Carlisle Utd 1 Crawley Town 1: Clarke rescues Reds

Billy Clarke is again a doubt

Billy Clarke is again a doubt

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Substitute Billy Clarke scored a late goal to rescue Crawley and end a four-game unbeaten run in league matches at Carlisle Utd’s Brunton Park, by Warren Lucy.

Clarke smashed home in the 87th minute when he fired into the back of the net from a Gary Alexander pass.

Crawley Town's Billy Clarke is congratulated by his team-mates for scoring his side's equaliser at Carlisle Utd

Crawley Town's Billy Clarke is congratulated by his team-mates for scoring his side's equaliser at Carlisle Utd

Nicky Adams was a surprise exclusion from the squad due to illness and he was replaced by Kyle Bennett, while Jamie Proctor made way for last weekend’s hero Emile Sinclair.

Carlisle began the brighter of the two sides but it was the visitors who had the best chance of the opening 30 minutes when a neat move involving Josh Simpson and Kyle Bennett eventually found Andy Drury on the left who cut in but saw his effort come off the near post.

After 23 minutes Carlisle had their first opportinuty of the game when Matt Robson’s inswinging corner found David Armoo who headed wide.

The second half saw the Cumbrians come flying out of the blocks with Paul Jones making a smart save to deny Prince Bauben.

From the resulting corner, Joe Walsh hauled down Lewis Guy and David Noble sent Jones the wrong way, stroking to the Crawley stopper’s right.

Carlisle’s tails were up and Bauben hit wide only three minutes later as Graham Kavanagh’s side looked for a second goal.

As Bauben fired wide again, the 131 travelling Reds fans saw the return of Clarke as Richie Barker made a triple substitution as Alexander and Proctor were brought on alongside Clarke as Barker clearly threw caution to the wind.

The attacking trio added something more to the Crawley side, asking questions of their hosts with the Blues sitting deeper and Proctor was stopped by Ben Amos following Clarke’s header into his path with 18 minutes remaining.

With pressure on the Carlisle backline, Crawley got what they deserved with only three minutes left as that man Clarke burst away to equalise for the Reds and end the goal famine.

REDS: P.Jones, Hurst, Connelly, Walsh, Sadler, Bulman, M.Jones (Proctor 63), Drury, Simpson (C) (Clarke 63), Barnett, Sinclair (Alexander 63)

Unused subs: McFadzean, Essam, Torres, Maddison

REFEREE: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)

ATTENDANCE: 3,675