CURLE: WE ARE STILL IN THE MIX

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Thomas Han­nah

CARLISLE have stopped the rot and are look­ing up­wards once more; that’s ac­cord­ing to man­ager Keith Curle.

A point at Hartle­pool means the Cum­bri­ans have taken four points from a pos­si­ble nine – af­ter a hor­ror run of seven suc­ces­sive de­feats with­out scor­ing.

De­spite that run of re­sults they re­main in the top seven and in­side the play-off zone.

They take on Steve­nage on Mon­day, who could be pos­si­ble play-off op­po­nents come the end of the sea­son.

And Curle, with his side just two points ahead of eighth-placed Black­pool, said: “Win­ning that on Mon­day would make this a great point. We are still in the play-offs.

“The play­ers are show­ing they’re giv­ing every­thing and hope­fully we’ll have great back­ing from the fans like we did here.”

While Pools boss Dave Jones al­luded to prob­lems in the Cum­bri­ans’ camp, Curle added: “We have a great unity and the play­ers are stick­ing to­gether.

“This is the time of the sea­son play­ers earn their crust, and try to get up to the next level. It’s a good point away from home in the end.

“These are nervy games. They’re fight­ing for their lives at the wrong end of the ta­ble.

“It’s a lo­cal derby and, given it’s squeaky bum time at the end of the sea­son, it isn’t go­ing to be a great spec­ta­cle.’’

The vis­i­tors went ahead on seven min­utes as striker Jabo Ibehre turned in the area from a quick throw in and slot­ted neatly through the legs of keeper Joe Fryer.

Pools were ter­ri­ble in the first half as they pro­duced a flat dis­play.

But they got a lev­eller from noth­ing on the hour mark.

Rhys Oates charged down a clear­ance from Danny Grainger, picked up the loose ball and curled it low past keeper Mark Gille­spie. The goal lifted the home side as they made a real game of it.

But they were in­debted to some fran­tic de­fend­ing late on as Ibehre hit a post and Liam Don­nelly flung him­self in the way of a goal-bound Michael Raynes shot, the de­fender ear­lier de­nied by a fine Fryer save.

Pools, a point ahead of New­port in 22nd, go to Ori­ent to­mor­row and boss Jones said: “It was two points dropped last week, but against a team in the play-offs to get out of the di­vi­sion here, it was a point earned. “It was dif­fi­cult, ru­mours fly­ing around the place all day. We were edgy, ner­vous and free-kicks we prac­tised all week, two play­ers re­mem­ber it, one doesn’t and it frus­trated you. “You couldn’t fault them for their ef­fort and driv­ing for­ward and that’s all you can ask for. “They showed de­ter­mi­na­tion and grit when it re­ally mat­tered most.”

PIC­TURES: ProS­ports/ Mark Do­herty

LEV­ELLER: Hartle­pool goalscorer Rhys Oates and Nathan Thomas en­joy the equaliser

IT’S MINE: Jabo Ibehre takes con­trol

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