26 December 2020 18:42
The Blues seemed destined to end the day at the top of League Two after Aaron Hayden, Lewis Alessandra and Omari Patrick all scored in the first half. And Bolton then staged a dramatic late fightback as Nathan Delfouneso and Peter Kioso scored in the dying minutes. Kioso was then sent off for a second bookable offence while both sides hit the woodwork late on. United, with a strong wind behind, them, besieged Bolton in the opening stages and were 2-0 up after just seven minutes. The defender, who started at right-back, got his head on a good Callum Guy free-kick as Carlisle capitalised on Bolton indecision to go in front.
This time, after Ricardo Santos had brought down Alessandra, the midfielder worked a clever set-piece routine, pulling his free-kick low across the box for Alessandra to tuck home. Carlisle, with fit-again Rod McDonald making his first appearance at centre-half for more than a month, were already dominant and all over Bolton with their pressing and set-pieces. Patrick's header was kept out by Matt Gilks after a Joshua Kayode long throw, and later he forced the visiting keeper to push his shot over the bar. Guy's deliveries almost set up more chances, while Alessandra should have made it three when breaking clean through, but lifted his finish too high. Ex-United man Gethin Jones and Joe Riley were both booked for fouls before Bolton had penalty appeals turned down when Kioso went down under left-back Jack Armer's challenge. Their boss Ian Evatt was booked for his protests, before Carlisle's 2,000 fans were cheering again in the 36th minute. The visitors then pulled one back shortly before the break when Kioso's deflected cross was headed home by Thomason at the back post. Jon Mellish - recalled after suspension in place of Gime Toure - could then have added a Carlisle fourth, but pulled his shot wide in first-half added time. Bolton sent on Lloyd Isgrove after the break and he set up Antoni Sarcevic for a shot which Rhys Bennett blocked. Patrick then curled a shot wide as United went for more goals, sub Isgrove then forcing McDonald into a vital interception from a dangerous cross. Alessandra tested Gilks with a volley from outside the box before Sarcevic pulled a shot wide from a decent central position. Alessandra then came closer to a fourth when his shot following a Kayode throw clipped the bar, with Joe Riley then curling a shot narrowly over for the Cumbrians. After Kioso avoided a second yellow card despite a foul on Kayode, the latter was next to go close, firing over after linking with sub Gime Toure with Mellish well-placed to his right as Carlisle went back on the attack. First, Sarcevic got free on the right and his low cross was tapped in by Delfouneso. And a minute later, United struggled to clear a corner, which was sent back across for Kioso to head home. The visitors then almost completed a dramatic turnaround when Thomason hit the outside of the post in the third added minute. Kioso was then sent off for a second yellow card when he brought down Kayode. And United almost snatched a winner with the final kick when a corner fell for Mellish, but he hit the outside of the post. United: Farman, Hayden, Armer, McDonald, Bennett, Guy, Riley, Mellish, Patrick (Toure 78), Alessandra, Kayode. Goals: Hayden 5, Alessandra 7, Patrick 36. Booked: Riley, Bennett, Mellish, Farman. Bolton Wanderers: Gilks, Jones, Almeida Santos, Delaney (Greenidge 76), Baptiste (Isgrove 46), Kioso, Tutte, Thomason, Sarcevic, Delfouneso, Doyle (Brockbank 90). Goals: Thomason 44, Delfouneso 87, Kioso 88 Booked: Jones, Evatt, Kioso, Thomason.