Keith Millen said Tristan Abrahams deserved his moment as Carlisle United’s matchwinner against Walsall.

The sub’s fourth strike of the season ended the Blues' long wait for a league win and a Brunton Park league goal.

Abrahams struck in the 88nd minute as United won their first League Two game in 13 attempts to move out of the relegation zone.

Manager Millen said it was a well-earned moment for the frontman, who celebrated by dashing to the dugout and rubbing the head of physio Ross Goodwin.

“His sprinting distance will have been very high for the period he was on,” smiled Millen.

“It summed up where the lad is. I’m really pleased for him, because he has worked so hard in the last few games and not got his reward.

“For him to get that goal, it’s great for him – you could see the response of the lads that are pleased for him, and the fans – the fans are relieved and pleased he scored his goal.

“We need our forwards to score goals. We need others to pitch in but if your centre-forwards are scoring goals, they’re playing with confidence, and that’s what we’ve not had.

“Tristan’s not had a lot of chances, for all his hard work, but in this game, coming on fresh…I don’t know if that had any bearing on it, but he was in the right place at the right time.

“Thankfully he’s finished it off and it will do him the world of good.”

News and Star: Abrahams, left, celebrates his dramatic winner (photo: Barbara Abbott)Abrahams, left, celebrates his dramatic winner (photo: Barbara Abbott)

Abrahams’ goal meant United avoided setting a club record of six consecutive home league games without a goal.

They moved a point above second-bottom Oldham after a hard-working effort against Matt Taylor’s Saddlers.

Some fans chanted against the Blues’ board as frustrations remain about the club’s plight.

Manager Millen, though, enjoyed the highly welcome winning feeling at full-time.

“I hope the feeling in the dressing room is joy,” he said, after chalking up his own first league win since taking charge.

“You have to enjoy these.

“We all knew the pressure of the game. I didn’t want to build it up. It was a tough game in not great conditions, and wasn’t a great spectacle from a football point of view.

“If that’s the way we have to be sometimes, that’s the way we have to be. In this league especially you have to compete, hopefully something drops for you.

“If you win 1-0 the next few games there’ll be no complaints.”

Millen, who handed teenager Sam Fishburn his first start, said he was pleased with how Carlisle competed physically with their visitors.

“Walsall are a big, strong, physical side and we matched them,” he said. “That’s exactly what we have to do in the situation we’re in.

“We didn’t pass the ball as well as I would like us to, but I think that was mainly down to the conditions.

“We were solid. Yes, they had a good chance in the first couple of minutes, but we didn’t start the game particularly well at all. We got our legs going after that and we defended well.

“I wouldn’t say we were comfortable, because we gave it away too much, but we were solid when they came at us.

“That has to be us, because there’s no denying that we’re struggling to score goals. If we stay in games, hopefully something drops for us and if you take it you end up with what happened for us here.”

Millen, speaking about his emotions on the touchline when Abrahams, scored, said: “I’m thinking, ‘How are we gonna keep a clean sheet?

“I didn’t even know what was going on with the celebrations. I was trying to talk to a couple of players, saying, ‘Do this now, this is what I want to see…’

“When the fourth official puts five minutes up…that’s a tough five minutes. We’re kicking and heading every ball. And we were brilliant.

“I don’t want to single players out but the defence – a lot of balls were going in there and we were winning everything. I was really pleased with the defenders especially.”

Millen added that he was pleased for United’s fans as they celebrated a long-overdue result.

“I’m surprised they remembered the words, it’s been that long for them since they’ve been able to do it,” he said.

“They were great, they got behind us, and it was a good atmosphere.

“You’ve got to enjoy these days, and we will. The great thing now is that we’ve got two big cup games coming up and we can go into them without the pressure of not getting a result here.”