Penalty hero Paul Farman admits he was relieved to end his long wait to save a spot-kick – so he’ll get no more grief from his wife!

The Carlisle keeper, who kept out Tom Pope’s effort in United's 1-0 win at Port Vale, said he had even come in for some stick at home because of his recent record when facing penalties.

Saturday's was the first penalty he had kept out since August 2015 when playing for Lincoln against Forest Green's Aaron O'Connor.

Since then he had faced 15 without success until denying Pope – and United’s keeper was quick to relay the news to wife Emily.

Speaking after United’s victory, Farman said: “It’s been a while, even my wife has been taking the mick out of me.

“I honestly cannot remember my last penalty save, it’s been absolutely ages.

“I messaged the wife as soon as I got in and said, ‘stick that’, because I was buzzing.

“I haven’t looked at the reply yet but she’ll have had something to say. There might be a Krispy Kreme on the table for me when I get back…”

It was a rare failure from the spot from Vale’s experienced frontman Pope and Farman was thrilled his save contributed to an excellent Carlisle away win, with in-form Jon Mellish grabbing the only goal three minutes after the keeper's stop.

The 31-year-old said his stop was down to instinct rather than on too much research into Pope’s penalty-taking habits.

He said: “I don’t really look at what players do too much, but his last penalty against me [in January for Vale against Stevenage] was down the middle, so all you can do is gamble.

“I don’t really like to watch penalties or see what the history is, or see any videos before games, because I prefer to go off my gut instinct.

“You’ve always got to back yourself in any situation, I reckon. It’s your job, and it’s a cliché but when you’re called on you have to do your best to save it.”

Farman’s save was followed by some heroic last-ditch defending as Mellish prevented Vale players following in to net the rebound, before Aaron Hayden completed a clearance.

The keeper added: “It’s quality when the lads are willing to put their bodies on the line and help to pull each other out of those sticky moments.

“I managed to get a good contact on it [to save it] and I think it was Jon Mellish who got there with the tackle. You wouldn’t expect it to be anybody else at the moment, would you?”

Farman and United have kept three clean sheets in their last four league games in a sign of improvement at the back after some leaky early games in 2020/21.

The win at Vale Park was also a much-needed first away victory of the season as Chris Beech’s side went up to seventh in League Two.

Farman added: “We were reminded of the away form [before the game] because I think we were bottom of that.

“Coming here we knew we had to do a job and work extremely hard.

“[1-0 away] is a keeper’s dream but I’d still love it to be three or four because when it’s only the one goal away at a good club it’s still very inviting for them.

“That’s when you do have to grit your teeth and put bodies on the line to get your result.

“It’s a great feeling to have around the changing room and obviously when you get in there after a hard-fought game against a good club.

“You might as well not be in the job if you don’t want to excel. There’s nothing worse than coming in when it’s been a defeat, but that’s when the older lads in the changing room have to get around it and pick people up.

“Thankfully we’ve done the work and we’re now getting our results.”

Summer signing Farman says Carlisle’s new-look team is steadily gelling and the evidence is showing in their improving results.

On the defensive unit, he said: “It is always hard when there’s a lot of change at a club and in a team, and we had a lot of new faces, and it does take time to click.

“It’s looking good at the moment and a lot of it is about understanding each other and about what you’re going to do in the games.

“It even comes down to training and when you’re working on stuff, the lads get to know which side I favour and it’s that type of thing that’s coming together nicely at the moment.

“[Earlier in the season] we conceded six goals in two games and I couldn’t get near a thing. Sometimes that happens but we’ve worked hard on the training pitch on a lot of things to eradicate the mistakes and to stop the scoring situations other teams were getting.

“When we put in a shift like we did [at Vale], where everyone has worked for each other and they’ve put their bodies on the line, there’s only one thing can come of it.”