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Match Reports

REPORT Carlisle United 1 Oxford United 3

Harris at the double as United beat Carlisle. Full time report

13 January 2024

Match Reports

REPORT Carlisle United 1 Oxford United 3

Harris at the double as United beat Carlisle. Full time report

13 January 2024

Oxford  United kicked off the second part of their season in perfect style today as they resumed their league campaign with a 3-1 win at Carlisle.

FA Cup and EFL Trophy games had served as a punctuation point for the U's who returned to Sky Bet League 1 action with an excellent win thanks to two goals from top scorer Mark Harris and a fine strike from the ever-improving Tyler Goodrham.

New keeper Jamie Cumming gave an assured performance on his first start, while Elliott Moore’s return after illness gave the U’s a more stable base to work from as they patiently tried to open up a well-organised Carlisle defence. It took time, but once ahead they never looked back.

The crucial first goal came after 39 minutes and was roundly booed by the home fans, who felt that a Harris drive had bobbled wide for a goal kick. Instead referee Jacob Miles felt that keeper Harry Lewis had touched it round the post and awarded a corner. Cameron Brannagan swung the ball to the back post, Moore headed back and Harris scrambled home his third goal in four games.

Harris goal 1 (5).jpg

A vital touch off the heel of Moore kept it at 1-0 at the break, sending an Alfie McCalmont effort wide of the left-hand post. And then if the home jeers had been loud for the first goal, they reached a crescendo three minutes into the second half when the Carlisle fans felt that Harris was offside as he ran clear, rounded Lewis and fired home via the inside of the right-hand post.

Ten goals this season for the Welsh international they call Sparky, and a two-goal cushion against a deflated home side. Oh, and Stan Mills? That one was for you.


The boos turned to the rhythmic clack-clack of upturned seats as the home fans began to make for the exits on 69 minutes when Goodrham sealed their fate with a trademark goal, cutting in from the left and firing across the despairing Lewis to make it 3-0 with the pick of the bunch and leave the result beyond reasonable doubt, despite McCalmont's consolation three minutes later that briefly gave the Cumbrians a flicker of hope.

goodrham goal (3).jpg

Cumming still made an unbelievable save just to remind everyone that his new side are in very safe hands, but those in front of him had all done their jobs expertly and with 20 games to go they are in an excellent spot from which to make their move.

Eight away wins this season for the U's, who are only going to grow stronger as players come back from injury and new faces strengthen the squad. In 1996, defender Matty Elliott spanked* home a crucial goal on this very ground to spark a remarkable run that ended in promotion. Who knows, could Harris's brace be the spark this time around?

It's Carlisle away. Long way to go in every possible way. Enjoy the journey.

Att: 7,827

Away: 562

Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Edmunds and Darrell Fisher

*his word not mine

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