Chris Beech admits Carlisle United’s habit of losing games from a winning position is a “problem” they need to address.

The Blues’ 2-1 defeat at Colchester was the third game in a row where they have scored first but come away with nothing.

Jon Mellish put United ahead in Essex before Callum Harriott scored twice for the hosts.

It earned struggling Colchester a first win in 15 – and meant the Blues have taken just one point from their last six games.

Head coach Beech said: “We were again in a position of control - we're winning, but we’re not winning games.

“So we have to deal with that and deal with that part of it better. But it’s become a problem.”

Beech said his team’s “resolve” was being dismantled too easily when the opposition fight back.

After leading at the break through Mellish's 13th of the season, United conceded a penalty for the fourth game in their six-match winless run, with Dean Furman fouling Frank Nouble.

From there Wayne Brown’s side turned the match around.

Beech said: “The break in play in the last two games has been a penalty against us, around a similar time of the game.

“That’s just like…unlucky, or the way it is. But we can definitely stop the ball being in that area.

“The one on Saturday [against Oldham] - nobody’s even trying to head the ball and the ref gives a penalty. The one [against Colchester] is so unlucky, because it was a real poor cross that actually goes to Dean, and the touch comes out, and it just jumps in front of him…are you telling me Dean can push him over?

“I very much doubt it, but he [Nouble] has been clever and got a penalty.

“It’s breaking the ice of that resolve. Our resolve’s hurting at the moment and it’s being broken too easy when we should win the game.”

United have slid to 12th in the League Two table and now face a real fight to revive their waning promotion hopes.

Beech insisted Carlisle are getting back to the energy levels they showed before their recent enforced lay-off, and said this would help them win games.

He added: “I’ve noticed the numbers [regarding players’ physical output] have been lower in the last four or five games. We’ve been leading in all of those games.

“We’ve talked about it as a group of players. It was great to spend time in the hotel together, because it’s been very difficult for us all; we discussed that and are aware of it and the lads will commit to it.

“I’m sure the numbers will represent better numbers for us for winning games.”

Beech rued the decision by ref Trevor Kettle to overturn his own decision to award United a penalty at a time they were leading 1-0.

“The keeper[Shamal George] then pulls out a great save from Joe Riley when the ball tips onto the post," he added.

“We had good opportunities that we struck well – it was great to see Brennan Dickenson striking the ball clean, but the keeper answered those questions so well done to him.

“We have to accept we’ve been beaten. I could talk all night about the ifs, buts and maybes. We got beat.”

Asked about United surrendering control midway through the second half, Beech added: “You can’t make 10 changes. You can make five in one go, but it can destabilise that while you’re wobbling, it can reinvigorate it too.

“We’ve got to continue supporting each other as a group.

“In a 12-round boxing match, the first six were very good, but seven, eight and nine, we’re on our back foot, we’ve had one in the chops, the lads are struggling to wobble those cheeks and get back at simple things.

“If they do that we win here, we win on Saturday, we win on Tuesday, we would have won the Saturday before. It’s just where it is at the moment.”

Beech mentioned the fact United had recently come through a difficult spell of disrupted action, when the weather and Covid saw a number of games postponed.

He said: “We’ve been put in extreme circumstances. But if I mention them it would be classed as an excuse.

“It’s knocked us off. The players are getting back to higher numbers on the pitch, more sprints, more distance.

“I’m sure they will have ran harder [in this game] than they did the other day, looking at the game to the eye, but we’ve not got what we needed and didn’t win the game.

“I don’t want to be a broken record. We got beat because we weren’t good enough to win. We should be. We showed massive elements of being good enough to win that game.”