Entertaining and high scoring clash at Brunton Park
Cambridge United draw 4-4 with Carlisle United at Brunton Park in a remarkable opening away fixture of the 2015/16 Sky Bet League Two campaign.
Two goals from Barry Corry and one from George Taft were enough to give the U’s a first half lead, but the Cumbrians fought hard and twice came back in the second half with Jabo Ibehre completing a hat-trick to cancel out Luke Berry’s fourth for United and complete a high scoring affair in Cumbria.
U’s boss Richard Money made five changes to the side that were narrowly beaten by Rotherham United earlier in the week, with Beasant, Donaldson, Dunk and Conor Newton all re-introduced to the starting line-up.
Striker Barry Corr was also back in action for United having scored a brace on his League debut for the club at the Abbey Stadium in the opening encounter of the season against Newport County.
A lively opening five minutes from the home side saw Jason Kennedy get the first opening of the match, but the central midfielder was unable to angle his headed attempt on target.
The U’s took notice of the warning and clinched possession of the ball. Following a good passing move in which Donaldson and Keane spread the ball well; the U’s found Harrison Dunk in space on the left flank, who delivered into the 18 yard box for Corr to score his third of the season and give the U’s the lead on 11 minutes.
Richard Money’s men refused to sit on their lead and continued to press Carlisle high up the pitch causing the Cumbrians real trouble and restricting them from leaving their own half.
On 20 minutes the pressure told, when an almighty scramble in the area had the U’s queuing up to finish before George Taft poked home the second to double the advantage.
Up until the final five minutes of the first half, United stayed resilient by chasing down every loose ball and pressing Carlisle as early as possible to maintain their two goal lead.
However, following a flurry of chances in which Sam Beasant made a great double save and the home side had rattled the post through Charlie Wyke, Jabo Ibehre pulled one back from close range.
The goal sparked a frantic end to the half, which first unfolded with Ibehre scoring a second to level the scores by heading a long ball into the box past Beasant, before Luke Joyce was caught in possession by Berry, who put Corr in for his second of the match to restore the lead at the break.
When the sides re-emerged for the second half it took just five minutes for Carlisle to equalise once more. Charlie Wyke picked up the ball on the edge of the U’s area turned and stroked a shot into the right corner of the goal to make it three apiece.
However the U’s dug in well and when Conor Newton broke up the middle of the field on 56 minutes, he was able to play Berry through one on one with the goal keeper, who gave United the lead once more.
The game settled down for a 20 minute period with both sides probing. Danny Carr was sent out on to the field by Richard Money on the hour mark, and he had a chance to score his first for the club when played in by Berry but he couldn’t find the target.
It was in fact the Cumbrians who would score next to level the scores once again, when a corner ball rebounding to Ibehre on the edge of the area, where he struck it into the bottom right of the goal to complete his hat trick on 76 minutes.
Heading into the closing stages, the game was finely poised with both teams looking to snatch the three points. A pair of corners gave the U’s their best chance of winning, but they were unable guide an effort on target, whilst they did well to reduce the sights on goal for Carlisle.
The game therefore finished as it had started, level, but with a staggering eight goals added to the score line.
Carlisle Utd: Gillespie, Miller, Grainger, Raynes, Brough, Thompson (McQueen, 75 mins), Hery (Balanta, 64 minutes), Kennedy, Joyce, Wyke, Ibehre
Cambridge Utd: Beasant, Omozusi, Roberts, Coulson, Taft, Newton (Carr, 60 mins), Berry, Keane, Dunk (Taylor, 86 mins), Corr, Donaldson (49 mins, L. Hughes)