U's held to goalless draw by Carlise United
Cambridge United were held to a goalless draw by nine man Carlisle United at the Abbey Stadium in Sky Bet League Two.
The major talking point of the game came when Hallam Hope received a straight red card midway through the first period for a dangerous challenge on Darnell Furlong. The U’s though were unable to capitalise on the extra man, before Mark Ellis too saw red in the dying embers of the fixture.
An unchanged U’s side began at a steady pace, controlling the early possession of the ball without creating too much in the way of goal bound attempts.
Despite a quiet start to the match, a lunging tackle by Hallam Hope, which caught Darnell Furlong high up the shin, gave referee Ben Toner no option but to send the winger off with 23 minutes played.
The best chance of the first period though fell the Cumbrian’s way, as Jack Stacey capitalised on a defensive mix up between Leon Legge and James Dunne to run free towards Will Norris’ goal, before cutting his left footed shot wide of the mark.
Half chances were presented to Ryan Ledson and Jimmy Spencer before the break, but the pair were both off target as United began to build pressure on the Cumbrians in order to take advantage of the extra man.
United did have the ball in the back of the net soon after, Ben Williamson poking home Leon Legge’s header from a corner delivery, however the offside flag was raised instantly to chalk off the goal.
Spencer came close on 42 minutes, when the striker curled an effort towards Mark Gillespie’s far post, only to see the effort drift fractionally wide and the sides went in at the break level.
The Cumbrians registered their first shot on target ten minutes fater half time, when Luke Joyce’s firm strike was palmed away by Norris.
Worryingly for the U’s, Leon Legge was forced from the field with a knee problem shortly on the hour mark and was replaced by Mark Roberts who slotted in beside Josh Coulson at the heart of United’s defence.
A powerful run by Spencer in which the former Notts County man jinked into a shooting position, led to the U’s clearest opportunity of the afternoon, but similarly to Stacey in the first half he cut his shot across the goal and wide.
A free kick 20 yards from goal gave Carlisle a fine opportunity to test Norris once more, but when Grainger’s strike hit the wall Norris initially punched away before a scramble in the area was eventually poked over the bar from two yards by Asamoah.
Substitute Robbie Simpson was immediately into the thick of the action when he replaced Jimmy Spencer on 76 minutes, Roberts heading a ball down for the striker who lashed a shot at goal from eight yards which was blocked by a covering Carlisle defender.
A late flurry of chances saw Luke Berry’s point blank header saved by Gillespie, before the Cumbrians’ keeper spilt the resulting corner with the loose ball booted off Simpson and away for a goal kick.
Carlisle were reduced to nine men with minutes left in the match, when Mark Ellis kicked the ball away after the referee’s whistle and received a second booking for time wasting. However it was too late for the U’s to take full advantage.
Cambridge United: Norris, Furlong, Legge (Roberts, 58 mins), Coulson, Clark, Berry, Dunne (Ismail, 64 mins), Ledson, Dunk, Williamson, Spencer (Simpson, 76 mins)
Carlisle United: Gillespie, Miller, Grainger, Joyce, Raynes (Asamoah), Kennedy, Wyke (Sweeney, 76 mins), Stacey (Gillesphey, 45 mins), Gilliead, Hope, Ellis
Attendance: 5,806 (403 away)
Vindis Man of the Match: Darnell Furlong