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Power and Vigurs on target as Ross County beat Carlisle United in friendly

By Andrew Henderson

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Ross County 2 (Power, Vigurs)

Carlisle United 0

A much-improved second half performance was to thank as Ross County eased to a 2-0 win over Carlisle United in their final pre-season friendly before the start of the Premiership season.

Iain Vigurs scored direct from a free kick to put Ross County 2-0 up against Carlisle United. Picture@ Ken Macpherson
Iain Vigurs scored direct from a free kick to put Ross County 2-0 up against Carlisle United. Picture@ Ken Macpherson

In a cagey opening 45 minutes, neither side were able to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

Possession was shared fairly evenly between County and Carlisle, with clear cut chances few and far between.

Too often the Staggies were left with Ross Stewart in the box with no support, meaning when the big forward was drawn short to link-up with teammates or into the channels County had nobody to direct crosses towards.

Out wide, Carlisle seemed to match the hosts for fitness, making it difficult for Daniel Armstrong, Josh Mullin or even Blair Spittal to get in behind and make the most of their pace.

But at the back County went largely untroubled, with goalkeeping debutante Jack Ruddy growing into the game after a nervy first couple of touches.

None of the efforts that were on target looked like troubling either keeper, with Nathan Thomas forcing Ruddy into action with a header and Joe Chalmers seeing a curling effort comfortably saved by Adam Collin towards the end of the half.

Making nine changes for the start of the second half, County came back out after half time with far more intensity.

They started dominating the ball, with some slick passing unlocking the space they were struggling to find before the break.

County took the lead within 10 minutes of the restart, when Brian Graham's shot was saved, but rebounded into the path of Simon Power who was left with a simple tap in from close range.

Harry Paton could count himself unlucky not to make it 2-0 when he ran on to a loose ball and fired into the top corner, only for the referee not to give him the advantage after a foul on Michael Gardyne and stop play for the free kick.

If that hadn't endeared Steven McLean to the Staggies faithful, he drew their wrath once again when he gave a free kick for a foul on Simon Power that looked inside the box.

However, Iain Vigurs made the set piece count like it was a penalty, as his ball evaded everyone and went into the far corner, making it 2-0 after 74 minutes.

The Staggies were forced into seeing out the game with 10 men after Power was withdrawn with a hamstring injury after having used their final two substitutes, but they did not come under any threat from Carlisle and eased to the win.

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