STANLEY crashed out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at the first hurdle on Tuesday night yet the main talking point was the controversial goal which sealed Carlisle’s passage into the second round.
The Reds had taken a 21st-minute lead through Marcus Carver, only for Antony Sweeney to level three minutes later.
Kyle Dempsey put managerless Carlisle in front four minutes after the break before Billy Paynter was awarded a hotly-disputed goal in the 70th minute.
The Carlisle striker appeared to come back from an offside position to head in the rebound after Joe Lumley had saved a Brad Potts shot.
The way Paynter nonchalantly flicked it in – and the fact his team-mates didn’t celebrate when it hit the back of the net – suggested they thought he was offside, yet the flag didn’t go up. The referee consulted his assistant and despite Stanley’s protests, the goal stood.
“I think Billy only put it in because he thought he was offside and was stopping us taking a quick free-kick because we were chasing the game at that point,” said Reds’ boss James Beattie. “He only did what any other player would have done.
“The linesman has told us the number nine was keeping him onside but our number nine (James Gray) wasn’t even on the pitch!”
Beattie made three changes after the Bury defeat, bringing in Josh Windass, George Bowerman and Carver for Nicky Hunt, Piero Mingoia and Gray.
And like Saturday, the Reds started well with Carver, making his first start this term, almost reaching Kal Naismith’s cross.
Naismith then ran at his man on the right wing and earned a free-kick to the side of the box. Naismith stepped up to take it and his left-footed curler was heading for the top corner before being tipped over.
But Stanley were in front moments later through a neat volley by Carver. Will Hatfield won the ball on the left before Rob Atkinson played it down the channel for Carver and, taking the shot first time, he lifted it over keeper Mark Gillespie and into the net.
The Reds’ lead didn’t last long though. Carlisle played in Josh Gillies behind right-back Adam Buxton and his cross was turned in by Sweeney.
Carlisle went closest to earning a half-time lead as defender Danny Grainger’s long-range strike fizzed just over while Sweeney headed over from a corner.
Carver saw a tame shot saved after the break but Carlisle, who sacked manager Graham Kavangah after losing 5-0 at Cambrindge on Saturday, took the lead soon after.
Sweeney headed Gillies’ inswinging corner back across goal and Dempsey poked it in from close range.
Stanley replied with a dipping Windass strike forcing Gillespie to parry to safety. Substitute Shay McCartan then latched onto Lumley’s punt forward to go round the keeper but Grainger got back to clear off the line.
Then came the moment of controversy which settled the contest, with Paynter picking up an injury when the initial cross came in which forced him straight off after the goal.
Beattie took the opportunity to put Tom Aldred up front and the centre-half didn’t do too badly, holding the ball up well and even playing a fine cross-field ball to Naismith.
The winger went closest to equalising as his goalbound effort was blocked, although Lumley had to make a decent save to deny Gillies at the other end.
STANLEY: Lumley 7, Buxton 6, Aldred 7, Atkinson 7, Mustoe 6, Hatfield 6, Joyce 6, Windass 6, Naismith 7, Bowerman 6 (McCartan 65, 6), Carver 7 (Mingoia 83). Subs: Goulding, Winnard, Simpson. Attendance: 818.