Jason Kennedy winner helps Carlisle sink Bristol Rovers
A late strike from Jason Kennedy ended Bristol Rovers’ six-game winning run as Carlisle boosted their own play-off hopes with a 3-2 victory at Brunton Park.
Twice Carlisle led through Jack Stacey and Charlie Wyke but Rovers hit back with goals from Billy Bodin and a 23rd of the season by Matty Taylor before Kennedy sent the visitors spinning out of the automatic promotion places.
Carlisle took an 11th minute lead with a spectacular strike by home debutant Stacey. The on-loan Reading winger picked the ball up inside the Rovers half and strode forward before curling a 25-yard shot in off the right-hand post.
A mix-up between Michael Raynes and Mark Gillespie presented Rovers with a 27th minute equaliser. The defender’s header failed to reach his keeper and Bodin nipped in to flick the ball into the vacant net from six yards.
Carlisle almost gifted another goal when Macauley Gillesphey’s back-pass evaded Gillespie and the keeper desperately scrambled the ball off the line to prevent an embarrassing own goal.
The home side went back in front four minutes after the break when Raynes got his head to a Gillesphey free-kick and Wyke burst on to the ball to force it home from close range.
Jermaine Easter was unlucky with a cross-shot which hit the woodwork for Rovers, who were on terms in the 57th minute when Taylor squeezed a low shot past Gillespie at the near post.
But Carlisle won it in the 86th minute when a break found Kennedy just outside the area and he chipped the ball past Steve Mildenhall for a dramatic clincher.