Chris Beech hailed his battling Carlisle United defenders for keeping one of the country’s most prolific strikers quiet.

The Blues’ rearguard denied Swindon’s Eoin Doyle the chance to add to his 23 goals this season in Saturday’s 1-1 draw.

The strong defensive efforts came as improving United extended their unbeaten run to five games against the League Two leaders.

Head coach Beech felt Carlisle should have beaten Richie Wellens’ table-toppers, but was pleased with how they dealt with the Robins strikeforce, which included ex-Blues Hallam Hope and Jerry Yates.

Beech said: “The way we dealt with them was pleasing.

“As Doyle walked off I said to him I think he’ll go and get his 35 goals because he’s too clever for League Two defenders – but he wasn’t clever enough against ours.

“Aaron Hayden and Byron Webster were excellent, and they were backed up by the full-backs.

“I had to tell Gethin Jones to get back at it, and he was playing against his best mate – he’s been travelling up in the same car as Hallam for the majority of the season, but I told him he wasn’t his best mate here. We kept their chances to a minimum.”

Hayden’s first league goal earned a point for Carlisle after Rarmani Edmonds-Green’s opener.

The former Wolves defender continued his impressive recent form with the man-of-the-match award.

Hayden, 23, has become a regular part of United’s defence despite Beech overhauling the squad in the transfer window, Carlisle having recently extended his contract.

The Blues boss said: “January was pretty horrific for me personally in terms of getting ready to play all of those games, deal with the FA Cup, which was fantastic for the club, and I think it was 16 transactions in a month, so that’s one every other day.

“Aaron was part of all that because I wanted to make sure I retained his services, because it protects Carlisle and it protects him.

“He deserves opportunities for him to be able to protect his own family, which I’m pleased for him about.

“But it doesn’t mean to say we stop there, it’s just a start. Every time you get to a new building block you’re at the start of the race for the next one.

“I’m pleased that Aaron has responded well because I did have some stern words with him about the Mansfield goals [the previous weekend].”

Beech was pleased with how United held Swindon off as the visitors tried to get back in front after Hayden’s levelled.

The Blues boss also felt his side could easily have claimed an eyecatching victory.

He said: “They had the wind in the second half, so I just thought they’d build in midfield, take more shots and slide more passes through.

“I thought they’d hit diagonals more but with us squeezing and holding a high line it helped us to defend and protect the goal.

“From that we created our chances and that’s why I’m disappointed we didn’t win.

“If they weren’t Swindon you might be a little bit like, ‘Chris, you should have won that match’. But because it’s Swindon we’re all taking a step back because they see it as us playing the league leaders.

“I’m pleased with the point, but I wanted three.”

Hayden’s goal came from an Elliot Watt corner, the latest set-piece goal his side have scored, while Beech was critical of the way they conceded.

It came after the Blues head coach revealed he had spoken to England boss Gareth Southgate about set-piece preparation earlier in the week.

He said: “I just thought you guys [in the media] would get on me when we conceded one – ‘it hasn’t done you any good talking to [Southgate], Chris, we’ve just let one in’.

“It was a free header – not the goal going in but the header back across goal I’m more disappointed with because they’re easier to defend.

“It was that phase which disappointed more than what went on. But I was really pleased with our quality for our goal and it was a great header from Aaron.”

On set-pieces he added: “It’s something we were working on anyway. What they talk about at that [England’s] level is exactly what we try to do.

“There’s nothing too much complex going on other than a couple of teams that really get it rocking.

“When you can have and pay for the best players and utilise the squad with players behind them who are also some of the best players, that’s great to have. Swindon’s bench is so strong, and as ours gets stronger we’ll have more options.

“They had players they’ve paid a lot of money for on that bench, and it can be tough to compete against, but we did.”

United, meanwhile, have given no indication yet that Tuesday's game against Cheltenham at Brunton Park could be at risk due to the effects of Storm Ciara.

The Blues will continue to monitor the weather conditions.