Stunning first-half display helps Carlisle to victory

Carlisle United
Nathan Thomas scored twice in the first 10 minutes to set Carlisle on their way to a 4-2 win over Crawley.

Nathan Thomas scored twice in the first 10 minutes to set Carlisle on their way to a 4-2 win over Crawley.

The Cumbrians made hard work of it after blasting into a four-goal lead before the break.

Thomas’s brace plus strikes from Callum O’Hare and Hallam Hope all came inside 31 minutes before Ashley Nathaniel-George pulled one back for Crawley.

Anthony Gerrard put through his own net for the only goal of the second half.

Carlisle got off to the perfect start with two classy individual efforts by Thomas.

The on-loan Sheffield United winger grabbed his first in the seventh minute, cutting in from the right and firing left-footed across goalkeeper Glenn Morris and into the far corner.

He was at it again two minutes later, waltzing past three Crawley defenders inside the area before slipping a low shot wide of the despairing Morris.

Carlisle’s third goal came from O’Hare, who followed in to pick up the rebound and slot home after Hope’s thunderbolt from just outside the area had cannoned back off the chest of Morris.

O’Hare had been hurt in an earlier collision with the goalkeeper and the goal was to prove his last contribution of the game as he was promptly replaced by Jason Kennedy.

It got worse for Crawley in the 31st minute when they surrendered possession in their own half and Hope went on to drill a low 20-yard effort past Morris.

The visitors pulled one back a minute before the break when Nathaniel-George weaved his way into the box and exchanged passes with Ollie Palmer before slipping the ball past Adam Collin.

Crawley improved in the second half and Filipe Morais missed a great chance from 10 yards, scooping his shot high over the crossbar.

The visitors’ second goal in the 76th minute came as Carlisle defender Gerrard looked to clear Lewis Young’s ball from the right but he could only send it past Collin.

Collin produced a fine save to deny Reece Grego-Cox as Carlisle held on to keep alive their play-off hopes.