Accrington Stanley move up to fourth in the League Two table after being held to a draw against Carlisle United.

Both teams were reduced to ten men with red cards in each half at the Wham Stadium.

Jabo Ibehre was sent off for the Cumbrians in the opening minute before Hallum Hope gave Keith Curle’s side the lead inside the opening 15 minutes of the match.

Stanley fought back well following the interval and substitute Terry Gornell headed the Reds back level from close-range just four minutes after full-back Adam Buxton was shown a second yellow card.

A minute hadn’t even passed when the first incident took place as Ibehre saw red for a high tackle.

The Carlisle striker challenged for a loose ball with a raised boot, but only found the chest of Stanley  defender Matty Pearson and was given his marching orders by referee Jeremy Simpson.

John Coleman’s men looked to take advantage of having the extra man and Sean McConville was the first the test the visitors’ defence.

The winger wriggled his way into the area and looked to place his shot into the top corner, but the effort was comfortably saved by Carlisle goalkeeper Mark Gillespie.

But it was  away side who broke the deadlock through wideman Hope.

Having scored in his previous visit to the Wham Stadium with Bury earlier this season, Hope was on the scoresheet again after rounding Ross Etheridge and tapping home into an empty Accrington net after seizing onto a Buxton backpass.

Rommy Boco was making his first start for Stanley since returning for a third spell at the club and came close to equalising for the home side.

The attacking midfielder received the ball inside the area before turning and finding the bottom corner but was adjudged to be offside.

Andy Procter was the second of the two enforced changes due to suspensions for Matt Crooks and Shay McCartan. His glancing header from Seamus Conneely’s cross flew just past the left hand post.

Stanley continued to create chances after the half-time interval and McConville stung the palms of Gillespie with a low drive from just outside the area.

As Carlisle began to counter attack from the resulting corner, Buxton picked up a second booking for a foul on Charlie Wyke, leaving both sides down to ten men.

The response was strong and the Reds were back on level terms within four minutes of Buxton’s dismissal.

Gornell had replaced Boco at the break and made a huge impact just before the hour mark to give Stanley the confidence to push for a winner in the final half hour.

From the edge of the six yard box, the striker nodded home McConville’s cross, hoping to spark a second successive comeback in space of four days.

Stanley pushed forward in search of a second and the legs of Gillespie denied Billy Kee from a narrow angle after Gornell’s flick on into the striker’s path.

The visitors made a number of changes in a bid to find a late winner themselves, although Alex Gilliead’s effort from a breakaway was well held by Etheridge down to his left.

The draw leaves Accrington unbeaten in their last seven home matches.


Starting line-up: Etheridge; Halliday, Wright, Pearson (Davies 37′), Buxton; Conneeley, Procter; Mingoia, Boco (Gornell HT’), McConville; Kee

Subs not used: Mooney, Wakefield, Barry, Shaw, Carver