Slip-sliding away

From the Rage Online newsdesk Saturday, March 13th, 2004  

United tumbled out of the automatic promotion places this afternoon, with a display at Carlisle that was more reminiscent of a side at the other end of the table. That lowly position belongs to Carlisle, 92nd club in the league, who were still able to outperform United to beat them 2-0. Tom Cowan opened the scoring seven minutes into the second half, after his cross wasn’t cleared properly, allowing him to get back into the area to get on the end of a return ball. Craig Farrell doubled their lead with about a quarter of an hour remaining, when United’s defence went to sleep, thinking the ball was going out of play. It wasn’t.

United started with the same line-up that began last week’s game against Huddersfield, with Matt Robinson able to join the side after his missus gave birth on Thursday. Lee Steele came on for Scott McNiven 13 minutes into the second half, and ROS Chris Hackett replaced James Hunt three minutes before Carlisle’s second goal. With just four minutes remaining Julian Alsop went off for Jefferson Louis, all to no avail.

The referee was our old friend Frazer Stretton, who took charge of United’s 1-0 win over Yeovil in October. He was fairly restrained, just showing one yellow card, to Paul McCarthy for persistent foul play. The attendance was 5,492. We hope to be able to publish a match report on the morrow, if someone would be so kind as to send us one.

This defeat, United’s sixth game without a win, sees the side drop to fourth, after Huddersfield beat Macclesfield 4-0 at the McAlpine to go up to third. Leaders Doncaster were held 1-1 at home by Cheltenham, who visit Oxford on Wednesday. Second placed Hull beat Scunthorpe 2-1 to increase the gap over Oxford. Torquay are fifth, now level on points with the Us, after drawing 0-0 at York, but Mansfield were unable to capitalise on Oxford’s defeat, going down 4-1 at Lincoln, who are now 8th. Yeovil are 7th, just three points behind Oxford, after beating Bristol Rovers 4-0. Northampton kept their play-off hopes alive with a 2-0 win over Boston, but Swansea could only draw 1-1 at Southend.

Carlisle’s win takes them to just two points behind Macclesfield, but they are still seven points behind Rochdale, who drew 0-0 with Bury. Conference leaders Chester beat Morecambe 2-1, while Wycombe remain rooted to the bottom of Division Two after drawing 1-1 with Notts County (just keeping an eye on next season’s likely opponents). Sam Ricketts scored Telford’s second in their 2-1 win over Halifax.

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