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Carlisle Utd new boy James Tavernier steals show against Bournemouth

Carlisle United 2 Bournemouth 1: James Tavernier might not be a moth to attention’s flame in quite the same way as his training ground mentor at Newcastle – Joey Barton – but if Carlisle United’s newest crowd favourite does not enjoy the experience of a few thousand eyes gazing down on him then he is giving a highly misleading impression.

James Tavernier photo
James Tavernier

Man-of-the-match on his home debut, the right-back managed to be the last blue-shirted player to walk towards the tunnel at the close of business, guaranteeing himself a big, full-throated send-off from the lingering fans in the Main Stand and the Paddock.

Whether or not the 19-year-old had planned to be the final member of the Blues team to make his exit on Saturday, the ovation was merited and then some. It is not a reckless gamble to predict that it will be heard again before his month’s loan is up.

For a period in this exhausting League One contest it was tempting to suggest that Tavernier should book in for a week of crossing practice in order to stitch the final attribute onto an otherwise well-developed game.

Then came the 77th minute, when the teenager showed a superb sleight of foot to evade the Bournemouth defender Warren Cummings and then send easily his best delivery of the day to the far post which Craig Curran finished, via the Cherries full-back Nathan Byrne.

Searching for flaws in the young man’s game duly became degree-level difficult after viewing his part in United’s winning goal.

A simpler duty was to enjoy the freshness of his contribution to a Carlisle side who have now grafted their way to four unbeaten games and seven league points since the opening-day defeat to Notts County, which remains the sole blemish on their start to the campaign.

 “It was a great ball in from the ordinary Tavernier,” said Abbott, failing miserably to keep a straight face, “and Craig did well to get on the end of it. It was a tricky angle and he will miss easier ones than that. He does, in fact. Regularly.”

Such has been his difficulty in sourcing new goalscoring blood this summer, Abbott could have done with Curran being credited with United’s decisive strike.

One way or another the Scouser, restored to Saturday’s starting line-up, did his bit to get three more points in the can, which meant the Blues’ manager felt comfortable in taking a lighthearted poke at his number 15’s shortcomings.

Back, though, to Tavernier: now the subject of a reverse propaganda campaign from Abbott, who has suffered in the past from loanees playing their way to bigger things (James Chester, Ben Marshall) and would dearly love to keep his latest hired talent for longer.

Asked to comment on the Bradford-born defender’s performance, which was full of confidence and bite, Abbott managed to say, with false restraint: “Well, he’s learning his trade nicely,” before collapsing into giggles.

Retaining Tavernier beyond his first month with Carlisle – now an obvious priority – would serve the dual purpose of keeping an able young defender on the premises and reducing the need to hurry Frank Simek back into action before the USA international is fully healed and match-ready, following his hip injury.

Tavernier gallops on, and the Blues progress steadily. This game was won with a dash of opportunist finishing and plenty of persistence against a visiting team who had the latter quality, but not the former. Deprived of their most able striker, Danny Ings – now a £1 million signing at Burnley – Lee Bradbury’s men did their best to obstruct Carlisle’s path to victory but did not have the penalty-box wiles to match the midfield craft of Harry Arter, the former Blues loanee who was easily their best player here.

 Victims of last season’s success – a bunch of their prized performers galloped for the exit in the summer, while mid-table United kept their squad intact – Bournemouth journeyed to Cumbria to try and manage a transition but appear a more fragile unit than last year’s play-off thrusters. A more rounded finisher than Ryan Doble, for instance, would have devoured the 28th-minute sitter that the young Southampton loanee couldn’t force over the line.

Some of last season’s energy remains, but it was Carlisle who began the brighter here. Attempting to work passing patterns in the Cherries’ half, they almost took an early goal when James Berrett was scythed by Mathieu Baudry, advantage was played and Francois Zoko thudded a deflected shot against the post.

Bradbury’s side tested United with some athletic counter-attacks, often involving the accomplished Liam Feeney down the right, and opportunities appeared at both ends as the game opened up. Jon-Paul McGovern engaged Darryl Flahavan with a free-kick and then whipped a left-footer just wide from 25 yards, before Tavernier raced across to clear a Lyle Taylor cross when the forward eluded Peter Murphy.

Murphy then defied Doble on the line after Malone’s knock-back. Downfield, Tom Taiwo dummied a Tavernier pass and Curran dispatched a shot that Flahavan tipped away. Then – ping – the puck was racing back towards Carlisle’s end, as Feeney chipped intelligently and the ponytailed midfielder Mark Molesley dashed between defence and goalkeeper, rolled the ball past the stranded Adam Collin but saw the effort come back off the upright.

 This kind of raid highlighted a couple of gaps at the rear that Abbott sought to close. At half-time, though, his main alteration was made up front, as he sent on Rory Loy to replace Zoko, who had been keen in his pursuit of creative opportunities but not delivering a great deal.

Three minutes in, and Loy was felled by Molesely down the left. Berrett bent over a deep free-kick, which cleared the defensive line and was scented by Murphy, whose volley trickled past Flahavan and was bashed in on the line by Taiwo, who had ran like Usain Bolt to claim his first goal of the season.

United’s sudden advantage made their pursuit of the points no less complicated. Nor did Jock Waugh, the referee, whose enigmatic decision-making had both technical areas in ferment. On the pitch, Bournemouth came back with a Taylor run and shot which Collin repelled, Carlisle answered with a brace of shots from Loy and McGovern, then the ex-Swindon man was harshly judged to have fouled Cherries sub Steve Lovell in the box, Arter dispatching the controversial penalty.

Now Andy Welsh was summoned to join the hunt for a winner, as Carlisle sought to stretch their visitors and create spaces to exploit. With Taiwo’s relentless energy driving them, the Blues bustled their way back into Bournemouth’s half, Tavernier bashing a shot into Cummings’ face and Curran just failing to slide onto a Robson cross after a sweet counter-attack, before the winning goal finally came.

Tavernier, whose strength and willing were by now endearing him to the crowd, was its catalyst, running determinedly at Cummings and outfoxing the left-back, before crossing for Curran, who battered the ball across goal and into the net off the retreating Byrne.

Bournemouth chased another leveller, but a further Lovell tumble under a Murphy challenge earned the striker a booking, and there wasn’t much Steve Fletcher could do to alter the result after the 39-year-old assistant manager had trotted on for his 600th league appearance for the Cherries. Curran, McGovern and Loy might have added to Carlisle’s total before time was up and Tavernier could accept his acclaim.

“I’ve got to make sure [Newcastle assistant manager] John Carver doesn’t get a DVD of the game, because they might want James back,” said Abbott of his latest borrowed star. He smiled again here, but don’t assume he was joking.

ADAM COLLIN – Saved United with a fine stop from Taylor and didn’t do much wrong in his other duties.

JAMES TAVERNIER – An outstanding home debut, the loanee’s drive and quality made him a new terrace favourite.

MATTY ROBSON – Showed plenty of appetite in defence and linked up well with Welsh as Carlisle chased a winner.

LUBO MICHALIK – Will face more challenging strikers this season but the Slovakian had a steady afternoon.

PETER MURPHY – Lost the pacy Taylor a couple of times but got United out of scrapes on other occasions.

PAUL THIRLWELL – Skipper got in the way of some Bournemouth attacks but was sacrificed later for Welsh.

TOM TAIWO – His energy and competitive spirit frequently drove Carlisle on and can be forgiven for snaffling first goal from Murphy.

JAMES BERRETT – Set-piece led to opener on an otherwise workmanlike afternoon from the midfielder.

JON-PAUL MCGOVERN – Tested Cherries with a couple of shots, struggled to make things happen early on but was a threat in closing stages.

FRANCOIS ZOKO – Looked keen and tried to make things happen but end product wasn’t there, and subbed at the break.

CRAIG CURRAN – Competed well and drew superb save from Flahavan before he forced Carlisle’s winner.

Subs: Rory Loy (for Zoko 46) – Busy running but couldn’t open account; Andy Welsh (for Thirlwell 68) – Pace got Blues back on front foot. Not used: Mark Gillespie, Stephen O’Halloran, Liam Noble

Goals: Taiwo 48, Byrne (og) 77

Booked: Taiwo

Bournemouth: Flahavan, Byrne, Cummings, Cooper, Baudry, Arter, Molesley, Malone, Feeney, Taylor (Fletcher 84), Doble. Subs: Jalal, Lovell, Purches, Nelson.

Goals: Arter 60pen

Booked: Arter, Lovell

Ref: Jock Waugh (South Yorkshire)

Crowd: 4,422 (128 away fans)

Have your say

Carlisle United had an out and out striker! They Sold Him last year! Mr Madine - Your the cause of your own downfall Carlisle. Relegation Looms!

Posted by Mr Boho on 23 August 2011 at 12:30

Look let's get real everyone, we will not find an out and out goalscorer at this level within our budget, we MUST be realistic.

I was at the game on Saturday and it looked as though all we were missing up front was a bit of height and strength, Lee Miller would give us that and allow Zoko, Curran and Loy to flourish more, they are all players that need to play off a big front man.

I too have a good feeling about this one, get the deal done Greg!

Up the blues!!!!!

Posted by Nathan on 23 August 2011 at 09:38

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