Former Blues loan striker Mark Cullen struck a late winner as Gavin Skelton's first Carlisle United match in caretaker charge ended in defeat.

Substitute Cullen headed home in the 83rd minute for Port Vale on Saturday after Byron Webster failed to clear a James Gibbons cross.

That completed the home side's fightback after David Worrall had earlier wiped out Carlisle's first-minute lead, earned by Ryan Loft.

The loss in United's first game since Steven Pressley's sacking sent them down a place to fifth bottom in League Two, five points above the relegation place, with director of football David Holdsworth today saying Skelton will remain in charge for Carlisle's home match against Cambridge this Saturday.

The game at Vale Park came after details emerged Carlisle have been subject of an approach involving local businessmen and former players Chris Lumsdon and Steve Skinner.

Here's what our Blues views have thought of events over the past week.

Ste Alderson

I was surprised at the timing of the firing of Pressley after two positive results in league and cup.

But, ultimately, he can have no real complaints looking at his tenure as a whole. Worryingly, however, from this performance, you wouldn’t have thought anything had changed.

Skelton went with a 4-4-2 formation which we haven’t seen all season.

But, despite a great start and a nicely-worked goal, we were really poor and easily second best throughout the game. How Byron Webster keeps playing is beyond me, as another calamitous error cost us a point.

Judging by that display, it’s imperative we get the right manager now.

Graham Watt

It was hard to watch that game against Port Vale, especially in the first half.

The score could have been 2-2 inside four minutes, then we stopped and were second best all the way through until they equalised. But then, we started playing again and were the better team.

Nathan Thomas had their left-back in his pocket, but we never took advantage of our chances and another absolute howler by Webster gave them the winner.

We’re really struggling at the moment and I just hope something clicks soon.

Next up is Cambridge on Saturday and I don’t expect to have new manager in by then, so it’s down to Gav to get something out of the game.

Craig Mattinson

First thoughts on Pressley: Seemed a decent guy but, ultimately, we’re in a results-based business and 20th position in an awful League Two says it all.

The first game without him was one we should definitely have got something out of. But, as it has done on so many occasions, defensive lapses cost us.

Webster, again, highlighted why he should not be in the team with a schoolboy error for their winner.

So, although there was an improvement overall, our defence [that has conceded two or more goals 14 times this season] yet again capitulated, something for the new boss, whoever he may be, to sort.

David MacLachlan

It's 50 years this week since Carlisle United took part in the semi-final of the League Cup.

And the gap in class between those players and the present lot could not be more stark. I feel sorry for younger supporters who didn’t witness those great United days.

After Pressley's sacking, the performance against Port Vale was an improvement but, tellingly, the result was another negative one.

Harry McKirdy is gifted but immature. Jack Bridge is a poseur not a player, and Webster is a walking disaster zone. 

The next boss has got a job on his hands.

Bruce Vander

Pressley's departure, while a surprise given the post-Dulwich positivity, was not before time.

Whatever green shoots he was seeing were not evident from the stand. Whoever gets the job has got a big challenge to change this side into anything but relegation fodder.

Skelton’s attempt at going back to basics, playing a 4-4-2, had some success.

An early goal, then hold on, and grab another, seemed to be working. And, had Loft converted another of his chances after his early goal, who knows?

But while frailties at the back persist, and players don’t close the opposition down, results won’t improve.

Michelle Hall

Last week saw change at Carlisle United, with manager Pressley leaving the club.

His tenure was short but, after recent team performances, I think his departure was inevitable.

He, obviously, had a long-term plan but I think his timescales for change were longer than the club and fans were hoping for.

Skelton took charge of the game at Port Vale and fans were keen to see if he had any ideas in his locker to turn around results.

A bright start and early Carlisle goal got the away fans animated, but again, the team lost their way and allowed Port Vale to take the win and the points.