Carlisle Utd need to bounce back quickly after Notts County defeat
Last updated at 12:22, Monday, 15 October 2012
Carlisle United 0 Notts County 4: Speak to anyone around Carlisle United today and they’ll tell you that inconsistency is the gremlin they would most like to chase out of their system. Not so fast, though. They’re going to need it for one more game.
If all at Brunton Park crave a more reliable pattern of events, they had better not use this as their marker. At Bury tomorrow night there has to be another lurch right back along the scale.
Bad to good to bad to good to bad has become a familiar graph this season. Where Carlisle are concerned the performance chart jags violently up and down. It can do so for one match more before efforts are made to apply stability to the journey.
Two days before this game, Francois Zoko, who scored Notts County’s third goal, was dubbed Mr Consistently Inconsistent by Greg Abbott, his former boss. It is Abbott’s remaining charges who wear that label quite comfortably just now.
Zoko coming back to Brunton Park and scoring as he did would normally be the big story of a Cumbrian weekend, but on this one it was overtaken, emphatically, by Carlisle’s ineptitude, eight days after they had excelled in victory at Walsall.
Yet this was a backward stagger more concerning than any previous defeat this campaign. Just about the only place you can set your watch by the Blues at present is at home, and not in a good way: they have not scored for four matches down Warwick Road and have only one home league win from their first six.
Better stats pile up for Notts County, whose strength was plain even accounting for United’s wretchedness. A club record 13 games have now passed since Keith Curle’s team last boarded their team coach after a loss on enemy soil. Carlisle, themselves more productive in away games in 2012/13, have not been hammered so hard on their own turf since 2003, when Hull obliterated them 5-1.
That profound beating was presided over by Roddy Collins, which puts into context the extent of this latest savaging. Carlisle have travelled many miles since that desperate era but two days ago we were transported back to the bad times, when opponents attacked and scored at free will and the Blues were so sterile by comparison.
Notts, whose aggregate lead from their last three meetings with United is now 9-0, will enjoy few more productive trips. Abbott, the fourth manager since Collins, now has to return to the chalkboard and come up with a new idea for ending his team’s calamities in front of their own goal.
United’s plummeting goal difference – their openness to ambush – is now officially the biggest problem afflicting Abbott’s team. When he retains the same defensive unit, the goals keep going in. When he moves the bodies around, the same. So what next? “There will be changes on Tuesday, I can tell you that,” said the manager, though not saying in which position.
The grim truth of it is that no player will have reported for training this morning certain of his place. One of the maddening features of Carlisle currently is that when they lose, they do not always go down in flames. Quite often they stink the house out. Here they were 4-0 down by the 56th minute, at which point Notts did them the considerable favour of throttling back and settling for that scoreline. By then Zoko had come, scored, conquered and enjoyed the best imaginable return to an old haunt. The Ivorian’s love of playing at Brunton Park has not ended with the small matter of a transfer away from Carlisle. He began his day by bear-hugging Abbott, an hour before kick-off, and later left to more familiar applause from the Blues fans who had stayed back to clap him off.
To think that things had actually started evenly, offering a deceitful hint of a well-contested game at high pace. Carlisle enjoyed the first break, as Matty Robson picked up a Danny Livesey clearance and ran to the Notts box before shooting wide. County responded with an Alan Judge cross which Neal Bishop failed to convert, and a shot from Judge which Livesey repelled.
Back came Carlisle with a bewitching piece of Robson skill to beat Carl Regan, then a near miss from Joe Garner after a sharp turn. All was bright, but then the sky fell in. Judge, whose trickery proved too much for young Brad Potts here, cut purposefully infield in the 11th minute. His superb inswinging cross reached Jeff Hughes, who ran into space and headed home.
From this point on United were strangers to their early fluency. Often their play from back to front was too hasty, too obvious. Robson was one of few to show some decent drive but County had more purpose and power about their attacking, which came from several angles and left no part of Carlisle’s midfield or defence untested.
From one right-wing cross, Mark Gillespie fumbled and then frantically hooked the ball away, taking Hughes on to the turf as he did so. No penalty, said ref Stuart Attwell. More trickery from Judge then almost set up Bishop. Then Garner went in heavily on Judge – fairly, said Attwell, but the sliding challenge that would eventually end the Irishman’s afternoon.
Needless to say, his remaining 15 minutes were plenty enough to craft another goal. With a pass, Judge sent Jordan Stewart racing away from Kallum Higginbotham down Carlisle’s right side. His low cross was perfectly measured for Bishop to slide in and score.
United, who were slack at the start and end of both of these goals, could summon no such ideas themselves. Discord started spreading through the crowd as James Berrett passed back to Mike Edwards, instead of forwards to Robson. Further malfunctions soon came along in possession. One chance almost fell Garner’s way, but Bartosz Bialkowski came flying off his line to repel the header.
Judge then took his leave, to be replaced by Zoko, who soon showed his familiar sorcery to go past two players before the struggling Potts finally put in the tackle. Attwell, whose career has not exactly proceeded without error, then interrupted Notts’ merry flow by mistakenly booking Jemal Campbell-Ryce for Yoan Arquin’s foul on Chris Chantler.
The ref corrected this slip, after much finger-wagging down by the technical areas. Carlisle, for whom Danny Cadamarteri had his least effective day up front against the dominant Dean Leacock and Gary Liddle, could find so such corrections.
Liam Noble was a half-time replacement for Paul Thirlwell as Abbott searched for a spark. A couple of early surges saw Cadamarteri have a shot blocked and then put a cross out of Garner’s reach. But then the attempted comeback was halted, as Arquin glanced the ball on, Zoko motored away from Potts, and clipped his classy finish across Gillespie.
As he had promised there was no “screaming, dancing, running around” by way of celebration – just a muted stroll, with one arm raised. Most others in the Notts ranks were more openly jubilant and they were so again a minute later, as Campbell-Ryce drew a foul from Chantler and then dispatched the penalty.
The sight of County’s fourth was enough to send some home fans walking to the exits. A few in the Warwick Road End kept up defiant chants of “United, United”, but there was not even much gallows humour in Carlisle’s decline: just a quietish, grumpy acceptance of their obvious fate.
With Notts now slipping into a lower gear, the remaining half hour trickled by. Garner, whose customary hunt for free-kicks was not especially successful here, powered wide one header from a Higginbotham cross, and Ashley Eastham deflected clear a useful cross by the sub, Frank Simek. Later there were attempts from Noble and Berrett which did not trouble Bialkowski, who will probably remember Cumbria as so many visitors do: as a place for a nice, quiet holiday.
For an hour-and-a-half he could mainly stand back and enjoy the scenery. From a distressingly early stage, United’s fans would sooner have drawn the blinds.
MARK GILLESPIE -Hard to blame the keeper for Carlisle’s collapse. The faults lay further upfield, as Notts cut through the Blues too easily and gave Gillespie no chance with their finishing.
BRAD POTTS - A hard lesson for the youngster, first delivered by Judge, whose left-wing trickery was too much for Potts. Then Zoko came on to torment the teenager before Abbott sent on Simek.
CHRIS CHANTLER - Not the worst of Carlisle’s players, as he started fairly brightly before the team slumped, overall. Notts were more dangerous on the other wing, but Chantler did concede the penalty with a late tackle.
MIKE EDWARDS - Not a happy afternoon against his former club. Tried to dominate Arquin and co but Notts were often able to turn the centre-half and leave him chasing. Distribution was not often careful enough.
DANNY LIVESEY - This was not a vintage day for anyone in Carlisle’s defence. Livesey tried his best to repel as much danger as he could but couldn’t hold things together as the Blues buckled, and sometimes gave possession away too cheaply.
PAUL THIRLWELL - Sometimes calmed Carlisle down with some sensible passing but couldn’t really stamp his authority on the midfield, where County were superior. Unable to turn the tide once Notts got in front, and hooked at half-time.
JAMES BERRETT - Only on a couple of occasions did he threaten to test the visitors with runs from midfield. Otherwise came off second-best against Curle’s middle men and nor could he do any damage from set-pieces.
MATTY ROBSON - United’s main attacking weapon in the first half. Robson ran at the County defence and gets marks for doing so persistently and often. But end product wouldn’t come and he faded in second half.
KALLUM HIGGINBOTHAM - Saw not nearly enough of the ball to have any impact on the game. County’s strong defensive unit closed him down before he had the chance to threaten the visitors. One late cross for Garner a solitary bright moment.
DANNY CADAMARTERI - His least impressive game for a while, as defenders Leacock and Liddle defied all his attempts. Put his usual heart into the effort but Notts had the better of the veteran, who was subbed after an hour.
JOE GARNER - One near miss early on hinted at a confident afternoon but it didn’t pan out that way for Garner, who failed to win many battles against Curle’s centre-halves and got little change out of ref Attwell, either.
Subs: Liam Noble (for Thirlwell 46) – Showed some eagerness, at least; Frank Simek (for Potts 62) – Couple of positive runs; Mark Beck (for Cadamarteri 62) – No real impact. Not used: Adam Collin, Peter Murphy, Andy Welsh, Alessio Bugno.
Notts County: Bialkowski, Regan, Stewart, Leacock, Liddle, Bishop (Eastham 67), Boucaud, J Hughes, Judge (Zoko 35), Campbell-Ryce (Nangle 77), Arquin. Not used: Sheehan, Showunmi, Mahon, Spiess.
Goals: J Hughes 11, Bishop 27, Zoko 55, Campbell-Ryce 56 (pen)
Booked: Arquin, Regan, Campbell-Ryce.
Ref: Stuart Attwell
Crowd: 4,731 (265 Notts County fans)
First published at 11:32, Monday, 15 October 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
|NEWS & STAR ON:|
- Religious leaders claim Carlisle club's name offensive (72 comments)
- Damning report reveals distressing scenes at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary (65 comments)
- Crime panel raps 'inconsistent' Cumbria police commissioner (37 comments)
- Cumbrian beauty spot failing to pay its way (33 comments)
- Cumbrian MPs reveal their expenses bills (33 comments)