RELIEF FOR CURLE AS PLAY-OFFS BECKON
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.”
TURNAROUND: Nicky Adams celebrates scoring Carlisle United‘s second goal