Chris Beech believes Carlisle United didn’t get the breaks they deserved as their unbeaten run came to an end against Cheltenham.

Reuben Reid’s first-half goal was the difference as the play-off chasing Robins’ 1-0 win gave them a league victory at Brunton Park for the first time.

United applied pressure, particularly in the second half, but couldn’t find an equaliser.

Beech admitted they conceded a soft goal but did not fault his team’s endeavour in their bid to turn the game around.

He also felt ref Andy Haines could have acted to prevent some of the Robins’ antics during the game.

He said: “I’m proud of the lads’ efforts, I really am, pushing Cheltenham all the way, so much so they’re using a lot of ‘dark art’ tactics that the referee didn’t really get on top of.

“Stretching calves, moving the ball, pretending the ball moves on a goal kick when it hasn’t, and the ref’s like, ‘well the ball moved’, when it didn’t.

“To be fair to them he did add eight minutes on but let’s be right, a large part of that was because of Callum Guy’s [injury], it’s not like they’ve done us a favour there.

“I was a little bit disappointed with the referee not getting on top of that to not help us, but help the game be, I would suggest, as a fair game.”

Beech said United showed more attacking urgency in the second half but couldn’t get the finish they needed.

He said: “I said to the players at half-time, don’t get sucked in to the passing sequence with no shot.

“I wanted the lads to put Cheltenham’s defence under more pressure and they did. If you noticed in the second half, we played two forward passes and Omari [Patrick] should score. We did it again, had another shot within the first 60 seconds of the second half.

“The lads set the tone, and bar the several throw-ins on the bounce in the corner in the last 10 minutes, we spent the majority of the half in their half.

“There was a lot of crosses, flashes across goal, a lot of players in the box, it just didn’t quite drop, quite hit somebody, the headers…the time when a Cheltenham player left it instead of heading it and it surprised Omari back post, he could have tapped in there.

“Jack Iredale came on, he’s got three or four quality crosses into the box, players sliding in, just slightly too close to the goalkeeper or that extra yard I talked about when I first came – can [Ryan] Lofty get across the front post better? Those little things make massive differences.

“But I thought the energy and attitude of the players was excellent, and the players who came on to support the starting XI, their attitude and energy was excellent too to try and help the club get a positive result.”

Reid scored in the first half when United failed to deal with a Cheltenham set-piece.

Beech said: “It was a soft goal.

“It’s mad really, you’ve seen two teams here, Cheltenham always sort of cry poverty but if you look at some of the names in their squad, I don’t know what they’re paying them with…

“Against two top-end teams [including Swindo on Saturday], we’ve seen three set-play goals in two home games.”

He said that United would have salvaged a point with better fortune in the box

“They gave everything,” he added. “With a little bit more quality, or…I don’t like using the word luck but sometimes it just isn’t there.

“They definitely had the efforts, crosses, shots, free-kicks, corners, contacts, even the ones they head out…Elliot [Watt] has to move left to then deal with the ball, it doesn’t come straight to him so that he can volley it back, everything seemed a yard left or right of everybody on those tiny incidents, and sometimes it’s like that.

“But I was really pleased with the bodies we had and the areas we played in, and how we constantly attacked Cheltenham.”