RELIEF FOR CURLE AS PLAY-OFFS BECKON

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Chris Hughes

CARLISLE boss Keith Curle cut a re­lieved fig­ure after two goals in three min­utes from Jabo Ibehre and Nicky Adams turned their clash with New­port County on its head and moved his side back into the play-off po­si­tions.

The Cum­bri­ans had to fight back from a goal down after Mickey Demetriou’s bul­let header on 12 min­utes put County ahead, but both sides are still in charge of their own des­tiny at op­po­site ends of the League Two ta­ble.

The Ex­iles re­main two points clear of Hartle­pool United in their rel­e­ga­tion scrap, after Pools were beaten at Chel­tenham Town.

But hav­ing moved up to sixth, Curle in­sists his team will be full of be­lief when they go to fel­low pro­mo­tion hope­fuls Ex­eter City next week with sev­eral sides still breath­ing down their necks.

“The num­ber of chances we cre­ated early on, the game could have been dead and buried,” he said.

“We could have had an en­joy­able af­ter­noon, but that’s not go­ing to hap­pen at Carlisle United.

“The pleas­ing thing was the re­ac­tion from the play­ers and the sup­port­ers to go­ing a goal be­hind.

“The play­ers kept that be­lief and in the sec­ond half we gave New­port big prob­lems and they couldn’t stop us.

“Take one set-piece out of it and it could have been four or 5-0. “There’s still work to do; we’ve still got a very im­por­tant game next week but we’re go­ing into it with con­fi­dence and be­lief in what we’re do­ing.”

Michael Flynn ad­mit­ted his side were well beaten after Ibehre’s close-range strike on 59 min­utes and Adams’ spec­tac­u­lar curler two min­utes later. But, after a run of six wins in 11 games, he too is con­fi­dent that his side can fin­ish the job when they host Notts County next Satur­day evening.

It will be a nerve-jan­gling fi­nal day for Ex­iles fans, with New­port need­ing to match or bet­ter Hartle­pool’s re­sult to stay ahead of them in the stand­ings and sur­vive in the Foot­ball League.

“It was frus­trat­ing,” said Flynn. “I’m not go­ing to dress it up; we lost to a bet­ter team.

“They were a lot bet­ter than us and the amount of crosses they got into the box was far too many for my lik­ing.

“We were very good in the sec­ond part of the first half and de­served the lead but we lost Alex Sa­muel and Mark Ran­dall and that killed us.

“But we’ve just got to dust our­selves down and go again now.

“It would have been un­be­liev­able if we could have got it done here but you can see why they’re in the play-offs, they’re a very good team.

“Hartle­pool lost so we haven’t lost any ground. It’s a two-horse race now and only one of us is go­ing to stay up.

“I said a few weeks ago we’ve got six cup fi­nals and we’re down to one now.”

PICTURES: Media Im­age

TURN­AROUND: Nicky Adams cel­e­brates scor­ing Carlisle United‘s sec­ond goal

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