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Carlisle stunned by Grigg hat-trick.

Carlisle United 0 Walsall 3 THE scalp of Carlisle United was added to play-off contenders Walsall's growing list of conquests at Brunton Park last night.

The hosts were stunned as the Saddlers took their amazing run to just one defeat in ten outings since the turn of the year. The confident visitors outplayed Carlisle with a display of attacking football which was devastating and direct in equal measures.

"We don't have any arguments with the penalty, but it was an awful goal to concede to a team like this," said Cumbrians manager Greg Abbott afterwards. "All of the preparation work goes out of the window but you then have to dig deep and get back into it. I thought we did that but we gave possession away far too easily and we didn't make life difficult enough for them.

"The young lads will learn a lot from this because there's nowhere to hide. You have to put your mistakes behind you and push on because this is not very forgiving at all. We have a good group here, and we've been on a good run, so I am more than confident that we will be fine."

It was a disastrous start for the Cumbrians as a cross-field pass from Paterson found teenager Dave Symington, making his first start since New Year's Day, ballwatching in the centre of the park.

Febian Brandy touched it beautifully into the path of Adam Chambers and referee Paul Tierney was left with no option but to point at the spot as Gillespie raced off his line and bundled the marauding right back to the floor.

Will Grigg stepped up to notch his 12th goal of the season with a crisply-taken spot kick.

It became one way traffic as the confident Saddlers passed their way around the shell-shocked Carlisle midfield and Danny Livesey had to move smartly to block a Brandy header as he found space from a Taylor free kick. The dangerous Jamie Paterson then set off on a run across the face of the 18-yard and he tested Gillespie with a shot.

Walsall maintained the forward momentum and a direct run from Brandy took him to the heart of trouble. Taylor called for it on the overlap and his low cross was an inch away from being touched home by Grigg.

The Cumbrians eventually found some possession and Liam Noble curled a teaser wide after good work from Lee Miller. The pair combined again moments later and McCarey did well to block on the dive as the midfielder rattled a crunching shot towards the bottom corner.

James Berrett then went close when he rose to greet a pinpoint cross from McGovern, and Rory Loy had the stopper scrambling across his line as he spun to try to his luck from distance. McCarey was beaten but it sped just wide of the upright.

The power of Brandy kept Carlisle busy at the back and he opened things up again just before half-time when he twisted away from two markers in midfield.

Sam Mantom took over and Gillespie had to react late to make a parried save.

The Cumbrians gave their lower than average home crowd something to cling on to as they picked up the pace with Noble and McGovern both dragging efforts wide from outside the area.

Walsall turned the screw after the break with a string of chances which should have put the game beyond doubt.

Brandy had an effort blocked by O'Hanlon and Westcarr brought a full-length stretch from Gillespie as he went for glory. Paterson and Grigg were then wasteful when they had options.

But they made it count midway through the half when Taylor picked up a loose ball in midfield. He surged forward and crossed early and the predatory Grigg did the rest with a neat touch and a drop of the shoulder which left the defence cruelly exposed.

The Saddlers sat on their lead and halfchances for substitutes Mark Beck as Andy Welsh briefly raised spirits for the home side but the final dagger was thrust into Cumbrian hearts when Brandy burst through for one last attack.

Gillespie saved and Livesey blocked the Grigg follow-up, but the striker stayed alert to grab his hat-trick as he slid the loose ball into an empty net.

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THORN IN THE CUMBRIANS' SIDE Will Grigg scored a hat-trick for Walsall at Brunton Park last night
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 27, 2013
Words:735
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