United’s away day roulette continues this weekend. Will it be another surprising Jekyll performance à la Grimsby, or a rather familiar Hyde-like whimper like Cheltenham/Yeovil/most of this God awful season. One thing is for sure, every U’s fan making the mammoth journey is a hero, and we salute every single one.
After the postponement at Bury, the United squad ensured their weekend off wasn’t wasted. Jabo booked himself in for a paintballing session at Mepal Outdoor Centre to improve his ball shooting skills, but found himself on the losing side at an 11-year old birthday party. George Taft managed to make it to a comics convention, and queued for 4 hours to give Jim Lee his new script, simply entitled ‘The Taft’. Meanwhile, Calderwood got out to do a bit of kestrel spotting, and Gary Deegan added an extra 24 hours to his Paddy’s day binge.
No word yet on where Lambe disappeared to, probably the same place he does every Saturday afternoon. Reggie will miss Saturday’s clash with his former employers due to his international call up with Bermuda, who play their final CONCACAF Nations League game against the Dominican Republic on Sunday. Given some of his recent performances, I can’t imagine a lot of U’s fans will be particularly heartbroken.
Carlisle are sat 9th in the table, and despite their patchy form of late, are still firmly in the hunt for a play-off spot. Trying to make sense of their recent results is a bit of a cluster; the past eight fixtures have only seen a return of 6 points for the Cumbrians as they’ve slipped out of the play-off places. However, the variance in recent results is what is most puzzling. Last week they picked up a commendable away point at fellow (and it pains me to call them this) play-off hopefuls Forest Green. Where recently Carlisle have been picking up solid draws against those around them in the table, it’s been their form against lower opposition (hey, that’s us!) which has caused concern. The previous home fixture is the most surprising one, with Carlisle going down 3-1 to bottom club Notts County.
Last Three Results:
16/03 – Draw 1-1 vs Forest Green Rovers (A)
12/03 – Lost 3-1 vs Notts County (H)
9/03 – Won 2-1 vs Swindon (H)
Nickname Rating: 3/10 Cumbrians, The Blues, Blue and White Army – You can choose from any of these, but they all score lowly for lack of originality.
Key Player: Hallam Hope
Striker with predatory skills equal to that of the sleazy old guy loitering by The Regal dance floor every Saturday evening, appearing when you least want him to. He has 12 league goals this season, which isn’t awe-inspiring, but the Everton academy product has the ability to lead the line very effectively.
On The Bench: Steven Pressley
It’s a real shame Kevin Curle doesn’t manage here anymore, only because the line ‘Mysterious Curle, I wanna play 3-5-2’ is arguably the best in football and should be used as much as physically possible. Steven Pressley enjoyed a long career mainly in Scotland, and his managerial career highlights include nine months at Fleetwood Town. Nothing much to report here.
Our first meeting this season saw Carlisle run out victorious at The Abbey in September. The U’s had led through Jevani Brown but succumbed to a fourth consecutive home defeat. Desperate days.
Back in 2014, when we started seasons well, our third home game back in the league saw us thrash Carlisle 5-0. The opening goal that day came from Senegalese midfielder Issaga Diallo, remember him? There was also a brace from Bournemouth loanee Jayden Stockley. It was later agreed that Stockley was terrible and he’d never materialize into a Championship quality striker worth 750 grand and was sent shipping back to the South Coast to never be heard from again.
U’s trips to Brunton Park have included some absolute classics in recent seasons. Two seasons ago saw Medy magic as Elito dabbed himself a hat-trick in a 3-0 win – even if two were penalties. Our first away trip of the 2015 season saw an incredible game finish 4-4. Jabo scored a hat-trick that day, and at that time we could have only dreamed that he’d one day line up for the U’s with a deadly one goal per 492 minute ratio.
I’d love to say we’ll surprise a few and put in an organised shift and sneak a decent result (and I count a draw as that) but I think Carlisle will want it more. 2-0 Carlisle.
SHIT TIP OF THE WEEK:
Jevani Brown to score first 10/1
(Would have been Lambe to score a hat trick, just so you’re aware).
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By Jordan Worland