Port Vale arrived at Brunton Park this evening looking for their first away league win since their last visit to Carlisle United, but a late second half goal from United ended any hopes of Aspin and his men picking up any points.
With three changes to the side that beat Crawley Town 1-0 at the weekend, Neil Aspin’s defence of three were put under pressure from the get go with a wave of Carlisle attacks. Scott Brown was forced into an early save to deny a Gary Liddle header, but Vale’s defence dealt with the early pressure well.
Vale’s first chance fell 15 minutes into the first half. Good link up play between Pope and Miller allowed the strikers to find Luke Hannant out wide in acres of space. The winger took his man on, but the angle became too tight as he unleashed his shot and went wide of the mark. Minutes later, Antony Kay tried to pull off his trademark volley, but it was comfortably saved by the Carlisle goalkeeper.
As Vale started to find their rhythm around the 25-minute mark, it was Luke Hannant who came closest to putting the Vale. The winger was found yet again by Louis Dodds on the left hand side. The winger drove with the ball at the Carlisle defence before drilling the ball on his left, but his effort darted inches wide of the post.
Neil Aspin’s men however were dealt a huge blow when the referee awarded a penalty to Carlisle, after Rawlinson was judged to have fouled Tom Parkes. Danny Grainger stepped up and finished the penalty into the top corner to put Carlisle ahead.
Carlisle came very close to doubling their lead just before the half. Rawlinson’s back pass to Scott Brown fell short. Yates took advantage by taking the ball round Brown but his shot was blocked on the line by none of other than Leon Legge.
The second half resumed and it was Vale who were fastest out of the blocks looking for an equaliser. Tom Pope came closest to equalising after Ricky Miller’s corner was whipped into a dangerous area. Popey’s diving header was just too high and went over for a goal kick and just moments later, the pair linked up again. Pope’s knockdown found the little man, but he dragged his shot wide.
As the half progressed, Neil Aspin opted to bring on Worrall for Miller in hope the height of Pope could be taken advantage of with plenty of crosses. Vale dominated possession, but couldn’t find that killer touch to get them back on level terms.
Carlisle had spells on the break as they looked to put the game to bed and created some decent chances, but the rigid back three of Legge, Rawlinson and Smith were proving difficult to break down.
With eight minutes to go, Carlisle ended any hopes of a Vale comeback. A corner was floated deep into the Vale box and Tom Parkes was there to head it in. With just minutes to go, Luke Hannant pulled one back for the Vale with a stunning free kick, firing it into the top corner.
CARLISLE UNITED: Joe Fryer, Danny Grainger, Gary Liddle, Anthony Gerrard, Tom Parkes, Hallam Hope, Jamie Devitt, Richie Bennet, Jerry Yates, Kelvin Ethuhu, Ashley Nadesan
UNUSED SUBS: Adam Collin, Gary Miller, Macauley Gillesphey, Regan Slater, Adam Campbell, Sam Adewusi
PORT VALE: Scott Brown, Luke Joyce, Leon Legge, Antony Kay (82’ Scott Quigley), Tom Pope, Ricky Miller (69’ David Worrall), Luke Hannant, Connell Rawlinson, Nathan Smith, Louis Dodds (45’ Cristian Montano), Mitchell Clark
UNUSED SUBS: Sam Hornby, James Gibbons, Michael Tonge, Theo Vassell