Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Signs Look Good as the Cumbrians' Pre-Season Ends Well

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Signs Look Good as the Cumbrians' Pre-Season Ends Well

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner Sports Writer

CARLISLE 2 STMIRREN 1 CARLISLE United closed their pre-season with a win which gave cause for optimism they can put right the wrongs of the previous campaign.

Despite the home side wearing their all-yellow away strip, there were still plenty of clues at to what the locals can expect to see on the return to League Two.

Graham Kavanagh fielded the same XI who started at Dumbarton earlier in the week and therefore will probably line up against Luton Town in seven days' time.

It featured four summer signings in Danny Grainger, Alex Marrow, Billy Paynter and Gary Dicker.

The side Kavanagh has rebuilt after relegation is powerful in stature yet still encouraged to play the game properly, even if their techniques are not always quite up to it.

When it did work it worked well, and Carlisle would have started the second half with a beautiful move started in their left corner if only Dave Symington's right-wing cross had picked out a yellow shirt.

They lined up in the 3-5-2 formation which was all the rage at the last World Cup.

In the final half-hour Kavanagh showed he has a tactical Plan B, but this looks like Plan A for the coming campaign.

Before the switch to a back four and a diamond midfield the tip of which, Danny Kearns, would occasionally join the front two, Plan A worked quite well.

Sadly, League Two versus Scottish Premier League is not the mismatch it perhaps ought to be and the Cumbrians had the better of things.

It started with free-kicks in either D - Symington hammered his within reach of Marian Kello, while Kenny McLean's went into the wall.

The third free-kick, again for a foul on Brad Potts, was decisive. Grainger curled in against his old Buddies, then cupped his ears to the 369 away fans who used to sing his name.

Carlisle took the initiative, mid-fielder Marrow having a shot deflected after the latest heavy-handed St Mirren tackle by Jim Goodwin. Courtney Meppen-Walter put the ball wide from the corner.

Fortunately for Goodwin in particular, Jeremy Simpson was in no mood to be wasting his cards on a friendly. …

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