A SUBDUED performance by Carlisle allowed bottom of the league Ilkley to claim maximum points for only the second time this season in North Premier.

It finished 32-29 but two points was poor reward when realistically Carlisle should have hoped for two more. But they seemed lacklustre after the festive break.

Neither side dominated in the first 20 minutes, although the visitors probably had the better of the possession.

Then Carlisle captain Henry Wainwright received a yellow card for a no arms tackle as Ilkley broke down the left wing.

The resulting penalty kick was missed. However the Carlisle 22 drop out was recovered by the home side, and quickly breaking left, they found the gap necessary to go over for their first converted try.

Seven minutes later they crossed the whitewash again, as they used the extra man advantage to spread the away side’s defence to find another gap for an unconverted try.

This seemed to wake Carlisle up as they drove forward from the restart, securing a penalty for holding on by the home side, which Jason Israel landed.

A few minutes later they drove up the left wing from the restart, spreading the ball right to Grant Connon. The fly-half slipped two defenders before feeding an inside ball to Wainwright, who shrugged off the attentions of the last defenders to go under the posts for Carlisle’s first converted try.

Despite probably having the best of the rest of the half, Carlisle couldn’t capitalise on possession and increasing scrum dominance and had to settle for being two points adrift at half-time.

Whatever was said at the break seemed to invigorate the visitors, as they relentlessly battered away at Ilkley for the first five minutes driving them back into their 22.

Although they lost the ball for an Ilkley line-out on the home five-metre line, they quickly recovered it, and Wainwright secured his second try, driving over from close range with Israel converting.

Ilkley came back again and soon Carlisle lost Tanian Naude to a yellow card for a shoulder tackle gifting the hosts an easy three points.

Then came the weirdest try Carlisle and Matthew Charters will ever score. The ball was kicked deep from the restart where it seemed to bounce about between players from both sides, before rolling over the line off an Ilkley player straight towards the Carlisle man sitting on the ground, who simply patted it down for a 22-15 lead.

But this just galvanised Ilkley into action, as they exploited the extra man advantage to spread the ball wide and crossed over in the right corner to move within two points.

Even though Carlisle were back to their full complement, Ilkley - roared on by a large home support - clearly had the bit between the teeth, and just past the hour mark secured their bonus point try to regain the lead at 25-22.

Five minutes later the hosts put further daylight between themselves and Carlisle, as they attacked in numbers down the right wing, with the referee adjudging Max Connon to have illegally prevented a try, awarding a penalty try and a yellow card to the Carlisle man.

Despite being a man down, the visitors tried to find the spark that unlocked the home defence at the beginning of the second half, but were not helped by the game moving to uncontested scrums as Ilkley ran out of props.

With just minutes left, Carlisle again forced their way deep into Ilkley territory. Matt Shields finally found a way through on the left for a bonus point try converted by Grant Connon.

But Ilkley were not going to let their late New Year party be ruined, and kept Carlisle deep in their own half, until the final whistle.