Chris Beech was delighted Carlisle United got the job done at Southend – after challenging them to sort out their away form.

The Cumbrians gave their play-off hopes another boost with Saturday’s 2-0 win at Roots Hall.

It was their first victory on the road for three months as striker Offrande Zanzala and substitute Gime Toure scored either side of Paul Farman’s penalty save.

Head coach Beech saw his side move within three points of the top seven.

And he said it was high time they improved their results on the road.

“It’s our fifth away victory and I did challenge the players [about it],” Beech said.

“I showed them the home and away league table in the hotel, because we’ve got to be really proud that we’ve scored more than anybody at home, and we’re [one of] the best teams in the league at home, but our away record’s not been good enough.

“We’ve been through all the turmoil we’ve been through but I said last week the lads are more like I expect them to be [physically].

“I did expect them to do well, but it was very professional.

“Every time we’ve won away this season we’ve kept a clean sheet. They did very well.”

The win in Essex saw United record back-to-back victories for the first time since January, and consecutive clean sheets for the first time since December.

Zanzala’s impressive goal put United ahead before keeper Farman kept out Simeon Akinola’s spot-kick.

“It’s nothing to do with me, but those slow walk-ups, not run-ups, keepers tend to go early at that point and they roll it into the empty goal,” Beech said of Akinola’s style.

“Steve [Collis, goalkeeping coach] and myself asked Paul to stand up because to be fair to [Akinola], he’s scored a lot of penalties, has done well for Barnet scoring penalties, but Paul stood up to the last minute and said it really well.

“Again like at Port Vale, Jon Mellish followed up to make sure the rebound couldn’t be tapped home, so well done Jon Mellish.”

Beech said his half-time message with the score at 1-0 was for his players “not to take liberties” and give Southend the chance to put the ball in their box.

He was delighted Toure grabbed his second United league goal with a fine 80th-minute finish to make the points safe.

“[The message is] take an extra touch, like Omari Patrick did against Crawley,” Beech said.

“When you’re quick and good on the ball, what’s the point in passing to you if you’re going to play one touch? You may as well play me.

“The point of giving it to those players is so they take extra touches to do what they’re good at.

“Gime expressed himself there. He needed it. I’ve challenged him about his assists and goals. He’s got great flair but there has to be a function to what you’re doing.”

Beech said United’s win was further sign that they are returning to the physical levels they hit before Covid-19 interrupted their season.

The head coach, meanwhile, said that while the media and supporters would now inevitably look at the league table, he and his players would keep their focus simple.

United could go level with seventh-placed Newport if they beat Scunthorpe on Tuesday night.

“I think you’ll do that and the supporters will do that [look at the table],” Beech said to the News & Star.

“It’s very difficult, when you’re not winning, to control what you and the supporters do, and it’s very difficult when you are winning to control what you and supporters do, because nothing actually changes other than doing it on the pitch that serves a win or defeat.

“So they’ve got to concentrate on the details on what will serve us a win or a defeat.”