MATCH REPORT | CARLISLE UNITED 0 CAMBRIDGE UNITED 3
A second half hat-trick from Medy Elito guided Cambridge United to a 0-3 victory over Carlisle United at Brunton Park in Sky Bet League Two.
Two penalties and an excellent side-footed finish in stoppage time saw Elito get his hands on the match ball as United moved to within four points of the League Two play-off places.
Brad Halliday made his return from injury for the U’s, as one of three changes which also included starting places for Max Clark and James Dunne.
United began the game brightly, showing good defensive discipline even during the absence of Leon Legge who was forced to temporarily leave the field with a blood injury on seven minutes.
Going forward Shaun Derry’s men carried a threat on the counter, with Maris and Berry both teasing the Carlisle target with mid-range efforts during the first 20 minutes. Clark came close too when he headed Piero Mingoia’s cross narrowly over the bar.
Despite long spells of possession from the Cumbrians before the break, United frustrated the hosts with well-organised defence which ensured Will Norris remained largely untested up to half time.
Shaun Derry introduced Elito after the break in place of Gerry McDonagh, a move which turned out to be a match winning substitution.
The former Newport County man was straight into the thick of the action, flashing a cross through the six yard box which Berry was unable to guide home.
However, when Berry was brought down the ground by Gary Liddle on 65 minutes, Elito marched on to the ball to smash in the opener from the penalty spot. That came just four minutes before he was asked to do so once more after Clark had been fouled by Nicky Adams inside the area, this time Elito lifting the ball into the top right corner.
With United now in full control of the game, the U’s showed great intelligence to stay resolute defensively and hit Carlisle on the counter attack with both Berry and Maris close to extending the lead further.
The hosts, frustrated by the U’s solidarity, were reduced to ten men when Mike Jones was forced to leave the field through injury after Keith Curle had implemented all of his changes from the bench, before James Bailey received a red card for a foul on Paul Lewis in the closing minutes.
United and Elito took full advantage of the extra bodies, when Mingoia teed up the hat trick as the former wrapped a shot on to the underside of the cross bar and in to complete a fine performance.
Carlisle United: Gillespie, Grainger, Jones, Adams, Ibehre (Waring, 62 mins), Brisley, Bailey, O’Sullivan, Lambe (Proctor, 75 mins), Miller (Miller, 62 mins), Liddle
Cambridge United: Norris, Halliday, Legge, Wharton, Taylor, Mingoia, Dunne, Clark (Lewis, 75 mins), Berry, Maris (Dunk, 90 mins), McDonagh (Elito, 45 mins)