Vale 44-7 Carlisle

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VALE of Lune came away from Warwick Road with the victory they expected and the bonus point secured against the league’s bottom club.

But they also left the friendly surrounds of Carlisle with some frustration following a below par performance during which they had chances to score many more points.

During the opening exchanges Vale looked to impose themselves on a team missing several regulars.

Adam Macluskie appeared to have scored, but the referee adjudged otherwise and not long after, the centre dropped the ball with the line at his mercy.

It took Vale more than half an hour to open their account when Gareth Tudor forced his way over for a try after a quickly taken tapped penalty. Tom Carter missed with the conversion, but made amends seven minutes later when he improved a try scored by James Hodder.

Carlisle suddenly forced their way back into the game when their hooker Tom Graham barged his way over for a try after considerable confusion in the Vale defence.

When Glen Weightman added the conversion, the Cumbrians were back in the game and with the interval looming, Vale were briefly on the back foot.

It took a bit of magic from Jimmy Moore to rescue the situation, the Vale stand-off showing football skills to match those on display at the nearby Carlisle United ground, kicking and dribbling the ball around a bemused Carlisle defence for an unconverted try.

Vale started the second half in a rush. Hodder had a thrilling run out of defence, but lacked support and the ball was lost. Then in the 55th minute Wilson finally got his chance and with a typical run, shrugged off defenders and raced away for his try which Carter converted.

Now Vale had the breathing space and were beginning to look more adventurous, but had a setback when Jonty Higgin had to leave the field after getting an elbow in the eye.

But his replacement James Curran had only been on the field five minutes when he was on the end of a thrilling Vale move and crossed for the try of the game. For once Vale got the quick ball and quick hands got it out to the right wing where Curran darted over for the unconverted touchdown.

Soon after Hodder got his second try, following up Wilson’s kick ahead and barging a Carlisle defender off the ball. It was a somewhat fortunate touchdown, many feeling that the Vale winger had more than hampered his opponent, but moments later Hodder was denied a more legitimate claim for a try after following up another kick ahead.

Now leading 34-7, most expected Vale to turn the screw on their young and much less experienced opponents, but the reverse happened. Carlisle’s forwards fought back and penned Vale back into defence. The cause was not helped when the veteran Lee Farnworth had to leave the field and with all replacements already in the game, Vale were down to 14 fit men.

Then as the game limped lamely to its conclusion, Vale suddenly found an extra gear. Wilson and Moore combined in a thrilling break out of defence, the forwards managed to keep the ball alive and it was recycled and quickly transferred to Carter who crossed in the corner.

Then in the dying moments of the game Macluskie got the try he deserved when another quick handling move provided him with the space to cross for an unconverted touchdown.

The victory moved Vale into third place in the league and left Carlisle pointless and drifting at the bottom of the table, but there is no doubt with so much young talent on display their day will come.

Vale of Lune: Carter, Hodder, Macluskie, Higgin (Curran 65), Barker, Moore, Wilson, Cowey, Powers, Hanson (Woodward 10), Farnworth, Tudor, Clarkson, Lin, Baines (Garnett 55).