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Having beaten Morpeth earlier in the season at Warwick Road, Carlisle went travelling to the north east on February 5th looking to complete the double.
It was never going to be an easy task and the opening minutes of the game confirmed that the hosts were looking for revenge. They were more than a little piqued by their eclipse at Carlisle. They set about trying to deprive Carlisle of ball from the outset and it has to be said they were pretty successful at that throughout the afternoon.
Carlisle arrived at Mitford Road having to make changes to their team with three key players all adrift. Lewis Boyd (full back) and Dan Holmes (wing), were both working and loose head Steve Stamper was unavailable. Don’t take anything away from those who stepped in at short notice – they all gave their all in pursuit of those important league points.
Despite the recent heavy rain the pitch was in good condition.
So often their strong point, the Carlisle pack was not up to scratch, and struggled to contain Morpeth for much of the match. Starved of the ball for long periods, Carlisle had to make do with what scraps they were allowed. Neverthless, they gave their all in a stoic defensive effort throughout.
Try as they might to breach the Carlisle rearguard, Morpeth were unlucky not to breach the line on a few occasions. Carlisle managed to hold firm though, and like their hosts had to make do with an equalising penalty from Grant Connon to go into the interval all square.
Carlisle brought on Biff McGimpsey at tight head for Kalinowski and the front row was more stable as a consequence, and after seven minutes the more experienced Mark Allan replaced Tom Ritchie in the back row.
Morpeth were first to draw blood in the second period with another penalty but the lead was short lived, because on 51 minutes one of their forays into home territory let Martin Brodie in for a try in the right hand corner; Grant Connon improving from the touch line before he landed his second penalty of the match following a high tackle.
Thereafter, it was all hands to the pumps to keep the Northumberland men at bay but all they could muster was a penalty to close the gap.
Not a game for the purist, but if nothing else it was fine defensive effort that earned Carlisle precious league points to keep them mid table; Morpeth though, their disappointment was beyond measure!
Tries: Martin Brodie (1).
Cons: Grant Connon (1).
Pens: Grant Connon (2).
Starting XV and Replacements
15 Max Connon
14 Martin Brodie
13 Chris Harris
12 Barry Earl
11 Joe Blaylock
10 Grant Connon
9 Tim Hughes
1 Callum Hermeston
2 Tom Graham
3 Martin Kalinowski (Martin McGimpsey on 40)
4 Mark Barron (Captain)
5 Paul Halliday
6 Dan Smithson
7 Bobby Sherlock
8 Tom Ritchie (Mark Allan on 47)
16 Martin McGimpsey
17 Mark Allan
18 Jack Oddie
Pick of the pack: Dan Smithson
Best of the backs: Barry Earl
Result: 9 pts v 13 pts
Half time score: 3 pts v 3 pts
Next match: 12/02/2011
Carlisle V Percy Park
KICK OFF 2.15 pm