CARLISLE UNITED 3-4 BURTON ALBIONA seven goal thriller at Brunton Park saw Burton Albion return from the long trip to Cumbria with all three points mainly thanks to a vibrant first half performance that saw Albion score all of their goals. Stunning strikes from Damien McCrory and Lee Bell along with cool finishes from Jacob Blyth and Alex MacDonald had Albion 4-1 ahead before Brad Potts reduced arrears on the stroke of half time with an effort that fizzed past Brewers keeper Jon McLaughlin and a sterling second half performance from the home side almost rescued at least a point with dubious Albion defending gifting the Cumbrians a third prior to a late onslaught that Albion resisted to get back to winning ways.
The result did come at a cost though with George Taft picking up an injury in the opening minute and both MacDonald and Beavon picking up cards that will mean a suspension for Saturday's trip to Stevenage. MacDonald picked up a yellow card for pushing Brad Potts taking his tally to five for the season and a one match ban whilst Beavon picked up two yellow cards, the second deep in second half stoppage time meaning he will sit out Saturday's trip to Stevenage through suspension.
To get back on the victory trail the Brewers side showed two changes to the team beaten at home to Morecambe on Saturday. Beavon, feeling no after effects after a second half substitute appearance on Saturday returned to the starting line-up alongside Jacob Blyth and with Robbie Weir not 100% there was a first start of the season for Bell in the centre of midfield.
New loan signing, Republic of Ireland Under 21 international midfielder Darragh Lenihan, started on the bench after arriving from Blackburn Rovers earlier in the day.
The home side were quickly on the attack and within 20 seconds Brad Potts turned from a tight angle inside the box and blazed a shot across goal. He only had the space to take a shot due to the fact that George Taft tracking him into the area went to ground with what turned out to be a hamstring injury and he was quickly substituted meaning a return to the defence for Damien McCrory.
The substitute wasted little time in making an impact scoring with his first touch. Beavon worked hard to gain possession inside the box. He fed Akins on the right and although his cross was overhit Alex MacDonald helped the ball into the path of the advancing McCRORY who slammed it in from 25 yards on the angle.
Albion's lead lasted just seven minutes with the Cumbrians level on 12 minutes. McCrory slipped on the edge of the area allowing Potts to cross to the back post. Anthony Sweeney met the ball beyond the back post and was slightly unfortunate to see his header come back out off the post but Kyle DEMPSEY was on hand to tap home the rebound.
There were some tasty challenges going in testing out referee Scott Duncan and whilst he didnt miss Ian Sharps challenge near the touchline on Dempsey both officials missed an apparent stamp on Beavon by Danny Grainger near the corner flag.
Anything McCrory could do Lee BELL could do just as well on 27 minutes. Albion broke up a Carlisle attack in midfield and the returning midfielder strode forward before an unleashing a 30 yard belter that flew past Dan Hanford in the Carlisle goal. The Cumbrians keeper must have been wondering what was happening having had no saves to make thus far but having picked the ball out of his net twice.
Carlisle continued to look dangerous on the break and at pace they burst towards the Burton goal on 34 minutes with Brad Potts eventually tracked into the box by MacDonald who did enough to deny the Cumbrian man a clean strike at goal and Albion's defence were able to clear.
It got even better for Albion on 40 minutes as they broke away to score a third. Beavon won a tackle with Dicker in midfield and the striker burst forwards before feeding the ball to striker partner Jacob BLYTH who from a similar position to his strike at Northampton, once again unerringly found the bottom corner of the net.
Albion found themselves in dreamland in first half stoppage time. Beavon swept a lovely ball out to MacDonald on the right, the winger having swapped flanks with Akins and when Grainger failed to cut out his low cross MacDONALD was able to advance along the bye line and hit a driven cross that hit Handford and ended up in the back of the net.
That goal came two minutes into first half stoppage time but with the half in to its fifth added minute Carlisle grabbed a lifeline when POTTS picked up the ball in midfield and added to the array of stunning goals with a rising 25 yard drive that eluded the fingertips of McLaughlin before nestling in the top corner. It ensured that the Carlisle side left the field with the raucous support of their fans behind them rather than disgruntled shouts for a team going in three goals adrift at the break.
Half time: Carlisle United 2-4 Burton Albion
Carlisle made a double change at the start of the second half with Georg Iliev and Dicker replaced by Mark Beck and new signing Derek Asamoah taking their places. The hosts made a lively start to proceedings in the second period and Dempsey flashed a shot wide of the post after good work down the left.
Hayden White sparked the feisty challenges off again with a late tackle on McCrory that earned him a booking but with Albion players unhappy about the tackle MacDonald was perhaps lucky to only see yellow for pushing Potts in the aftermath.
The home side continued to press and McLaughlin had to come right to the edge of his area to snuff out Potts as he tried to latch onto an angled ball through the Albion back line and Stuart Beavon also picked up a yellow card for a strong challenge on White close to the touchline.
65 minutes were gone when Albion's lead was halved to just the one goal. A long ball over the top skimmed off the head of Sharps and allowed ASAMOAH to capitalise on indecision between McLaughlin and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff with the substitute nipping in to run the ball into the empty net.
Albion almost responded immediately with MacDonald whipping a curling shot just over the angle from 15 yards after good play down the Albion right.
Carlisle's last throw of the dice was to replace Matty Robson with striker Stephen Elliott who came on to a rapturous reception from the vociferous home support.
Albion were playing pretty much on the breakaway now and Albion waited until the 87th minute to bring on more fresh legs with McGurk asked to take over from the hard working Blyth. Beavon took over as the more advanced striker with McGurk dropping into a slightly more withdrawn role.
Beavon almost outran Paul Thirlwell but was guilty of a foul on the big defender and when added time started and the striker stayed inside his own half to stay onside he ran forwards and laid the ball perfectly into the path of McGurk who squandered a glorious chance to wrap things up chipping an easy chance over the bar. It meant a nervy end as Carlisle threw everything they had at the Burton box with Potts lashing a difficult chance over the bar. In the aftermath Beavon seemingly said something to the referee to earn himself a second yellow card and a marginally early bath before his team mates with the clock showing five minutes played over the ninety despite the fourth official indicating four.