Adam Collin the hero as Carlisle Utd triumph in cup penalty shoot-out
Last updated at 12:10, Wednesday, 06 October 2010
Carlisle United 2 Port Vale 2 (United win 4-3 on penalties): Greg Abbott’s routine response to questions about last season’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final is to descend into dark comedy.
“I fell in love with the buffet beforehand, but not the game itself,” Carlisle’s manager recently quipped, referring to their Wembley collapse against Southampton in March.
The Blues’ 4-1 undressing under the arch six months ago was an unusually clinical outcome. On most other occasions when United head for battle in the lower-leagues’ cup, events are consumed by melodrama.
Last night was a classic case. What appeared to be an emphatic home defeat in the making was suddenly flipped over into a victory that put United’s fortitude on show, accompanied by the standard-issue theatrical finale. One game into a new JPT campaign, and they are at it again. “At one point I was going to bin my Wembley suit and be done with it,” said Abbott, again reaching for black humour to describe his emotions before his luck spun around twice against Port Vale in front of 2,273 die-hards.
Carlisle, who fought back from 2-0 down in normal time and then recovered from Craig Curran’s early miss in the shoot-out, are entitled to argue that they benefited from something other than good fortune in this second round tie. Certainly, Abbott’s triple-substitution on the hour mark was designed to shake his team out of their slumber, and it ultimately succeeded.
And we have watched Adam Collin at work often enough in the 12-yard roulette to know that United’s goalkeeper is engaging in something more than a game of chance. Three times in little more than a year the Cumbrian has propelled Carlisle in the Trophy with his glovework. In the matter of the shoot-out, Vale were defeated by skill, not the random outcome of a lottery.
What came to pass last night suggested that the virus which compels United to hurl themselves at this unglamorous competition has been passed on to yet another set of blue-shirted combatants. Micky Adams’ visitors had been worth every scrap of the 2-0 lead they carried until the 76th minute, before Carlisle, the five-time finalists, summoned a high-octane response to take the tie.
Injured pride and Abbott’s tactical shift after two-thirds of the game were factors in that comeback. At gut level, though, was the fear that the national stadium was dropping off the agenda at a premature point in the campaign. “We want to get there again,” said Collin, who is starting to measure out his career in shoot-out heroics after earlier feats against Morecambe and Leeds.
The historical quirk that says Port Vale have now torched two-goal Brunton Park leads on their last three visits didn’t look like hitting the page for so long last night. Against a Carlisle line-up whose strength on paper revealed Abbott’s determination to make another spring pageant to the capital, the League Two leaders appeared more purposeful, more assured.
An uninspiring opening spell, enlivened only by a couple of Ben Marshall efforts, was jolted when Vale came within a millimetre of scoring. Pressing down the left, Kris Taylor curled a cross into Carlisle territory, and when it was retrieved by Jemal Johnson, the loan winger jinked infield and hit the inside of the post with a 20-yard missile.
Dramatic tension was otherwise hard to find. A doughty pocket of fans in the Paddock (on the only side of the ground to be occupied by home fans) remained in admirable voice all evening, but their team were offering little. Gary Madine directed an Oliver Norwood cross wide, James Berrett took unsuccessful aim from distance and Chris Martin twice denied Marshall with saves, but there was something in the line-leading strength of Marc Richards that told you the guests remained live contenders themselves.
Their opening goal duly arose from some persistent pressure. First, Adam Yates beat Berrett to a determined header. The impressive midfielder Louis Dodds then threw a cross into the area, and saw the ball calamitously diverted past Collin by the leaping Norwood.
Peter Murphy, who personified United’s Wembley nightmare, immediately set about correcting this latest misfortune, curling a free-kick towards the top corner and drawing an acrobatic save from Martin on the brink of the break. Otherwise, though, Carlisle were sterile in enemy territory, their midfield ‘diamond’ incapable of working serviceable opportunities for Madine and Craig Curran.
The second period opened with a bunch of misplaced passes which increased the home supporters’ anxiety. Abbott duly reached for his toolkit and introduced Matty Robson, Jason Price and Kevan Hurst from the bench, and then watched Vale double their lead: a fine left-wing cross from Robert Taylor, a convincing leap from Richards (a summer target for the Blues) and a firm header which Collin couldn’t keep out.
Further indignity almost arrived with another Richards header which dribbled a couple of inches wide. At this point, the tie was aching to be killed. Then Carlisle rose. Robson, scampering down the left, was fouled by Johnson, allowing Berrett to send a free-kick deep into the Vale box which Chester met with a superb scoring header. United’s first goal in four home games was swiftly followed by another five minutes later, as Price, whose every previous touch had been coated in clumsiness, sneaked onto a Hurst cross and buried his first goal of the season from six yards.
The Blues, now buoyant, proceeded to fashion more plausible opportunities in the final nine minutes than they had mustered in the previous 81. Price, on the turn, drew a save from Martin. Chester then met Berrett’s corner with a header that dropped narrowly wide.
The Manchester United defender then failed by a fraction to meet another Berrett delivery. Price, whose presence tends to ensure matters don’t pass quietly, then charged down a Martin clearance with his head, before the visiting keeper plunged thrillingly to his left in injury-time to turn away a Curran drive.
When the same outcome arose from United’s first penalty, Vale were able to glimpse glory again. Cue Collin, who saved firmly from Tommy Fraser and then superbly from Dodds, in quite the same manner as his thwarting of Leeds in February’s fizzing northern final second leg.
Unlike that heady night, the Warwick Road didn’t foam over at the point of victory (delivered by Frank Simek’s cleanly-taken effort, after successful conversions from Hurst, Berrett and Robson). United’s pitch remained uninvaded and Ken Bates will be pleased to learn that no laser pens were used in the manufacturing of this win.
But the Cumbrian liking for ‘Paint Pot’ turbulence was abroad once again, beyond any doubt. “I was bloomin’ determined to win the game,” said Abbott, reflecting on the triple change that helped his team do precisely that. It was, you had to conclude, the voice of addiction.
ADAM COLLIN - United’s penalty king. May have done better with Vale’s second goal, but spot-kick heroics won the tie.
FRANK SIMEK - Captain stood tall in an otherwise ordinary team performance. Deserved to take clinching pen.
SEAN MCDAID - Tried to put some urgency into Carlisle’s play, didn’t do much wrong defensively.
PETER MURPHY - Outjumped by Richards for Vale’s second goal, Murphy was otherwise steady enough.
JAMES CHESTER - Not at his most secure at the back, but triggered comeback with well-taken goal.
OLIVER NORWOOD - United could have profited more from his passing range but youngster was sacrificed on the hour.
TOM TAIWO - Industrious as usual but passing was often below-par as Vale made better use of the ball.
JAMES BERRETT - Remained competitive as United struggled, and played a decent part in the comeback.
BEN MARSHALL - Some early bursts contained promise, but little end product from the young Stoke loanee.
CRAIG CURRAN - Busy frontman almost won it at the death, and will be thankful to team-mates for bailing him out in shoot-out.
GARY MADINE - A couple of half-chances aside, it was a quiet evening for the big striker.
Subs: Matty Robson (for Marshall 58) – Lively contribution; Jason Price (for Madine 58) – Sniffer’s goal; Kevan Hurst (for Norwood 58) – Influential effort. Not used: Tony Caig, Tony Kane
Goals: Chester 76, Price 81
Port Vale: Martin, Yates, R Taylor, Sutton, Collins, Loft (Roberts 90), Dodds, K Taylor, Johnson (J Richards 79), Rigg (Fraser 90), M Richards. Not used: Tomlinson, Davis.
Goals: Norwood (og) 42, M Richards 64
Penalties: VALE M Richards scored - 0-1; UNITED Curran saved - 0-1; VALE Roberts scored - 0-2; CARLISLE Hurst scored - 1-2; VALE J Richards scored - 1-3; CARLISLE Berrett scored - 2-3; VALE Fraser saved - 2-3; CARLISLE Robson scored - 3-3; VALE Dodds saved - 3-3; CARLISLE Simek scored - 4-3
Ref: David Foster (Tyne & Wear)
First published at 11:34, Wednesday, 06 October 2010
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
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