SORRY UNITED ARE HIT FOR 6
ASSISTANT manager Davie Irons apologised to Carlisle fans after their thrashing at Preston plunged them into the League One relegation zone.
Stuart Beavon, Alan Browne and Lee Holmes each scored while Craig Davies smashed in a second-half hat-trick as Preston recorded a third-straight home win.
Gary Madine had given the Cumbrians hope of extending their unbeaten run to four games with a goal before half-time to see the visitors go into the break 2-1 behind.
But Irons admitted the collapse that followed was completely unexpected.
“It’s a major disappointment for us all. We certainly didn’t see that result or performance coming,” he said.
“We’ve been really solid with four clean sheets in our last five games so we came with confidence but left with our tails firmly between our legs.
“I express our sincere apologies on behalf of the players and the management, our performance certainly wasn’t good enough on the day but we’ve still got a massive job to do.
“We still firmly believe we are good enough to get out of the position we are in although I know it doesn’t look likely after a performance like that.
“We’ll have to regroup and stick together. We win as a team and lose as a team, nobody is getting blamed individually.
“We came in at half-time really back in the game and had a really positive discussion we thought with Preston comfortably in the play-offs that they might not be up for it if we got at them.”
Preston raced into a two-goal lead as Beavon headed Paul Gallagher’s free-kick home on ten minutes before Browne tapped in his first goal in English football after a superb run by Holmes.
Madine halved the deficit from Danny Redmond’s corner to score his second goal in as many games since rejoining Carlisle on loan.
But just minutes after the restart Carlisle goalkeeper Jordan Pickford spilled Davies’ cross to gift Holmes a simple tap in.
Bolton-loanee Davies then helped himself to quick-fire treble, twice tapping into an empty net before smashing a powerful effort beyond Pickford with seven minutes left to leave North End boss Simon Grayson purring at his side’s all-round performance.
“There wasn’t a weak individual,” Grayson said.“We’ve all said it’s about the squad effort and what they do.
“As a team, when the third goal went in, you could then see the real high confidence levels coming through.
“We passed it around quickly and created some great opportunities and the keeper made two or three more outstanding saves.
“Obviously it could have been a few more but it was really pleasing.
“We threw these players in there because we’ve seen what they’ve been doing over the last few weeks and months in
FIVE STAR: Craig Davies scores a fifth for Preston STAR MAN CRAIG DAVIES Preston THREE AND EASY: Lee Holmes celebrates scoring Preston’s third