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16:55 19th February 2011

Report: Town 0 Carlisle United 1

A stunning 29th minute strike from James Berrett proved the difference between the sides as Town went down to a 1-0 defeat at home to Carlisle United at The County Ground.

It was an open start to the match and both sides squandered decent chances to take the lead within the first ten minutes, with Scott Cuthbert heading over when well placed for Town, before Francois Zoko shot tamely at David Lucas from the edge of the box.

Town suffered an early blow with Elliot Benyon forced off with injury after 22 minutes, and they might have been behind a few moments later as Liam Noble's first time effort looped over just the bar from 20 yards out.

The hosts came alive soon after, and went close to taking the lead on three separate occasions with Jonathan Obika, Scott Cuthbert and Thomas Dossevi all seeing good chances go begging.

Just as Town looked to be taking control of the game, Carlisle dealt them a painful blow, as Berrett collected the ball 25 yards from goal, turned and unleashed an unstoppable right-footed effort into the top corner.

The hosts reacted well and were inches away from hitting back instantly as Matt Ritchie rose to meet Jonathan Douglas' back post cross, but he was muscled out and headed just wide.

However, the goal really looked to have knocked the stuffing out of a Town side who had started brightly, but failed to test Cumbrian 'keeper Collin again before the half-time whistle.

Town started the second half strongly and nearly equalised after 54 minutes, as Douglas' powerful shot was beaten into the ground by Collin, and though Obika reacted quickest, he couldn't divert the rebound past the 'keeper, and Collin gathered it well.

The hosts continued to make most of the play, but while they were re-energised by the introduction of midfielders Prutton and Ferry early in the second period, they were struggling to seriously test an increasingly stubborn visiting backline as the match drifted past its 75th minute.

The hosts were still playing decent enough football and enjoying the lion's share of possession, but with Benyon and Dossevi both having been withdrawn they looked desperately short of options in attack.

Obika lead the line commendably and had a great chance to equalise after 86 minutes, breaking clear of his defender and shooting well, but Collin was again equal to his shot.

The Tottenham loanee might have squared it to Ferry who was in space alongside him in the area, and will have regretted it after seeing the visiting 'keeper thwart him.

Though Town continued to huff and puff, another chance was not forthcoming, and they went down to a demoralising defeat.

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    Data provided by Press Association