’s side to face Carlisle United away in Sky Bet League Two tonight…
— Scunthorpe United FC (@SUFCOfficial) April 6, 2021
Carlisle made an exhilarating start, with the Scunthorpe backline coming under a colossal amount of pressure. However, United could not find an instant breakthrough, as Scunthorpe looked well-disciplined defensively.
The Cumbrians’ first opportunity came in the 10th minute, with Callum Guy’s corner to the back post finding Hayden. Carlisle’s athletic defender headed the ball across to Jack Armer, but he couldn’t react in time to get an effort on target.
On the 22nd minute, Omari Patrick’s pace and skill bamboozled Mason O’Malley before crossing into the danger area. This caused chaos between the Scunthorpe defenders allowing Zanzala to turn a shot past the post while on the floor.
Scunthorpe seemed to lack the drive to succeed but should’ve been ahead in the 35th minute. Precise interplay between Abo Eisa, who replaced Dervan Green early on, and O’Malley, who found himself in on goal, but Paul Farman palmed his low shot wide.
From the resulting corner, again Scunthorpe should’ve taken the lead. However, Jordan Clarke could only aim his free header straight at Farman.
Despite Carlisle’s early dominance, Scunthorpe’s late flourish seemed to have brought belief to a team looking bereft of ideas.
Half Time: Carlisle United Nil-Nil Scunthorpe United
The Cumbrians were eager to dispose of Scunthorpe early on in the second half before any doubts started to linger. A rampaging Jon Mellish disposed a Scunthorpe player in the midfield, and Zanzala got onto the loose ball but could only fire wide.
Mellish started to become the driving force of the United attack, and in the 49th minute led a dangerous counter-attack. He played a tidy one-two with Alessandra before pulling the ball back to Joe Riley, who had two efforts blocked by the robust Scunthorpe defender.
Carlisle’s pressure was relentless, and a short corner from Guy to Riley saw McDonald’s flicked header deflected wide.
In the 55th minute, Omari Patrick showed ridiculous pace to get past O’Malley. He played the ball back to Riley, whose deep cross could not be dispatched by Zanzala.
Set-pieces were causing a monumental problem for Scunthorpe. Another deep corner from Guy found Hayden, but he headed the ball into the ground and onto the roof of the net.
Rory Watson was the hero of the early season clash between the two sides, and this fixture looked to be no different, as he produced an astounding save to tip McDonald’s bullet header over the bar.
The Cumbrians finally took the lead in the 60th minute, with Mellish turning Callum Guy’s corner into the left-hand side of Watson’s goal. Carlisle’s unexpected talisman was back amongst the goals.
Mellish grabbed his second of the game in the 62nd minute. Guy’s corner was diverted by Hayden to Riley, whose shot was deflected wide.
The ball came back out to Guy, whose low cross was instinctively deflected in off the crossbar by Mellish.
More chances came for Carlisle in the 75th minute, as a one-two between Alessandra and Patrick saw the winger shot wildly over the bar.
There was one more opportunity for Mellish as he raced forwards, with options on either side. However, the former Gateshead man decided to shoot greedily, with the ball flying into the Warwick Road End.
Full Time: Carlisle United Two-Nil Scunthorpe United
See reaction from both sets of fans here:
Really professional job that. Had to absorb some pressure in the first half but always looked solid and fully deserved the win.
— Lewis (@lewisrids3) April 6, 2021
Great win, the dream is still alive. Good to see @JonMellish1 back on the goals trail
— Nigel Holmes (@NHolmesCatax) April 6, 2021
I think patience is truly wearing thin. In my humble opinion Cox isn’t the man for the job and was only given it out of sentiment and history. Change needed ASAP ! End of the season soon so it’s time to get rid and bring in someone with a bit of energy, experience and drive !
— StevieS (@StevieS40950788) April 7, 2021
How many times have we been absolutely terrible this season!! Unless there is a solid plan in place, this will just carry on into next season.
— Michael Marris (@ScunnyRazor) April 6, 2021