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Nottingham Evening Post:

He said: "There was a nervousness about the players and the crowd and it was a relief for everyone to get that goal. It was a tremendous finish from Karl."

"There were a fair hairy moments towards the end but it's a big three points for us and I'll take a game where we don't play well and get a victory in the hope that it acts as a springboard.

"It's stopped the rot. Now we have to build on that."

Match winner Karl Hawley said: "We are just relieved to have won. The tempo wasn't right in the opening period but we were a lot happier with our second-half performance."

Full article and more after match reaction -

United Blunt Stags In Hard Fought Victory
by Thetashkentterror
Carlisle United 1 Mansfield Town 0

Hawley's 80th minute strike grabs a vital three points for United as they end their four match losing streak at home to a poor Mansfield outfit

United player-manager Paul Simpson started with a very similar line-up to the one which lost 1-0 at Oxford eight days ago, the only change being Simon Hackney coming in as a direct replacement for Alan O’Brien on the left-wing.

Keiren Westwood was between the sticks in front of a back-four of Zigor Aranalde, Peter Murphy, Kevin Gray and David Beherall. Adam Murray, Chris Billy, Chris Lumsdon and Hackney took the midfield berths while Karl Hawley and Raphael Nade were partnered upfront in a 4-4-2 formation.

The game started quietly with United looking to end their losing run against a bottom of the table Mansfield side operating under the guise of caretaker-boss Peter Shirtliff.

The first half-chance for the Blues came in the third minute as Nade hit a cross-shot which the "well-built" and very experienced Mansfield keeper Kevin Pressman saved easily. Nade was the centre of attention again four minutes later as he seemed to be dragged down in the box by Stags centre-half Alex-John Baptiste. Referee Lee Mason waved play on though in the face of strong complaints from Nade.

Just sixty seconds later the Blues missed a golden chance to take the lead as Hackney fired wide. Adam Murray hit a lovely cross to the far-post where the young winger was lurking but Hackney could only smash his left-volley across the face of goal and behind from 12 yards out.

Mansfield’s opening chance of the game came in the 11th minute from a set-piece. Stags front-man Simon Brown was brought down on the edge of the United box by Chris Lumsdon but ex-Sheffield Wednesday striker Richie Barker could only smash the free-kick wide of the target.

Mansfield will look back on the chances they had around the twenty-minute mark as the ones that got away when you suffer a 1-0 defeat.

Firstly Brown robbed Kevin Gray in the "D" but could only fire his low drive straight at Westwood when he had more time and a bit of composure from him could have seen United fall behind.

Then two minutes later Brown once more had the opportunity as he flew onto a through-ball from Gareth Jelleyman while a static Carlisle defence appealed in vain for an offside flag. Brown went in on goal and hit a low shot across the face which Westwood seemed to get a fingertip on and the ball pinged away to safety off the base of the post. It was a lucky escape for the Cumbrians and if one of those chances had gone in then the afternoon could have turned out very differently, but hey that’s football.

In the 27th minute Simon Hackney broke away down the left-wing and the ex-Woodley Sports man delivered a good cross into the box which was just inches too high for Nade to get a strong header on it. Pressman threw his considerable bulk away to the right to catch Nade’s effort in what was a classic example of "a save for the cameras."

The lack of gambling on balls played into the box cost the Blues dear a few minutes later as Hackney this time drove a low ball across the box which flew harmlessly out for a goal-kick with no United player able to get anywhere near it.

Realistically, apart from the chances that both sides had, it really was a poor first-half of football as both sides struggled to keep hold of the ball. One incident late in the opening period encapsulated the game in a nutshell as the ball was headed back and forth for what seemed like two or three minutes. Nade was the only United player who seemed to be making any effort as he continually won aerial challenges and worked hard for the cause in defending from the front.

Both sides went into the break hoping to serve up better fare in the second-half as each of them knew that it looked like one goal would win the game.

The Blues seemed to come out of the blocks slowly after the interval and within only twenty seconds Brown headed wide of the United goal from a Baptiste cross.

Two minutes later Aranalde was the first player to enter referee Mason’s notebook as a late challenge on Barker just inside the United half saw the Basque left-back receive a yellow card.

Shortly afterwards Surinamese defender Gus Uhlenbeek hit a good cross into the Cumbrians’ box but just as Giles Coke looked set to meet it United right-back Beherall stole in to head away from danger. It was one bright spot in a dark afternoon for Beherall who had a stinker for the Blues. His distribution was terrible and if he wasn’t passing the ball to a Stags player he was slicing it away into touch. Simmo eventually put him out of his misery and brought Paul Arnison on in his place in the 55th minute.

United started to up the pressure though and Hawley went close in the 51st minute when he hit a rising drive narrowly wide from the edge of the box after a through ball from Adam Murray.

The Blues looked to have taken the lead in 54th minute but the "goal" was disallowed by the official. Nade challenged Pressman in the air from an Adam Murray cross and as the keeper flapped and Hackney stroked the ball home into the empty net referee Mason was blowing his whistle for an innocuous foul on the keeper.

Mason officiated very fussily throughout and seemed particularly interested in free-kicks being taken from the exact blade of grass. Pedantic moment of the match though goes to fourth official John Carter when Jelleyman wanted to change his boots. The Mansfield kit-man laid the boots slightly outside the Stags’ technical area and Carter walked forward and moved the boots back inside the white box for an early contender for officiating moment of the season.

Brown again wasted a good chance for the Nottinghamshire outfit three minutes later when he could only shoot weakly straight at Westwood after the ineffectual Billy had given the ball away in midfield. A minute earlier Jelleyman had been booked for the visitors after a crude challenge on Adam Murray.

United were really upping the tempo now as Mansfield seemed to drop deeper and deeper into their own half and Hawley had Pressman scrambling back as his header just dropped onto the roof of the Stags net.

Former Blues winger Adam Rundle took a heavy knock shortly afterwards and was replaced by the striker of many clubs, Adrian Littlejohn, as the Stags had to change things round a little in midfield.

O’Brien came on for Hackney in the 74th minute after Holmes had replaced Billy seven minutes earlier. Hackney struggled a bit throughout the game as his slight frame was continually knocked off the ball by stronger opposition players. When he did get the ball at his feet with time the young winger put some lovely crosses in and his pace is exciting, if only he was a bigger lad.

United finally made the breakthrough ten minutes from the end with a wonderful finish from Hawley. Lumsdon hit a fantastic 40-yard ball over the top straight into Hawley’s stride. As the ex-Walsall striker held off Stags defender centre-half Baptiste he looked up and hit an inch-perfect lob over Pressman from the right-hand edge of the box and into the top near corner to send 5044 of the 5293 strong crowd into raptures.

Hawley foolishly blooted his copy-book as he ran towards the East stand twirling his shirt above his head. Referee Mason had no choice but to book the striker and it's a bit daft to get yourself yellow-carded for something that is so easy to avoid. At some stage in the season that booking will be the fifth one that leads to a suspension whatever the circumstances regarding the goal.

Mysteriously after spending the previous twenty minutes getting "injuries" all over the field, as soon as Mansfield went 1-0 down they didn’t have an injury for the final ten minutes.

That final period was played out with little goal-mouth action as O’Brien struggled to make headway down the left-wing and United seemed to run about five minutes off the clock in the far corner with a succession of throw-ins and corners.

Just as Blues fans were starting to breath easily Mansfield could have scored with the almost the last touch of the game in the fourth minute of added time. Nade brought down Giles Coke 30 yards out on the left and United fans waited nervously as Coke lined up to swing the ball into the middle.

The free-kick came flying into the Cumbrians box and with Westwood flapping at the ball Baptiste was left alone at the far-post but his headed effort on goal was apologetic and went well wide. Fortunately for United referee Mason had already blown for what looked like an invisible infringement on Westwood so any goal would have been chalked off anyway.

A minute later the final whistle came and it was a relief all round for United fans, players and coaching staff alike as the Blues ended their run of four defeats with a deserved victory.

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