Carlisle United boss Chris Beech says his players must learn from the deadly goalscoring instincts of Bolton marksman Eoin Doyle.

The striker’s goal was the difference as the Blues’ play-off hopes were hit in last night’s 1-0 defeat.

United pushed hard for a leveller in the second half but came up short in front of goal for the third successive game.

Head coach Beech was pleased with how Carlisle tried to get back into things but admitted there were lessons to be learned from Doyle’s 18th goal of the season.

“There’s a lot of learning going on but we’ve got to learn real quick,” he said.

“I’ve shared that with the players, why he [Doyle] has been so successful as a centre-forward.

“I feel in the game we’ve got players who performed better, but he’s a matchwinner. There’s a reason why he’s regularly doing that.”

After a difficult first half, in which Beech felt Carlisle gave Bolton too much time on the ball, United dominated for long second-half spells but could not find an equaliser.

The loss at the University of Bolton Stadium left them five points adrift of the top seven with four games to go.

Carlisle can now ill afford to drop any more points if they are to keep their fading hopes alive.

Beech said he was “pleased” with their performance overall, but admitted United could not fashion the killer chance.

He said: “They hit the post, it comes back to a lively striker in terms of having killer instinct, we kept him pretty quiet [in the game] but that’s what they get the big bucks for, to be different from everybody else.

“That’s what he is at this level. He managed to stay onside and score the rebound.

“We hit the post before then and the ball went out of play.

“We started better than Bolton but they had a real good period of 10-15 minutes, before they scored and after it. We tried to change shape then and in the second half you can see how much it means to the players to try and get a goal.

“We pushed them back, and played some good football ourselves…the shot count and I would imagine the corner count was definitely more.

“But the most important count is goals and we didn’t have that clear-cut chance.”

Beech rued close shaves such as a second-half chance for Lewis Alessandra, followed by Joshua Kayode’s narrow failure to convert an Omari Patrick cross.

United’s boss also claimed his team could have had a case for a penalty when sub Nick Anderton’s shot struck the arm of a Trotters defender.

“The boy’s hand’s down by his sides, you can argue handball or not – when you come to venues like this it’s very difficult to get that support, especially with no crowd,” Beech added.

“But I was really pleased with how the players performed.”

Asked further why United could not gain better goalscoring chances, Beech added: “A long-toothed manager would probably just say it was a bit of quality at times.

“Somebody feeling sorry for himself would probably say it’s a bit of luck.

“I don’t know, I don’t have the answer to that other than I’m very proud of how the players played, that energy, they were committed…

“You do need a break. Often people talk about a break of a ball. You need somebody to come out of the situation to say, ‘Here we are, here I am, the man of the moment’. It didn’t quite happen.”

The Cumbrians host Harrogate this weekend before remaining games against Cheltenham, Leyton Orient and Walsall.