Maximum return from epic trek

COLCHESTER United's march up the League One table continued with another classic away display at Carlisle this afternoon.

Carl Marston

Carlisle United 0 Colchester United 2

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United's march up the League One table continued with another classic away display at Carlisle this afternoon.

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The U's made this 345-mile trek to Cumbria well worthwhile, thanks to a crazy own goal from home defender Danny Livesey in the 11th minute, and then a late second from David Perkins on 82 minutes.

The hapless Livesey inadvertently started and finished the move for the U's opening goal, after which the Cumbrians never really looked like finding a way back into the game.

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The three points were wrapped up by a smart finish from Perkins, who slotted home the rebound after Scott Vernon's initial shot had been blocked by keeper Ben Williams.

This result extended the U's terrific run to just one defeat in their last 12 league matches, a run that began with them wallowing in the relegation zone.

It has certainly kept their distant hopes of snatching a play-off place very much alive.

Clive Platt was suspended, after accruing five bookings, which enabled Gobern to make his first start since his loan move from Wolves.

That was the only change from the U's 2-1 home win over Northampton Town on Tuesday evening. Gobern operated down the right flank, with Mark Yeates partnering Scott Vernon in attack.

And it was Gobern who registered the game's first goal attempt on nine minutes, pulling his 20-yarder well wide of target following a strong run from Vernon.

Two minutes later and the U's were ahead, thanks to a bizarre own goal from LIVESEY.

Incredibly, it was Livesey who actually started the U's move! His misplaced pass allowed Scott Vernon to run at Carlisle's exposed defence, and then slide the ball out to Gobern.

Winger Gobern delivered a cross into the six-yard box, where a despairing Livesey construed to divert the ball past his own keeper Ben Williams. The Carlisle centre-half no doubt wished that the ground would swallow him up, there and then.

The Cumbrians looked low on confidence during these early stages, although leading scorer Danny Graham was not far adrift with a flick-header that drifted wide of Jimmy Walker's far post.

Otherwise, the visitors were the more dangerous going forward. Former Carlisle defender Paul Reid was close to heading home a free-kick by Yeates, and Kem Izzet then had a shot deflected over the bar.

The U's had appeals for a penalty turned down in the 22nd minute. Gobern burst into the box and seemed to be dragged to the ground between two defenders, including Livesey, but referee Clive Oliver waved play on.

Ten minutes later and Yeates squandered a good chance to double the lead. The Irishman was put in the clear by Alan Maybury's terrific lofted pass forward, only to cut inside and rifle his shot over the bar with team-mates queuing up in front of goal.

Carlisle finished the first-half strongly, and they were twice denied by Jimmy Walker in quick succession around the 40-minute mark.

First Walker arched back to fingertip Cleveland Taylor's swirling cross-cum-shot onto the bar. It still looked a certain goal, but Marc Tierney somehow managed to clear the rebound off the goal-line with a bicycle kick, otherwise Graham would have bundled home.

And from the ensuing corner, Graham's goal-bound header was superbly diverted over the bar by an acrobatic Walker.

Half-time: Carlisle 0 Colchester 1

The Cumbrians made two early substitutes in the second-half, but they were comfortably kept at bay before the hour mark. Jamie Guy also replaced a tiring Gobern on 66 minutes.

Chances had dried up, although Yeates at least had a shot blocked by Livesey midway through the second period. Substitute Guy then volleyed over the top from David Perkins' cross, from point blank range.

The U's finally made the game safe with eight minutes remaining. Home keeper Williams did well to block Vernon's fierce shot, from Yeates' lay-off, only for PERKINS to steer home the rebound from 10 yards out.

That goal prompted a few Carlisle fans to get up and leave. They could see that there was no way back for their team, and so it proved.

Full-time: Carlisle 0 Colchester 2


CARLISLE UNITED: Williams 7, Raven 6, Livesey 5, Murphy 7, Liddell 5 (sub Horwood, 46), Anyinsah 6, Thirlwell 6, Kavanagh 6, TAYLOR 7, Bridge-Wilkinson 5 (sub Bridges, 58), Graham 7. Unused subs: Howarth, Keogh, Dobie.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker 8, Maybury 7, Baldwin 7, Reid 7, TIERNEY 8, Gobern 7 (sub Guy, 66), Hammond 8, Izzet 7, Perkins 8, Yeates 7 (sub White, 88), Vernon 7. Unused subs: Heath, Wordsworth, Cousins.

Referee: Mr Clive Oliver (Northumberland)

Attendance: 5,745

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