In what was described as a superb game of rugby, Carlisle fell just short of causing an upset against promotion-chasing Blaydon.

The city side lost 31-26 but they came desperately close to snatching a win at the death.

Carlisle matched the second-in-the-table side across the park, and the only difference was Blaydon’s ability to counter-attack at pace and strength, with their back-line very dangerous with ball in hand.

A Blaydon penalty for a line-out in Carlisle territory, gave them field position inside the Carlisle 22, and eventually fly-half Ryan Foreman found a gap to go through for their first converted try.

Carlisle struck back quickly and when skipper Henry Wainwright was dragged down in the 22, second-row James Brocket was in close support to take the off-load, step the last defender to go over for Carlisle’s first try, converted by Jason Israel.

A sustained period of pressure inside the Blaydon 22 came to nothing as a Carlisle player was caught holding on and the visitors were able to gain some territory back from the kick to touch.

Then a penalty to Carlisle allowed them to secure a line-out on the Blaydon 10-metre line.

With the ball fed across the backs, first Max Connon and then Matt Shields took the ball deep into Blaydon territory and an offload to Dan Holmes, gave him the easiest of walk-ins under the posts for Carlisle’s second converted try on 36 minutes.

With less than a minute left on the clock, Blaydon managed to move the ball out of their 22, and after many phases drove over for a late equalising try to go into the changing rooms at half time, 14-14.

Carlisle started the second half with the same intensity as the first, keeping Blaydon pinned into their territory for long periods.

Yet Blaydon looked dangerous on the counter-attack, and were keen to use the width as much as possible.

This turned out to be the undoing of Carlisle on 53 minutes the ball was lost in contact during an attack.

Blaydon attacked at pace switching play to the right, where they found space to go over for their third try.

Five minutes later they managed to rob the ball off Carlisle as the home side were attacking in strength, and swiftly moving the ball across the backs found space to go through the retreating Carlisle side and over for their bonus point try under the posts.

Carlisle, now 12 points adrift, kept their cool and secured a try from Chris Auld from a quick tap penalty inside Blaydon’s five metre line.

After a penalty gave them territory deep inside the Carlisle half, Blaydon mauled the ball from the line-out and after a number of phases, managed to go over for their fifth try.

Carlisle threw everything at Blaydon, and scrum-half James Telford managed to dive over with less than a minute on the clock.

Quickly taking a drop goal conversion allowed sufficient time for the restart with only five points the difference.

Carlisle battered their way towards the Blaydon try-line from the restart, and only some desperate defending kept them out.