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Blues have play-offs in sight with Glovers win; YEOVIL TOWN 0 CARLISLE UNITED 1.

IT'S not how you start, it's how you finish - and Carlisle United are currently putting together the kind of end-of-season run which could see them confound their critics and grab the play-off place manager Keith Curle has insisted all along was still within reach.

Victory against a rejuvenated Yeovil side is perhaps the most impressive of the recent results, particularly when you consider the Glovers had lost just once in seven outings.

The visitors settled into their stride and they created the first chance of the day when Bennett flicked a throw from Liddle to the edge of the box. Hope took it on his chest but he was off balance and his volley flew wide of the mark.

Yeovil responded with a quick break which took Surridge into a dangerous area when a clearance from Twardek was charged down. A low delivery into the mix was just too far in front of the stretching Rhys Browne.

The Glovers had the best chance of the opening spell when a free-kick from the halfway line was allowed to bounce on the penalty spot. The defence stood still and Sowunmi stepped in to clip the ball over the advancing Jack Bonham. His touch was firm but the ball dropped agonisingly on to the roof of the net.

Hope did well at the other end to create half a yard and his shot through legs had to be dealt with as it threatened the bottom corner. The loose ball came back to Hope, and he was chopped to the floor as he tried to get past his marker. Parkes whipped the free-kick in at pace but the flick from Bennett didn't have enough on it and the ball skipped behind for a goal kick.

Another foul, this time on Bennett, gave Parkes the chance to go for glory from 30 yards but the wall did its job with a needed deflection. Devitt took the corner, and a header from Hill had to be helped on its way by Dickson as it threatened to loop into the top corner.

A wonderful crossfield pass from Devitt left Hope with just one to beat and he appeared to have done the job as he cut inside his man. He went for power and his shot rose high.

A lightning-quick break caught Carlisle cold just before half-time when Surridge threaded a lovely ball through to Gray. Bonham did well to make a vital save.

United should have been ahead within seconds of the second-half kick-off when Bennett beat the offside trap to go one-on-one with Maddison. The keeper did well to block the initial attempt at a lob and also to smother two follow-up efforts.

The visitors took the lead in style as they pushed on with a low ball through the middle for Hope to chase. He kept his cool as he cut in from the left flank and picked his spot with an excellent finish which nestled sweetly in the bottom corner.

Carlisle continued to look more likely and they had their heads in their hands as Hope let fly once more. Maddison was beaten but it came off the bottom of the upright and was immediately retrieved by Devitt. His shot was controlled by Nadesan, but Maddison got enough on it to help it behind.

Carlisle were almost made to pay for their misses when the ball pinged around inside their area from a Whelan delivery. Bonham made point-blank save and Hill jumped in to clear off the line, and the Blues were able to breathe again when Joyce hooked it away.

There was a late scare for Carlisle when Wing rattled the post with a 20-yard thunderbolt, but they kept hold of the ball to see their way through to a very well-deserved third consecutive victory.

CARLISLE RATINGS JACK BONHAM ........ . 7 Made some vital saves early in the game GARY LIDDLE................. . 7 Did little wrong as he patrolled the right flank MARK ELLIS.................... 8 Another solid display from the big centre back CLINT HILL ........... . 7 Rarely puts a foot wrong as he guards his back line TOM PARKES.................. . 8 Worked hard to get up and down the pitch KRIS TWARDEK ........ . 6 Not quite his day as he ran into a packed defence HALLAM HOPE ........ . 9 Never stopped wanting the ball LUKE JOYCE.................... 7 Steady stuff as he did the ugly midfield work JAMIE DEVITT 7 A good range of passing as he chose to stay deep COLE STOCKTON 6 Stayed busy but little went his way RICHIE BENNETT 7 Was a good target man and won the high ball battles Subs: Gray, Grainger, Jones (Twardek 46), Campbell-Ryce, O'Sullivan (Stockton 75), Lambe, Nadesan (Bennett 69). YEOVIL TOWN: Maddison, Wing, Browne (Fisher 71), Gray (Khan 45), Dickson, Surridge, Sowunmi, Gobern, Seager (Green 56), Whelan, James. Subs: Bird, Smith, Nelson, Donnellan.

Bookings: Browne 55 Att: 2,668 Ref: Antony Coggins

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Sun (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 25, 2018
Words:843
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