Carlisle United denied the long-awaited victory with a Stevenage strike in the 96th minute

Dan Butterworth zette United op een 2-0 voorsprong, maar de Blues werden vervolgens teruggeplaatst <i>(Image: Barbara Abbott)</i>” bad-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/ 289f4669d88e” src= “–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/ 669d88e”/></div>
<p><figcaption class=Dan Butterworth put United 2-0 ahead, but the Blues were then put back (Image: Barbara Abbott)

Carlisle United 2 Stevenage 2: Carlisle’s hopes of a long-awaited home win were dashed by a Stevenage equalizer in the 96th minute.

Terence Vancooten struck deep into extra time to complete the visitors’ late battle.

Dan Butterworth had put Carlisle in control in both halves with a goal.

The Blues led 2-0 until the 82nd minute, but Alex MacDonald’s penalty gave Steve Evans’ side a lifeline, leaving fellow substitute Vancooten to die.

It denied United a first home win since New Year’s Day, with Paul Simpson’s side 15 points from safety with seven games remaining in League One.

It was another afternoon of frustration after Cumbrians appeared to have the better of their play-off side for long periods as they chased visitors, in front of 7,634 spectators at a match in which the Blues reduced ticket prices as part of their #onecarlisleone community game.

Butterworth put them ahead in the 13th minute after a dramatic move, before a brilliant strike from the forward made it 2-0 after 65 minutes.

News and star: Dan Butterworth celebrates his second goal

News and star: Dan Butterworth celebrates his second goal

Dan Butterworth celebrates his second goal (Image: Barbara Abbott)

However, MacDonald sent Lewis the wrong way after being fouled by Dylan McGeouch in the penalty area, and after Jack Diamond failed to close on the ball with a great chance for United, Vancooten was quickest to react to a save from Harry Lewis to save Stevenage a point.

Blues boss Paul Simpson made one change to the side starting after last weekend’s defeat at Shrewsbury Town, recalling Taylor Charters as Diamond was dropped to the bench.

There was another start for Butterworth while again no place in the squad for Paul Huntington or Fin Back.

Evans’ Stevenage side featured five changes from their previous line-up as Elliott List, Nathan Thompson, Finley Burns, Jake Forster-Caskey and Kane Hemmings all came on for Luther Wildin, Vancooten, Vadaine Oliver, Ben Thompson and Jamie Reid, the last on international duty with Northern Ireland.

The visitors were also without suspended defender Carl Piergianni.

Carlisle made a positive start and could have taken the lead within two minutes when Jack Armer pounced on a defensive slip from Nathan Thompson and crossed in front of Luke Armstrong, who was free in the box, but the striker was unable to deliver the throw on target.

Stevenage looked to put some pressure on the home defense but failed to create any chances before the Blues took the lead.

Harrison Neal was the instigator against his former club with an excellent pass as he spotted Jack Ellis’ run past the left side of the Stevenage defence.

Ellis crossed the first time – and Butterworth was free to fire home from close range.

Moments later there was another blow for the visitors when Jake Forster-Caskey was left out with an injury, so he was replaced by Vancooten.

United looked to remain in the foreground and a positive run from Jon Mellish took him past two players before Ellis’ header from the resulting cross would not quite run in front of Armstrong.

At the other end, Jordan Roberts had a shot blocked from a series of Stevenage corners but the visitors otherwise struggled to break through United’s determined defence, which was well protected by diligent midfield work from the likes of Neal.

Charters miss a shot as United look for a moment before Armer’s cross almost takes out Ellis, while Stevenage score nine corners in the opening 45 minutes without hurting the Cumbrians.

News and star: Taylor Charters on the ball for UnitedNews and star: Taylor Charters on the ball for United

News and star: Taylor Charters on the ball for United

Taylor Charters on the ball for United (Image: Barbara Abbott)

It meant United were ahead at half-time in a home league game for the first time this season, and Evans responded by making a three-way substitution at half-time.

Early in the half, Nick Freeman had a shot blocked for Stevenage, while Butterworth was also denied after Armstrong fed him during the break.

United should have had a second when Butterworth, from the left, found Charters in space on his way to goal, but the midfielder’s touch was unconvincing and Stevenage came back to deny him.

But when the resulting corner broke for Butterworth, he raced away from the spotlight outside the penalty area before turning and directing a brilliant left-footed shot away from keeper Craig MacGillivray and in off the post.

Stevenage tried to supply tall substitute Oliver in the United penalty area but he headed one cross wide as Ben Thompson failed to make the most of a Ben Barclay interception that rolled into his path.

However, the visitors did get a route back when sub MacDonald attempted a corner on the left and then went down under McGeouch’s challenge.

Ref Daniel Middleton eventually pointed to the spot – and MacDonald sent Lewis the wrong way.

Carlisle could then have put the game away in the 87th minute when Charters sub fed Diamond with a measured pass, but the sub – clean through – saw his finish saved by MacGillivray.

At the other end, United were faced with a late bombardment of deliveries, and Freeman was seen to have a shot blocked at the second attempt.

News and star: Jack Diamond failed to make it 3-1 with this opportunityNews and star: Jack Diamond failed to make it 3-1 with this opportunity

News and star: Jack Diamond failed to make it 3-1 with this opportunity

Jack Diamond failed to make it 3-1 with this opportunity (Image: Barbara Abbott)

Carlisle looked to have held on but a final cross from the left saw Oliver fire a header home and when Lewis parried it, Vancooten was there on the left firing home to save the game for Stevenage.

It was a first point in five games for United, but it came in bittersweet fashion and it still seems likely that relegation will be confirmed in the coming games.

United: Lewis, Barclay, Lavelle, Mellish, Ellis, Armer, McGeouch, Neal, Charters, Butterworth (Diamond 79), Armstrong. Not used: Breeze, Gibson, McCalmont, Robinson, Maguire, Emmanuel.

Goals: Butterworth 13, 65.

Booked: Charters, Neal, Lewis.

Stevenage: MacGillivray, Butler, N Thompson, Sweeney, Forster-Caskey (Vancooten 15), Freeman, Burns, L Thompson (B Thompson 46), Roberts (Guinness-Walker 46), List (MacDonald 67), Hemmings (Oliver 46). Not used: Ashby-Hammond, Smith.

Goals: MacDonald 82pen, Vancooten 90.

Booked: Freeman, Roberts.

Reference: Daniel Middleton.

Crowd: 7,634 (232 Stevenage fans).

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