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Carlisle United 3 Gillingham 1 – FA Cup second round replay

By Luke Cawdell

Gillingham’s FA Cup campaign came to a halt at League 2 Carlisle United on Tuesday night.

Two first-half goals from Carlisle’s Hallam Hope left Gillingham with it all to do in the second half of their second round replay.

Scott Wagstaff’s early second half goal put the Gills back in the game but Hope was denied a hat-trick by the woodwork.

Gills keeper Tomas Holy can only watch on as Hallam Hope scores for Carlisle. Picture: Stuart Walker
Gills keeper Tomas Holy can only watch on as Hallam Hope scores for Carlisle. Picture: Stuart Walker

Shaun Miller added a stoppage-time third for Carlisle to seal their win.

The Cumbrians will meet Sheffield Wednesday at home in the third round on January 6, while the Gills will have a free weekend.

Gillingham went into the game off the back of a big league win over Bristol Rovers and boss Steve Lovell showed he meant business by naming an unchanged team for the cup clash.

Carlisle had form against League 1 opposition, knocking Oldham out in round one and taking the Gills to a replay after drawing the first tie at Priestfield.

Lovell switched back to a wing-back system for the game, matching up the way their hosts set up, but it was the home side who struck first, scoring after just seven minutes.

Gillingham had lost possession to Gary Liddle and a good move involving Jamie Devitt and Richie Bennett led to a chance for Hope, scoring past Tomas Holy with the aid of a deflection.

The Gills had a number of set-pieces that they were unable to make the most of and it was shortly after their best chance that Carlisle doubled their lead.

Mark Byrne’s clever pass got things started but Luke O’Neill’s dangerous cross was cleared by Clint Hill. From Lee Martin’s subsequent corner, Alex Lacey headed goalwards, only to be denied by goalkeeper Jack Bonham.

Carlisle went straight down the other end and made it 2-0 following a swift attack. Reggie Lambe picked out Bennett’s run through Gills’ defence and the cross was met by a grateful Hope, scoring the second with 37 minutes gone.

Hope had only been used late on from the subs’ bench during the first encounter but his finishing was the difference on Tuesday night. The Gills, who had seen plenty of the ball themselves, reverted to 4-4-2 but were unable to get a goal back before the break.

Holy had to come off his line seconds after the restart when Bennett almost got in on goal but it wasn’t long before the Gills got themselves back in the tie.

Martin’s ball through to Parker looked to have been on the heavy side but the forward got to it, pulled it back, and Wagstaff got there to finish past Bonham, just two minutes after the restart.

The Gills put the pressure on once they had the goal back as the game really opened up. Another Martin free-kick caused problems in the Carlisle area but clear-cut chances were in short supply.

At the other end Holy comfortably held onto Devitt’s effort and Mike Jones shot well wide.

Martin created a great chance for Wagstaff with 15 minutes left, pulling the ball back, but the rising shot was held by the keeper. The Gills had been dominant since their goal but Hope almost sealed it with a shot that bounced off the upright.

The Gills finished with four men upfront, as Conor Wilkinson and Elliott List joined Eaves and Parker up top.

Eaves headed a late chance wide and Parker’s low shot was saved.

The Gills were committing plenty of men forward, with Max Ehmer also going upfront, allowing Carlisle the space to hit a third, with Shaun Miller firing home at the death.

Carlisle: Bonham, Grainger (T Miller 91mins), Brown (S Miller 62mins), Liddle, Parkes, Hope, Jones, Devitt (O’Sullivan 94mis), Bennett, Lambe, Hill. Subs: Nabi, Cosgrove, Ellis, Rigg.

Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Wagstaff, Lacey (Garmston 64mins), Ehmer, Nugent, Byrne (Wilkinson 85mins), Clare (List 81mins), Martin, Parker, Eaves. Subs: Nelson, Zakuani, Hessenthaler, Cundle.

Attendance: 2,357 (88 away).

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