Carlisle United 3 Rushden & Diamonds 0

By Steven

There could be no complaints about this result. Diamonds were second best in every department as Carlisle maintained their impressive form with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Brunton Park.

Poor defending and some missed opportunities cost Diamonds and Carlisle dominated from start to finish in an impressive performance from Roddy Collins’ team

Diamonds boss Brian Talbot made a number of changes to his side from the team that started against York City on Saturday. In came club captain Ray Warburton in place of Paul Underwood.

Warburton was to partner Barry Hunter in the centre of defence while Ritchie Hanlon was recalled into the centre of midfield with Garry Butterworth also missing because of injury.

Duane Darby, who was passed fit to play despite taking a knock against York, started in attack and partnered Onandi Lowe and Diamonds went in search of their third win on the bounce.

Youngster John Dempster was named on the substitute bench, insurance just in case Warburton struggles throughout the game. On-loan striker Stuart Douglas and Scott Partridge were also named amongst the substitutes.

Richie Foran started for Carlisle United in attack and he partnered Ian Stevens with Carlisle boss Roddy Collins naming a very attacking line-up.

It was an empty Brunton Park on a cold Tuesday night as the Diamonds ran onto the field and Warburton was given the captains armband on his return to first-team action.

The game got underway at a slow pace but it was the home-side who were shading the opening moments having more of the possession and looking dangerous as they moved forward

It was like pinball in the opening five minutes with the ball all other the place and neither side had yet tested the goalkeepers.

A mistake in the Carlisle defence gave Paul Hall the chance to opening the scoring but his shoot took a deflection and the ball went over Peter Keen’s crossbar and off for a corner.

Carlisle were now seeing more of the ball and Turley’s goal was being put under pressure and Stuart Green fired a shot from the right wing which hit the outside of a post but Diamonds cleared their lines.

Carlisle were now pushing men forward as the Diamonds defence struggled to clear the danger. 

Despite all the danger from the home-side, Lowe saw a cross nearly poked home by Darby but the ball was just out of his reach.

After 15 minutes: Carlisle United 0 Diamonds 0

The game began to die down as the ball kept going out of play and the crowd at Brunton Park started to get frustrated with the sloppy play from both sides.

It was a poor 20 minutes and with Carlisle scoring six in their last home game against Leyton Orient, this was a disappointing opening from the Cumbrians.

But the game sprung into life on 22 minutes when Carlisle took the lead. Warburton tried to clear an in swinging cross but his week header only found Green who fired a magnificent effort into the left-hand corner of Turley’s goal.

It was a poor game up until that point but out of the two sides, Carlisle were looking the more dangerous and it was no surprise when they took the lead.

The fans soon got behind their side as Carlisle pushed forward and they won a free-kick in a dangerous position on 28 minutes but despite Green hitting a poor delivery the ball somehow found Foran who struck from close range.

After 30 minutes: Carlisle United 2 Diamonds 0

Brian made a substitution on 30 minutes when he took Gray off the field and replaced him with Andy Burgess.

Diamonds could not seem to keep possession of the ball as the visitors were really struggling to cope with the pace of Carlisle as they pushed men forward.

Foran had the ball in the net on 36 minutes but it was ruled out for offside and it was a massive let off for the Diamonds.

Diamonds had their best effort of the game on 38 minutes when Darby struck a low effort which Keen spilled but recovered well to deny Setchell from the rebound.

Diamonds won a number of corners shortly afterwards and Barry Hunter had a header cleared off the line as the visitors enjoyed a rare piece of good possession.

Lowe was involved in a clash of heads just before the interval but the Diamonds could have no complaints about the result as the referee blew the half-time whistle.

Half Time: Carlisle United 2 Diamonds 0

Carlisle made a tactical change at the interval as Steve Halliday was called into action, replacing Stevens.

Michael Jack had the first effort of the half when he found space outside the Diamonds penalty area but he saw his shot go inches wide of Turley’s right-hand post.

Diamonds needed to start the second-half brightly but they failed to do that as Carlisle started where they left off in the first-half, pushing men forward and putting the visitors defence under pressure.

There was worrying signs for the Diamonds on 52 minutes when Burgess received a heavy whack and had to be replaced by Douglas.

Burgess had to be taken off on a stretcher and is was a major blow for the Diamonds as the midfielder looked to be causing some problems down the left flank.

Carlisle were playing some excellent football and the Diamonds were really struggling. On 57 minutes Soley had time and space in the penalty area but his low effort was comfortably saved by Turley.

After 60 minutes: Carlisle United 2 Diamonds 0

Lowe had a towering header from a Setchell cross well saved by Keen but Diamonds were still second best as Carlisle continued to look impressive.

The game was over on 64 minutes as Diamonds conceded a third. It was more poor defending from the Diamonds as Foran headed Green’s cross into a dangerous position and Halliday tapped home from close range.

Lowe should have pulled a goal back on 67 minutes when Lowe had time in the box but he fired well wide of the target when it seemed easier to a least have tested the goalkeeper.

After 75 minutes: Carlisle United 3 Diamonds 0

Dempster was introduced into the action on 77 minutes but it was still Carlisle who looked dangerous as Foran had another effort that brushed the side netting.

Soley should have extended Carlisle’s lead on 80 minutes but Turley reduced the angle and his shot rebounded of the Diamonds goalkeeper’s shoulder.

Diamonds pushed forward but could not even muster any pressure on the Carlisle goalkeeper and their could be no complaints as the home side made easy work of this win.

Full-Time: Carlisle United 3 Diamonds 0 

Carlisle United: Keen, Birch, Whitehead, Soley, Stevens (Halliday h/t), Green, Murphy, Winstanley, Andrews, Jack (Allan 86), Foran.

Subs not used: Hopper, Rogers, Nicholson 

Bookings:

Diamonds: Turley, McElhatton, Warburton (Dempster 77), Darby, Setchell, Gray (Burgess 30, Douglas 53), Hall, Hanlon, Sambrook, Lowe, Hunter.

Subs not used: Pennock, Partridge

Bookings: Hanlon (45)

Referee: Mr Roy Pearson

Attendance: 2,864

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