Dale dish out harsh les­son to Cum­bri­ans

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP - By Derek Quinn

CARLISLE UNITED look on course to be play­ing League One foot­ball next sea­son, but man­ager Keith Curle ad­mit­ted his side were taught a les­son on how much they need to im­prove to be com­pet­i­tive higher up the foot­ball pyra­mid af­ter be­ing dumped out of the FA Cup by Rochdale.

Dale booked their place in round three with a solid per­for­mance at Brun­ton Park as sec­ond-half goals from Steve Davies and Nathaniel Men­dezLaing did the busi­ness.

And while the Cum­bri­ans can now fo­cus on their pro­mo­tion push Curle knows there is plenty of work still if Carlisle are to es­cape League Two this sea­son.

He said: “We were ex­cel­lent in the first half and caused them prob­lems, par­tic­u­larly with set pieces, but once they scored the first goal just af­ter half-time they showed how strong they are.

“They are a good side who play the game the right way and were col­lec­tively bet­ter than us in the sec­ond half. Some­times you just have to ac­cept that and we will learn from this.

“We can use them as a bit of a bench­mark. We want to be in League One next year and they have shown the sort of qual­ity we need to have if we get there.’’

As for Rochdale boss Keith Hill, he was de­lighted with his side’s pro­fes­sion­al­ism.

“This was al­ways go­ing to be a very tough game against a very good side who I am sure are go­ing to get pro­moted,” Hill said.

“They are a very dan­ger­ous side, par­tic­u­larly at set pieces, but we put in a very pro­fes­sional per­for­mance and per­haps could have won the game by a greater mar­gin.

“The win was ev­ery­thing, it keeps the cup run go­ing, it helps the fi­nances and it keeps up the win­ning habit. We have only lost four games in the last 20 and we are look­ing to breed that win­ning habit into a bunch of good young play­ers, so I am de­lighted with the way ev­ery­thing has gone.’’

Carlisle started brightly with Ja­son Kennedy loop­ing a header inches over the bar and Danny Grainger test­ing Conrad Lo­gan with a long-range strike.

But on 49 min­utes Davies pro­duced a mo­ment of pure qual­ity when he turned sharply on the edge of the area and pro­duced a left-foot vol­ley that took a wicked de­flec­tion to loop over keeper Mark Gille­spie for his tenth of the sea­son.

The home side strug­gled from there and sub­sti­tute Men­dezLaing added a 90th-minute sec­ond when he slot­ted in at the back post.

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