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08.11.2008 @ 15:00 Brunton Park Crowd: 3921
Carlisle United 1 - 1 Grays Athletic
Referee: D Foster FA Cup / 1st Round-Match

Gary Madine (83) Jamie Stuart (52)
Starting Line-ups
Ben Williams
David Raven
Evan Horwood
Danny Livesey
Josh Gowling
John Welsh
Marc Bridge-Wilkinson
Graham Kavanagh
Simon Hackney
Danny Graham
Jennison Myrle-Williams
David Button
Rob Gier
Gavin Dayes
Jamie Stuart
Jon Ashton
Fabian Wilnis
Sam Sloma
Ishmael Welsh
Barry Cogan
Stuart Thurgood
Andre McCollin
Chris Howarth
Danny Carlton
Luke Joyce
Cleveland Taylor
Richard Keogh
Gary Madine
Jeff Smith
Steve Arnold
Stuart Elliott
Kenny Davis
Luke Hickie
Stefan Bailey
Bradley Gray
Jamie Taylor
Gary Madine -> John Welsh (59)
Cleveland Taylor -> Jennison Myrle-Williams (59)
Jeff Smith -> Evan Horwood (74)
Stuart Elliott -> Gavin Dayes (68)
Kenny Davis -> Fabian Wilnis (70)
Luke Hickie -> Ishmael Welsh (90)
Yellow cards
None None
Red cards
None None
Match report |
Last week, at Kidderminster, you could see the first signs of the Burnett revolution at Grays Athletic.

Today, at Burndon Park in Carlisle, the revolution continued apace as Grays very nearly toppled a team two leagues above them.

Carlisle are in an awful state, having lost ten out of their last eleven and sacked their manager John Ward earlier in the week. They have, however some wonderfully passionate fans. The players even got a round of applause for warming up!

With so many players cup-tied, Wayne Burnett put his faith in his experienced players. Remarkably, he also put great faith in Jon Ashton up front. He had played 45 mins against Maldon on tuesday night and so obviously felt he could fulfill a role. With Ishmael Welsh on the right, Barry Cogan in the centre and Fabian Wilnis playing left back, this was either square pegs or a matter of belief in those with the badges of league experience.

Carlisle possessed class. In the 3rd minute, Myrie-Williams burst through from midfield with a 40 yard run which was only thwarted when the imperious Jamie Stuart intercepted in the area.

At the other end, Burnett protege Andre McCollin produced a sublime piece of Berbatovian skill to slip past a defender but shot weakly past.

For all their neat triangles and expansive play, Carlisle couldn’t threaten Grays and with Stuart Thurgood smothering the veteran Graham Kavanagh, the natives soon grew restless and Grays were starting to take a grip of this game.

If there was an area to exploit for Carlisle, it was between Rob Gier and Gavin Dayes. Speed will always threaten Gier and on a few occasions got round the back but couldn't finish.

Welsh was getting plenty of possession, threatening slightly but still not biting deep enough into the area. But he was putting a shift in, covering and protecting.

In the 17th minute, another wonderful mazy run and shot by Andre McCollin was well saved by reserve keeper Ben Williams.

Carlisle continued to let Grays come onto them. Thurgood produced a 50 yard cross field ball that had the home fans applauding. In the 31st minute, another shot by Thurgood was easily held by Williams while at the other end Gavin Dayes produced another fine last ditch tackle.

The boos rang out at half time as the fans feared an upset here. Carlisle rallied in the second half but dimply didn't have the engine, heart or tactical nouse that Team Grays possessed.

In the 51st minute, Fabian Wilnis sent over a chipped free kick into the right side of the Carlisle area. Jon Ashton headed it down into the path of Jamie Stuart who produced a marvellous 180 degree swivel and shot past Williams to put the Blues in front.

This was now where experience was needed. Carlisle came at Grays but the Blues kept their shape. Fabian Wilnis was having a quiet classic putting all those years to use. Sloma was quiet but effective and he could see that they had to go for the kill as he pushed up. But this was a difficult balancing act and Grays from the hour were starting to tire.

Carlisle rang the changes with teenager Gary Madine and erratic Cleveland Taylor. They both transformed the game with the tall teen getting his head onto a series of corners only foiled by the majestic David Button.

McCollin was operating on his own but holding up the ball well. You started to wonder what a combination he could be with a rejuvenated Slabber.

In the 68th minute, Hackney tested Button again with a direct shot and seemed re-energised but Gier was also putting his experience to fine use as well.

The Blues were helped no end by the 50 Grays fans who kept singing, chanting throughout the game, trying to get the team to the winning line.

The management team tried to plug the gaps, bringing on Stuart Elliott and Kenny Davis but it was getting desperate. In the 84th minute, Gary Madine headed in from a Kavanagh corner to save the League One teams reputation.

They almost stole it on the whistle when a fine 30 yard volley by Bridge-Wilkinson screeched over the bar.

The whistle went and Grays didn't know whether to celebrate or commiserate. They acknowledged their fantastic fans and were then met with a standing ovation by the Carlisle faithful.

The question will now be whether Grays have missed the moment. Not necessarily. This could be a magnificent night down at the New Rec. It will take all the marketing strategies of the club to get the borough on board. It has all the hallmarks of a titanic battle. Carlisle have two more league games before that to sort out their problems.

What is not in doubt is that Wayne Burnett produced a classic cup result with stretched resources. He has the hunger and drive which is going to take the club far. They will survive this year and go on to better things. On this form, a good bet for the FA Trophy?

Wayne is the type of manager you will see on a wet sunday on Hackney Marshes or acting on a tip-off that there is a lad at Aveley worth a look.

He has fine soft skills where he will put the arm around the player but he will also not suffer foolishness - as with Luke Hickie against Maldon.

The right combination of smart play, hunger, experience and taking the chances in front of goal could produce a great night at the New Rec.

Report by Michael Casey
Thanks to Your Thurrock for the match report