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Berrett hits the right spot; Carlisle rain on Rovers boss Penney's parade in win.

Carlisle United 4 Bristol Rovers 0 ANY hopes Bristol Rovers may have had that the midweek appointment of former Darlington boss Dave Penney as first-team manager might provide a much-needed bounce were very quickly punctured by a ruthless Carlisle United side.

For the Cumbrians it was a clinical return to form following a disappointing run, failing to pick up a league win since the middle of November.

"We needed a performance like that just to give everyone a lift," manager Greg Abbott said. "It's been a tough week, compounded by losing Gary Madine to Sheffield Wednesday, but we've pulled together and we've shown everyone that we are still a very good side."

A nip and tuck first half saw James Berrett and Ben Marshall test the agile Luke Daniels on more than one occasion, but it was the Pirates who came closest to plundering the lead when Danny Coles headed a Swallow set piece against the underside of the bar.

Rovers went even closer with the chance of the half on 30 minutes when Kuffour fed the ball into the box. Will Hoskins somehow managed to nod wide when completely unmarked just six yards out.

"They had their chances and they gave us a game right through the first half," Cumbrians assistant manager Graham Kavanagh admitted. "It was very even but the first goal is always important, and we were the ones to get it. We never looked back after that."

That goal came courtesy of a penalty when Swallow's wayward hand struck the ball leaving referee Paul Tierney no other option but to point to the spot.

"We've missed a few penalties recently so there was a bit of pressure," goalscorer James Berrett said. "It came at a good time for us though and it gave us the confidence to really push on after the break."

A tough job became a mountain to climb for the Pirates when Danny Coles received a straight red card for a wild challenge on Zoko, and United really turned the screw with the move of the game that saw Zoko, Simek and Berrett combine to set Craig Curran free to score a fantastic goal.

It then became one-way traffic and Tigers defender Liam Cooper marked his debut with his first ever league strike courtesy of a precise header from another pinpoint Berrett corner.

"It's a great way to start things off with Carlisle," he said.

"I haven't played since November, so to be involved in a game like this and to score a goal is as good as it gets. All I want now is to keep playing and to get fully match fit so that I can make even more of a contribution."

The final say of the day went to Berrett when he stepped forward to crash his second spot kick of the day into the roof of the net when yet another wayward challenge left man-of-the-match Ben Marshall in a heap on the floor.

"There is plenty for us all to look forward to," Abbott concluded. "We have our first leg game in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy against Huddersfield on Tuesday night, which could end with another trip to Wembley, and we're looking to climb up the table as quickly as possible.

"If we can all keep our focus and keep doing things properly then we are going to have a very enjoyable second half of the season."

CARLISLE: Collin, Simek, Michalik, Cooper, Murphy, Thirlwell (Noble 74), Berrett, Taiwo, Marshall (Wells 84), Zoko (Hurst 89), Curran. Subs (not used): Caig, Livesey, McKenna, Gbarssin.

Booked: Thirlwell. Goals: Berrett 44 pen, Curran 57, Cooper 73, Berrett 82 pen. BRISTOL ROVERS: Daniels, Regan, Tunnicliffe, Coles, Sawyer (Blizzard 84), Swallow (Anthony 63), Campbell, Lines, Hughes, Kuffour (Brown 76), Hoskins. Subs (not used): Green, Richards, Reece, Pell.

Booked: Sawyer. Sent Off: Coles. Attendance: 4,229 Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire).

CAPTION(S):

PENALTY KING James Berrett celebrates after scoring from the spot to put Carlisle United one up
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 17, 2011
Words:662
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