The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Bam­sey

KEITH CURLE revealed how a stern half-time team talk res­cued Carlisle’s sea­son and sent them surg­ing into the play-offs.

The Cum­bri­ans were trail­ing at half­time af­ter goals from Reuben Reid and Jor­dan Moore-Tay­lor sand­wiched a Danny Grainger penalty.

At that point Colch­ester had leapfrogged Carlisle into the last play-off spot and the vis­i­tors looked des­tined for heart­break.

But Carlisle launched a sec­ond-half on­slaught and drew level when Grainger con­verted his sec­ond penalty of the match in the 72nd minute.

Four min­utes later Jamie Proc­tor headed home Tom Miller’s long throw to en­sure Carlisle will meet Ex­eter in the play-off semi-fi­nals.

The vic­tory sent 735 vis­it­ing fans into rap­tures and left Curle prais­ing his come­back kings.

The Cum­bri­ans boss said: “We had the as­cen­dancy up un­til half-time, but they scored against the run of play.

“I asked for a re­sponse from my play­ers. They were play­ing the oc­ca­sion and not the match. It was a great re­ac­tion.

“We changed the shape and for­ma­tion and we started to do the right things. It was about mak­ing the right de­ci­sions, the ag­gres­sion, the de­liv­ery and the un­der­stand­ing. It was all there.

“We are ob­vi­ously re­ally pleased to be in the play-offs and now we have to go again.

“There is more to come from Ex­eter, they’ve got real in­ten­sity about their play.”

Ex­eter took a ninth-minute lead af­ter a sweep­ing counter-at­tack ended with David Wheeler set­ting up Reid, but Carlisle were level on the half-hour mark when Ethan Am­padu han­dled in the box.

Grainger stepped up and made no mis­take, but Carlisle’s pro­mo­tion hopes were in the bal­ance on the stroke of half-time af­ter Wheeler flicked on Ryan Har­ley’s corner for Moore-Tay­lor to head home. Carlisle launched a sec­ond-half bom­bard­ment and were re­warded af­ter Pierce Sweeney tripped Proc­tor in the box.

Grainger sent Christy Pym the wrong way from the spot to set up a grand­stand fi­nale.

And the vis­i­tors’ per­sis­tence paid div­i­dends when Tom Miller hurled a long throw into the box and Proc­tor sent a header past Pym at the back post.

Ex­eter boss Paul Tis­dale is look­ing for­ward to the play-offs and has told his side to re­main fo­cused as they pre­pare for a first­leg clash at Brun­ton Park on May 14.

“I am dis­ap­pointed to lose to­day,” he said. “We wanted to win the game and we didn’t take it lightly.

“The big­ger pic­ture is that we are in the play-offs and we are de­lighted to be there. We stand as good a chance as any­body and we’ve got to fo­cus on the next two games.

“We’ve earned this op­por­tu­nity through a heck of a lot of hard work and good play.

“It is a big chal­lenge for us, but we have to em­brace it and en­joy it.”

PICTURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

HEADS-UP! Carlisle United’s Jamie Proc­tor nods home the win­ner af­ter Danny Grainger had scored the vis­i­tors’ – and his – sec­ond, be­low STAR MAN JAMIE PROC­TOR Carlisle

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