The game kicked off with the Clarets aided by a howling wintry wind at their backs. It made things hard initially and there were no chances of note in the opening fifteen minutes. There was a booking though as Nik Kudiersky was cautioned for a mistimed challenge on half way. It was very similar to the booking he picked up last week and again there was no complaint.
The first chance fell to the visitors with a long range drive which was tipped over by McDonald. From the corner we broke and King had an opportunity but dwelt on the ball for too long and the chance passed. The twenty minute mark brought the opening goal and it was Carlisle who got it. A cross from the left fount the big centre forward unmarked but he fluffed his header, glancing it wide. It didn't go out though and was floated back in from the right, again onto the strikers head, and he found the back of the net via the inside of the post.
Within five more minutes we were two down. A surging run down the left wing ended with a ball into the box which was met by a Carlisle attacker, who guided the ball past McDonald. We were treading water at this point and looked to be lacking in inspiration.
Carlisle suffered a set back soon after their 2nd goal as their left back was forced from the field with a serious looking ankle injury. The physios of both teams were called on to treat the injury, giving an indication of its seriousness and I certainly hope the lad makes a swift recovery.
We continued to struggle in the 1st half, creating no chances of note and were dealt a death blow as injury time approached. A straight balled was played though our defence while they held a high line and the striker ran through unopposed, rounding McDonald and rolling into the back of the net.
The second half was a different story and we were much more involved. We were doing much more attacking, especially down the left wing where James Craggs was getting more involved, but we were still not testing the keeper.
With the breakthrough still out of our grasp we made a raft of substitutions. Dom Knowles and Devenney were replaced by Joe Jackson and Dave Lynch. Minutes later Dil Chaggar was replaced by Ed Williams and we had a reshuffle, changing to 3 at the back and pushing Chris Lynch up front.
It almost paid instant dividends as C. Lynch rattled the crossbar with a volleyed snap-shot from the edge of the box. The goal did finally come with a nice move. The ball was played into the feet of Jackson near the edge of the box. He controlled it quickly and fed Chris Anderson, whose deft touch played in Wes Fletcher. The Scouser had his first clear sight of goal of the day and made no mistake.
The decision to move C. Lynch up front was proving to be a good idea and he was certainly giving the Carlisle defence something to think about. A hectic goal mouth scramble could have given us a 2nd goal but it was clear that we had given ourselves too much to come back from this time and the game finished with a disappointing 1-3 scoreline, allowing Carlisle to move 4 points clear of us.
Team:- Danny McDonald, Dil Chaggar (Ed Williams), Dan Brown, Chris Lynch, Nik Kudiersky, Michael King, James Craggs, Oliver Devenney (Dave Lynch), Chris Anderson, Wes Fletcher, Dom Knowles (Joe Jackson).
Not used:- Ben Woodhead.