Paul Simpson hopes Carlisle United’s players received a much needed confidence boost from the victory over Harrogate Town.

The Blues kept their Bristol Street Motors Trophy hopes alive with a 2-0 win over their former bogey team.

Jordan Gibson’s double earned victory in front of Brunton Park’s lowest ever crowd – just 716.

Simpson said the display should lift spirits after recent struggles and mounting injuries.

“It’s a much happier place when you win games of football,” said Simpson.

“We have been struggling. It’s like a casualty ward in there at the moment with the injuries we’re getting.

“It’s about everybody just digging deep. Everybody has to raise their standard, because we don’t have great numbers available at the moment.

“They’ve done it tonight and hopefully they can take confidence.”

Gibson scored early and late in the game to take his tally for the season to seven.

The win means Carlisle can still qualify for the knockout stages, but only if Accrington Stanley beat Nottingham Forest’s Under-21s by a three-goal margin next Tuesday.

News and Star: Paul Simpson on the touchlinePaul Simpson on the touchline (Image: Ben Holmes)

Simpson said that, regardless of the permutations, it was a positive night from his side as they claimed a first win over Harrogate in nine attempts.

“I thought there were a lot of good things,” the manager said.

“In the first half we showed really good control in the way we played – it was only towards the end of the half where we tried flicking and trying to be a bit too clever when we didn’t need to be.

“I thought we got control because we passed the ball well. Getting an early goal gives everybody a lift and calms everybody down.

“Then in the second half when they put us under pressure, just because they came out a bit more positively, we rode it well, defended well, defended our box well and Tomas Holy didn’t have a lot of saves to.

“The second goal calmed us down as well. I just thought the work rate of everybody, the desire to go and do things properly, was there for everybody to see, and you get your reward when you do that.”

Gibson remains United’s leading light this season and the midfielder, who played in a right wing-back role against Simon Weaver’s side, showed good anticipation to score twice.

“I was really pleased with him,” Simpson added.

“I’ve said it before, I’m probably one of his biggest fans but I’m also one of his biggest critics. When he works like he did in this game, that’s when you get your reward.

News and Star: Jordan Gibson, centre right, was United's matchwinnerJordan Gibson, centre right, was United's matchwinner (Image: Ben Holmes)

“When we looked at the game at the weekend [the 1-0 defeat to Bristol Rovers in League One], we had 23 crosses, ten corners, six free-kicks, five long throws…and I didn’t think we had a real desire to go and get on the end of it.

“I think that’s a bravery. You have to be brave – you might miss but I’d still rather you get there and miss.

“I asked before this game, can we get more people sprinting into the box to score? Jordan, playing in an unusual position for him at right wing-back, made a sprint and got on the end of it.

“It’s that old thing about the harder you work. If you sprint then things will fall in your way. I thought we had a bit more desire about us. I still think we can be better and improve on it but there was definitely an increase in that desire we have to take forward.”

The victory came on a night United’s 31-year-old club record lowest attendance record was broken.

The long-standing low mark of 859 for an Autoglass Trophy game against Hartlepool was lowered by 143, with some fans continuing to boycott the competition over its involvement of Premier League clubs since 2016.

“I can only thank the 700-and-odd who turned up,” said Simpson.

“I get it, I get why they’re not going to come out – it’s been a miserable couple of days weather-wise, and I get it’s not the most attractive competition to people.

“But who knows, if we can get ourselves through and get a good draw who knows what can come?

“This is a good opportunity to get to Wembley and I’m quite sure we’d get more than 700 who’d turn up if we were able to achieve something.

“Although at the moment it seems far off, it did when we got to finals before.”