CURLE’S EYEING SHOT AT THE TITLE
KEITH Curle is already eyeing up a title charge next season, after his underachieving Carlisle side secured their League Two status with an emphatic victory over promotionchasing Plymouth at Brunton Park.
Gary Dicker’s stunning volley and Billy Paynter’s first goal of the league campaign sealed the Cumbrians’ fate with two games to spare and fired a huge dent into their opponents’ play-off hopes in the process.
And home boss Curle believes that his players are finally showing the potential that he has seen precious little of in this campaign.
“Finally, I think everyone involved with this club can see the development in this side,” Curle explained.
“I’m frustrated in many respects, because we’re doing this at the end of the season – we want the season to be just beginning now.
“We’ve responded to all the criticism. I remember being asked recently, ‘do you know what’s in that dressing room? ’Yes.‘ Have you lost the dressing room?’ No.
“We’ve laid the foundations and building blocks now.We want to come back next year aiming to win the division and that is our genuine aim.”
It was a pulsating encounter throughout, with two terrific goalkeeping performances.
Carlisle striker Steven Rigg almost had his side ahead early on, but his point-blank effort was sensationally diverted onto the post by Argyle stopper Luke McCormick.
And, in an end-to-end opening, Derek Asamoah and Bobby Reid forced good stops from both ‘keepers with long-range efforts.
But it was the strugglers who went ahead in sensational fashion.
Rigg’s cross was nodded away to the edge of the box and Dicker steadied himself before looping a rasping volley into the far corner past the helpless McCormick. Argyle did pose a constant threat throughout the half and came agonisingly close to an equaliser when Reuben Reid’s header was brilliantly tipped wide by Mark Gillespie.
But after the break, it was the Cumbrians in control and they deservedly doubled their lead.
A long ball forward was nodded down brilliantly by Kyle Dempsey into the path of sub Paynter, who calmly rolled under McCormick for his first league goal in over two years.
The striker was a constant menace alongside Depmsey and they had opportunities to extend the advantage, only to be denied by the brilliance of Argyle ‘keeper McCormick.
Plymouth’s pivotal moment came and went when striker Reid went down after rounding Gillespie, but referee Geoff Eltringham booked him for diving.
But John Sheridan’s men never looked likely to mount a comeback and he was left at a loss at his side’s performance.
“We knew that it was going to be a tough game, but we played it like a testimonial match,” he said. “Our play was so slow and there was no urgency.
“I’m struggling to get answers out of the players. I don’t know how they can put in a performance like that.”
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Carlisle’s Billy Paynter celebrates their second goal STAR MAN KYLE