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Saturday, 27 December 2014

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Sloppy first half leaves Carlisle Utd with too much to do

Greg Abbott saw Carlisle United’s resurgent form end at Scunthorpe and admitted: We shot ourselves in the foot.

Scunthorpe photo
Paul Reid scores for Scunthorpe

A sloppy first half was the key as United’s four-match unbeaten run was halted with a 3-1 defeat at Glanford Park.

Cumbrian Paul Reid, from Harraby, was on the scoresheet for the Iron, with Akpo Sodje also scoring twice.

The setback meant the Blues again failed to win a third league game on the spin under Abbott, at the 15th attempt.

And the United boss confessed that Carlisle’s sluggish start at Glanford Park – they were 2-0 down after 22 minutes – had been their downfall.

“We didn’t start the game as determined as the opposition,” Abbott said. “They had more zest and zip about them.

“We couldn’t get a foothold in the game in the first half and it left us fighting the game against a team who have turned a corner themselves.

“We pulled our socks up in the second half and had a right go but we couldn’t find the goal, through a mixture of good goalkeeping and near misses.

“We have been on a really good run and they key to keep it going was to come to places like this and not get beaten. So we have shot ourselves in the foot a bit.”

United’s defeat, with James Berrett’s 45th-minute goal the consolation, left them unable to make any further inroads on the pack of teams in League One’s mid-table area.

It means that ambitious talk of making a late push for the play-offs appears even less realistic today. United are 15 points adrift of the top six with 15 games left, and nine points above the drop zone.

The Cumbrians now need to embark on an unlikely run of victories – starting with Saturday’s trip to Portsmouth – to stand any chance of a charge into the higher positions of the table.

Abbott – who at the weekend claimed United could target a top-eight finish “or higher” – said: “I’m not talking about the play-offs. What I’m saying is that if you win games, keep a run going, anything could happen.

“There is always one that comes out of the pack. But I’m not putting any pressure on the boys. They’ve been terrific of late.

“Everybody has to have a dream. Sometimes unexpected things can happen. It’s probably a tall order but winning games can put you in a position you didn’t think you’d be in at some stage.

“My first target is still 50 points, then 60, then we can see where we are going.”

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