Carlisle United (Edmondson 30) 1 Sutton United (Randall 45) 1
Ryan Edmondson headed Carlisle in front on the half hour, but Sutton deservedly equalised when Will Randall converted Donovan Wilson's cross at close range after his first shot had been saved by Tomas Holy. Report to follow
Sutton made the long trip back from Brunton Park with a draw that was the least U's deserved after a battling performance against a Carlisle side who rarely looked likely to earn the win that would have seen them take closer order at the top of the League Two table. Undeservedly behind after half an hour, Sutton struck back right at the end of the first half, a goal that gave the half time scoreline a fairer look, and comfortably protected the point in a second half that was short on clear chances.
With Omar Bugiel's return from suspension the only change from the side that had beaten Rochdale a fortnight ago, Sutton made the better start but were unable to make it count, a cross that just eluded Craig Eastmond and Will Randall the closest to a breakthrough, while Rob Milsom's free kick was saved by Tomas Holy.
Carlisle's best moment came following a Sutton corner as a quick counter attack saw Kristian Dennis and Jon Mellish combine to set up Ryan Edmondson, but he miscued his shot wide. However from a corner of their own Carlisle did go ahead, Owen Moxon chipping the ball in to the box after the corner had been played short, and Edmondson this time on target with a close range header.
The goal had come against the general run of play, and although Carlisle had a good spell during which Callum Guy shot wide, U's hit back and just before the interval Donovan Wilson chased Omar Bugiel's cross on the right and cut back a first time cross which was met by Randall, and although Holy saved well he was unable to prevent Randall netting from the rebound.
In a scrappy second half both sides had the ball in the net but were denied by referee Lewis Smith's whistle, Wilson stabbing in for U's only for Joe KIzzi to be penalised for pushing, and Edmondson netting from close range from Jack Stretton's cross but Stretton flagged offside. Edmondson did put one header just over the bar, and at the other end Bugiel almost caught Holy out with a low cross from the right that hit the side netting.
Ali Smith returned to action on the hour as a replacement for Adam Lovatt, but there was another injury worry for U's as Randall, a constant threat to the home defence, was forced off just before the end after being caught on the ankle as he tried to launch a counter attack, and late Carlisle pressure saw Jack Rose tip away a corner at full stretch under pressure, but neither side could find a winner and U's were able to celebrate a well earned draw with the 70 supporters who had travelled north for the lunchtime kick off.
Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi, R Milsom, A Lovatt (sub A Smith 60), C Eastmond, L John, E Boldewijn, J Neufville, O Bugiel(su K Kouassi 79) D Wilson, W Randall(sub S Hart 87) Subs n/u L Ward, T Fadahunsi, L Gambin, C Kendall. Booked: Eastmond, Hart, Kizzi
Carlisle: T Holy, J Ellis, J Armer, O Moxon, C Whelan, P Huntington, J Gibson, C Guy (sub J Devitt 83), Edmondson, K Dennis(sub J Stretton 68), J Mellish. Subs n/u M Kelly, S Hilton, T Charters, T Sho-Silva, J Harris. Booked: Guy, Whelan
Referee: Lewis Smith
Attendance: 4,752 (70 away)
Photo courtesy of Mark Fuller/Carlisle United FC