A heartening performance on a cold day

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Dean Summerton

17 December 2019

Carlisle United 0 Grimsby Town 0

As a regular supporter, home and away, for over 15 years, only ever missing a handful of games, I feel qualified to judge our performances with realism and honesty. I’m known for my optimism though and as I travelled up the A66 for the fourth time in recent years, I looked forward to a positive result from a positive display. Which would be the better of two apperently poor sides?

First half: almost something to celebrate

We started with a vibrant fizz to our play. Attacks down our left side were the theme for the first 20 minutes as Town opened up a very poor Carlisle defence seemingly at will: their hesitancy and frailty testimony to a league position worse than ours. Perhaps they were surprised that we went at them, and tried to play fluid passing football.

Town had two great chances in a matter of minutes. First Harry Davis looped a header past their keeper. We celebrated wildly, our desperation for a goal making me oblivious as the linesman over the far side raised his flag. Cheers and groans them turned to despondency as Hanson’s header evaded the keeper but not the far post.

We were on top, we were attacking and we were creating chances. Town’s famed support were singing and making our presence known. At times there was anger and criticism, borne of passion and a desire to see us achieve. The players responded and gave us something to shout about. Town pressed on, encouraged by their start and their vociferous backing. Both teams had shots hit the bar but it never looked like they’d go in. Carlisle’s effort from Hope was their first real threat, and it would have been harsh on Town to see it go in.

Charles Vernam - just on for the injured James Hanson - had a glorious chance just before half time but he seemed to take the ball around the keeper and away from goal rather than across it. A heavy touch scuppered dreams of another celebration.

As half time approached, we agreed Carlisle were the poorest side we’d seen this season, and we wondered how we weren’t at least two up. But Carlisle started to push forward on the break and had half chances of their own.

The mood of the first half was captured by the fans chanting in the concourse at half time. The temperature by the people warming their hands under the toilet’s hot air blower, as we steadied ourselves for the second half.

Second half: young guns

Our attacks down the left meant we hadn't seen too much of Max Wright in the first half. But in the second he became ever more menacing, confident as ever to run at players, show his speed and tenacity, and lead us forward. He has a bit of devilment in him that will take him a long way, and he understands more than most what this club means to supporters who turn out on a cold day far from home.

Another young gun, Akheem Rose, came on to give us all out pace up top. A blistering bit of skill and pace on the halfway line saw him accelerate from his markers and speed down the pitch, as the boy racers blazed a trail for the rest to follow.

As the minutes ticked on, checks at the scoreboard timer growing more frequent, Carlisle began to throw bodies forward. Luckily we were resolute and passionate. as Waterfall and Hendrie's "discussion" will tell you.

So a draw it was, and I don't think too many there would complain. On a bitterly cold afternoon, 217 hardy Town fans had to accept that for, all our huffing and puffing, we couldn't blow the Carlisle door down today. Anthony Limbrick can surely do little more when chances were created but not taken. Like all clubs in this league, a "fox in the box" would have brought us goals at key times and more points and wins. But we are what we are, and effort and passion must not be doubted on this performance.

Luke Hendrie must get a mention for his James Milner-esque approach and a clean sheet marks another positive. Matt Green worked tirelessly - he perhaps does too much in a 4-3-3. Overall, I drove home pleased that the flickers of passion are still there.

Maybe at home to Scunny, we will come alive again. Let's be positive and have heart that things will improve.