CUMBRIAN DROUGHT CON­TIN­UES

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Ross Jack­son CARLISLE: (4-4-2): Gille­spie 7, Miller T 6, Raynes 6 (War­ing 62 6), Lid­dle 6, Grainger 5, Lambe 5, De­vitt 6 (O’Sul­li­van 69 6), Joyce 7, Adams 7 (Joachim 57 6), Proc­tor 5, Miller S 3 Subs not used: Cro­combe, Ward, Bris­ley, Hooper CREWE: (4-

ADESPERATE run of six de­feats in seven has seen a blip turn into a cri­sis of con­fi­dence for Carlisle.

At Novem­ber’s end, they were top and looked un­stop­pable. Char­lie Wyke had scored a hat-trick as Mans­field were dis­patched 5-2.

Now, fol­low­ing de­feat to Crewe, they are out of the play-off places.

Eigh­teen-goal Wyke has gone, and so too has the at­tack­ing verve that made Brun­ton Park a daunt­ing place to visit, as the Cum­bri­ans have scored only seven goals since his de­par­ture

“If you take goals out of any team it is dif­fi­cult to re­place them,” said man­ager Keith Curle af­ter wit­ness­ing his side fail to score in a sev­enth straight game and 686 min­utes of league foot­ball al­to­gether.

“There is a chang­ing room that is very frag­ile at the minute. I have told them, ‘Don’t bring in­di­vid­ual ex­cuses to the ta­ble’. We need a win, we need to get a goal. We start with a goal then we get a clean­sheet and then we build on that.

“I could sat­isfy my­self and ruin ev­ery­one’s Mother’s Day and get them in and run them up and down and ab­so­lutely lam­bast them. Is that go­ing to help them? No.

“Things are go­ing against us at the minute and this is when we find out who is go­ing to be in that chang­ing room next year.”

Cal­lum Cooke’s 34th-minute strike gave Alex a half-time ad­van­tage be­fore Jor­dan Bow­ery dou­bled the lead, and se­cured the points, just af­ter the hour mark.

If the sun was cause to smile, the qual­ity of foot­ball was not as both sides toiled with­out dis­play­ing any real qual­ity prior to Cooke’s opener.

Af­ter feed­ing Ge­orge Cooper on the edge of the box, Cooke ran in be­hind the static home de­fence to sweep home the former’s dinked ball over the top.

As the game me­an­dered into the sec­ond half, a 51st-minute mo­ment of Shaun Miller mad­ness saw the former Crewe man sent off fol­low­ing a lunge on Oliver Tur­ton.

Alex took ad­van­tage of the ex­tra man to end the game as a con­test in the 61st minute, Cooper again turn­ing provider by firing low across goal from the right for Bow­ery to tap in.

“The lads have de­liv­ered again,” said Crewe boss David Artell.

“They have stood up to the phys­i­cal na­ture of what Carlisle have thrown at them. At the end of the game they had six for­wards on the pitch and they’ve still not had a chance. “They are get­ting the re­wards and the plau­dits they richly de­serve at the minute.” One player who ex­celled for Alex was Cooper, who drew high praise from his man­ager. “Ge­orge’s in­di­vid­ual bril­liance to flick the ball over the de­fence (for the first goal) is ter­rific,” added Artell. “Then for the sec­ond goal he sets it up with his courage to get at the op­po­si­tion. That shows how good Ge­orge Cooper is.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

COOK­ING UP A TREAT: Crewe’s Cal­lum Cooke gets his team go­ing

BIG MO­MENT: Cooke catches Carlisle nap­ping to score

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