Carlisle produced one of their best away performances of the season when they won 31-7 at Stockport.

It was important, too, after last week’s disappointing home loss to Blackburn that they responded in the right manner.

Despite going behind early on they didn’t panic and maintained their shape and their belief in their systems and processes. These paid dividends as the game wore on, with the pack dominating proceedings for much of the game, and their driving maul was the equal of anything that Stockport had.

This allowed the backs much more room to work with, and this must give the side a huge boost in confidence going into the last four games as they still hold a six-point lead over Blackburn.

It didn’t start well for Carlisle, as they simply couldn’t get hold of the ball for the first five minutes, with Stockport cleverly retaining possession, without making any real inroads into the Carlisle half.

That changed though when a penalty allowed them the chance for a line-out close to the Carlisle line, and a trademark Stockport catch and drive, was mauled successfully towards and over the whitewash, for a converted try.

There was no panic though for Carlisle, as they slowly built possession and momentum going forward to create some inroads into the Stockport half.

Carlisle were starting to build phases deep inside the Stockport 22, and after a driving maul was cleverly driven to just 10 metres out, a series of pick and go’s gave Dan Holmes the chance to go over, though the centre was just held up by the home defence.

That simply gave Carlisle a five metre scrum, which they were beginning to dominate, and player coach Matt Shields took the opportunity to peel off the back and bulldoze through the opposition scrum half by the posts, for Carlisle’s first converted try.

A line-out on the Stockport 22 was secured and flankers Henry Wainwright and Josh Holmes, made good penetrating carries, sucking Stockport into defending the rucks.

With space created out right, Grant Connon made a piercing run through the scrambling defence, off-loading to Dan Holmes for the easiest of run-ins for the second converted try on 35 minutes.

As a result the visitors ended the half 14-7 ahead.

Carlisle had to defend against a more resurgent Stockport in the second half as the home side tried to get back on level terms, probing down the left side on a number of occasions.

However, the Carlisle defence held firm, and the visitors again started to build momentum into the Stockport half.

A line-out catch and drive for Carlisle then drove the Stockport defence backwards, as it snaked towards the try line.

Despite attempts to disrupt it, legally or not, the Carlisle forwards marched forward with first Holmes, then Shields thwarted at getting over the line.

Carlisle, however, kept their cool, and with Stockport sucked into defending a melee near their posts, Telford swung the ball right, and quick hands across the back line gave winger Jonny Crichton the opportunity to go over in the right hand corner.

A touchline conversion by Grant Connon added the extras with 54 minutes on the clock.

A few moments of madness by Stockport then added extra points for Carlisle as first dissent at a lineout gave Carlisle a penalty and a chance of a lineout deep into Stockport territory.

As the ball was worked across the park a penalty for Stockport in front of their posts was reversed for foul play, and Grant Connon made light work of increasing the lead on the hour.

Stockport continued to battle away looking for something out of the game, but the Carlisle defence held firm.

Just as it looked they might have had an overlap on the right inside Carlisle’s 22, a floating pass was intercepted by winger Andy Glendinning, and he hared off down the wing, just being dragged down ten metres out.

Now deep in the Stockport 22 Carlisle eventually made good use of it as a scrum saw the ball worked across the park, and Dan Holmes was again unfortunate to be held up over the line near the posts.

However, Carlisle were not to be denied and, after a series of collapsing scrums went unrewarded, the official’s patience was broken as a Stockport foot attempted to kick the ball out of a retreating scrum, and the referee went under the posts for a penalty try for Carlisle.