Matchwinner George Tanner believes Carlisle United can use their play-off disappointment as fuel to go one better next season.

And the right-back, who hit a late winner at Leyton Orient, says watching Cheltenham celebrate promotion last week can give the Blues the drive to emulate them.

Tanner and United are coming towards the end of a volatile campaign which saw them top the table in January before dropping to 10th with one game to go.

The former Manchester United man believes a young squad can progress again next season and said: “I think with the disappointment of drawing at Cheltenham [last Tuesday] and seeing them celebrate their promotion, that kind of thing spurs us on for next year.

“We want to be the ones who are in that position so all of this might turn out to be a good thing.

“It might give us that drive to go on next year, which is what we want to do.

“It’s quite a young group here – for a lot of us it’s been our first full season in professional football and we feel like we can only keep getting better.

“Hopefully next season will be a really good one.”

News and Star: Tanner hits the winner against Leyton Orient (photo: Richard Parkes)Tanner hits the winner against Leyton Orient (photo: Richard Parkes)

Tanner enjoyed the feeling of hitting the decisive goal in Saturday’s eventful 3-2 win in east London.

It was his third goal of the campaign and ensured Chris Beech’s side ended their away-game calendar on a successful note.

The 21-year-old said: “I sort of started the move off and I managed to finish it off at the other end, so I’m quite pleased about that.

“I was just so tired from running forward that I couldn’t really be bothered with celebrating. All I could think to do was throw my arms up.

“It’s a great feeling and I don’t think we’ve had many last-minute winners this season.

“Things like this are what football is about and it’s just a shame there are no fans here to celebrate it with us.”

Tanner admitted the highly eventful contest against the Os had a “bit of carnage” about it with five goals, three penalties – two of them saved – and United also hitting the woodwork twice.

He said the way United went to the end was tribute to their ability to get over disappointment and keep going.

“It was end-to-end in the first half and it had mistakes, missed penalties and all sorts,” he said.

“We stuck in there and I thought we dominated the second half. We deserved to win it in the end.

“There are some great characters in that dressing room and we try to stick in there if things aren’t going our way. We’re very determined, we never give up.

“The fitness levels from everyone have been really good and that’s shown with us being able to keep going and win this one.

“It has been very tiring playing two games a week because you don’t get much rest. Credit to the lads because the preparation for games has been really good and we’ve all been very professional.”

Tanner says United want to end the campaign positively against Walsall at Brunton Park this Saturday.

And the young right-back says he is keen to keep improving in a blue shirt after his first season in Cumbria.

He said: “I’ve learned a lot.

“It’s just trying to be consistent and making sure I perform well in every game, without dropping off too much.

“I know I need to hit the same levels every week because there are so many games in what is such a long season.

“I haven’t done a full season before so it’s about trying to perform every single week and keep improving.

“I’ve played a lot of games this season and I want to keep pushing myself. I’ve managed to score a few and get some assists this season, in comparison to last year, so I want to do even more of that next season.”

Tanner says he is happy at Carlisle and said of the Blues’ summer rebuilding: “I think the gaffer wants to keep everyone together because we’ve got a good squad.

“We just want to build on this season and properly push for promotion. It’s about improving on what we’ve done this year.”