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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Gary Madine and Francois Zoko ease Carlisle Utd into FA Cup second round

Carlisle United 6 Tipton Town 0: It goes against the normal way of things to praise a Football League Goliath for squeezing a team of amateur Davids in their fist, but in the clamour to salute Tipton Town as they valiantly depart the FA Cup it’s important to acknowledge what Carlisle United brought to this lopsided first round duel.

Carlisle Utd photo
Francois Zoko and Gary Madine

The defining moment of Saturday’s 6-0 walloping wasn’t any of the half-dozen goals Carlisle shoved into Tipton’s net – one for every division separating the rival teams.

Nor was it necessarily any of the second-half occasions when the part-time aspirants ventured boldly into Cumbrian territory. It came, in fact, in the 34th minute, when Gary Madine surrendered possession and then retrieved it with the tearing hunger that defined United’s approach to their weekend business.

United were 4-0 up when their leading scorer made a hash of a pass near the Tipton penalty area. As one of the non-leaguers tried to make a break upfield, Madine surged after his foe as though he was chasing a winning lottery ticket that was drifting away in the wind.

With a sliding tackle by the touchline, the 20-year-old repaired his earlier mistake and duly informed the visitors that they would have to look elsewhere for their compassion.

Frankly, the FA Cup is too important to Carlisle for the Blues to be writing sympathy cards to small fry who find themselves four goals down after 19 minutes. United’s first-half performance was a mini-classic of passion-killing.

By the interval they had dispatched the ball five times past Matt Sargeant, the IT technician who doubles as Tipton’s goalkeeper. Romance could rear its head some place else.

“If we had made hard work of it, the doubters would have been there,” said Abbott, whose team could now be 90 minutes away from another lucrative pot at a Premier League colossus, to follow last season’s third round trip to Everton. “We answered all the questions, did the job we had to do and I am absolutely delighted with the players.”

The eulogies can be parked there, because no medals will be pinned on Carlisle’s blue tunics for seeing off a team of carpenters and scaffolders who were never likely to build a bridge strong enough to enable them to cross the six-league canyon. But United’s manager was correct in identifying the appetite of his troops as comfortably the most pleasing thing on show two days ago.

Crewe Alexandra and Rochdale, two league clubs who were slayed by a non-league foe, will today inform you of what comes to pass if you don’t attack cup weekend with maximum vigour. Carlisle’s annihilation of their Black Country guests was almost chillingly clinical, however much the black-and-white striped opponents deserved their acclaim from the home supporters as they departed the arena, the lights having gone out on an improbable dream.

What Tipton’s story doesn’t deserve to be remembered by is the Neanderthal scuffling that broke out in the Story Homes Stand and outside the ground at close of play. Shame on the aggro-artists who hitched a ride on this tiny club’s historic journey to the first round proper. The voyage now completed by manager John ‘Bonky’ Hill and his nine-to-five hopefuls merited a more wholesome finale than the sight of belligerent “fans” breaking through a cordon of stewards and exchanging blows and kicks.

The proper conflict – the one on the grass – was even until the sixth minute, at which point Carlisle cut loose. In a blur of movement down Tipton’s left, Madine won a header, Francois Zoko ambushed Dan Parker and the Ivorian lobbed Sargeant from the edge of the box.

Three minutes later, it was two. Zoko released Matty Robson with a lofted pass and the winger hit the crossbar, only for Ben Marshall to retrieve the ball and put it on a plate for Madine a yard from the target.

By this stage, Tipton’s defenders and midfielders were so deep they were in danger of encroaching onto the first green at Stony Holme golf course. Along came United’s third with enviable simplicity, as their set-piece movement flummoxed Hill’s rearguard and Madine headed home James Berrett’s corner.

 

Carlisle’s early dominance was so overwhelming that the audience briefly abandoned themselves to pantomime. A decision to flag down the Tipton winger Ricky Baker for offside in the 16th minute drew theatrical booing from the benevolent Main Stand. Further back, Steve Palmer, the veteran visiting defender, struck a belated blow for the part-timers when he expertly extended a leg to thwart the raiding Berrett.

No matter; Carlisle came again. Zoko, radiating class, jinked to the byline and forced a corner. Berrett’s inswinger was half-cleared and Zoko cushioned the ball with his thigh and drilled it past Sargeant.

At all points in the first half, United’s energy and movement were far too proficient for their opponents, who were simply unable to advance the ball far enough up the turf to give their 22-goal striker Danny Campbell the chance to burnish his reputation. Madine tucked home another chance but was called offside, but then forced home his hat-trick goal four minutes from the break after yet another inadequately-defended corner (earned, initially, by a dream of a pass from Peter Murphy and another byline dash from Marshall).

Dramatic tension long extinguished, Abbott saw half-time as his perfect chance to give the promising teenage winger Ben McKenna his debut, along with firing Craig Curran into battle in pursuit of a confidence-boosting goal. The latter outcome wasn’t achieved, but it was encouraging to see McKenna given his head, as the Northern Ireland youngster pumped the hand of his youth team coach, Eric Kinder, before trotting on to take Robson’s place.

As McKenna occupied the right wing, Marshall swapped flanks without any reduction of his threat. Early in the second half the Stoke loanee surged down the left and teed up Berrett for an off-target blast. Then he drew an impressive save from Sargeant with a free-kick, before Tipton finally made some meaningful inroads into Carlisle’s half, drawing cheers with their first corner (on 56 minutes) and their maiden shot (from sub Ryan Mosedale on the hour).

Further pressure from the visitors led to another replacement, Cameron Jones, chipping over the bar, Campbell slicing wide from decent space and then Mosedale flinging a deflected corner just beyond Parker’s reach in front of goal. Downfield, Marshall – now plainly aching for a goal of his own – saw another blast tipped over by Sargeant, before Curran fluffed a McKenna pass after a confident run from Tom Cruise, the Arsenal loan left-back who coped confidently on a gentle United debut.

Eventually, Madine made one final invasion, clipping home Curran’s pass after yet another Marshall run, before matters concluded with the sight of Jones ballooning the non-leaguers’ best chance of taking a goal to treasure away from the tie.

Tipton will rightly cherish the 42 minutes of this game (between goals five and six) that they held United at the gates. The team from the Baker Joiner Midland Alliance can also claim to have avoided the British game’s most emphatic pummeling on Saturday; for that, they can thank Celtic for liquidising Aberdeen 9-0. More noteworthy, though, was the cheerful and diligent way Hill and his players approached their afternoon in the face of seriously daunting odds.

The ninth and last game completed by Steve Bull’s old club in this season’s cup added to a cash pot that will keep Tipton running for four years and enable the board to shell out on a new strip and boots for their players. On balance that seems a more profound victory than United’s comfortable advance to the last 128.

“It was like something out of Roy of the Rovers,” said their chairman, Bill Williams, about the heady night Tipton beat Sheffield to secure their trip to Brunton Park. But the records show no evidence of Melchester Rovers being beaten by six. Thanks to United and their rumbling appetite, the comic-book fantasy ended right here.

ADAM COLLIN – One of the quietest days of his career. The goalkeeper was sharp in his use of the ball but didn’t have a notable save to make.

FRANK SIMEK – As reliable as usual and got forward to support Marshall and McKenna down the right.

TOM CRUISE – Comfortable debut, the Arsenal loanee was rarely extended and made some decent attacking forays.

JAMES CHESTER – Tidy return after injury, dealt well with the visitors’ limited threat down the middle.

PETER MURPHY – Did all he needed to at the back, and contributed some excellent long passes.

TOM TAIWO – Didn’t need to be at his combative best, he kept things simple and linked play well.

JAMES BERRETT – Tipton couldn’t deal with his corners and the midfielder was frequently involved in United’s attacks.

MATTY ROBSON – Unlucky not to score early on and was always a willing runner, although didn’t see a lot of the ball.

BEN MARSHALL – A constant, pacy threat to the part-timers down both flanks, and was unlucky not to score.

FRANCOIS ZOKO – Movement and finishing were too classy for the visitors. Half-time withdrawal spared Tipton further torture.

GARY MADINE – Took his tally to 11 with four-goal blitz. Even accounting for the opposition, Madine was impressively clinical.

Subs: Craig Curran (for Zoko 46) – Set up the sixth; Ben McKenna (for Robson 46) – Debutant tried to make things happen; Kevan Hurst (for Taiwo 65) – Used ball tidily. Not used: Tony Caig, Tony Kane, Andy Cook, Steven Swinglehurst.

Goals: Zoko 6, 19; Madine 9, 12, 41, 83

Tipton Town: Sargeant, Hill, Brown, Parker, Palmer (Jones 46), Bate, Bragoli, Jackson (Mosedale 46), Baker, Bowen, D Campbell (Jakab 75). Not used: Thornton, N Campbell, Whyte, Forrest.

Ref: Andy Madley (West Yorkshire)

Crowd: 4,241 (374 Tipton fans)

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