Teenage Cumbrian goalkeeper Gabe Breeze earned praise from Paul Simpson for an assured Carlisle United debut.

The 19-year-old academy product was handed his first senior appearance in place of Tomas Holy for the clash with Fleetwood Town.

Simpson opted to field the Penrith prospect after a series of errors by senior No1 Holy.

And Breeze put in a composed performance in United’s 1-1 Boxing Day draw.

The young keeper earned a warm reception from Carlisle’s travelling fans before and after the game – and a positive reaction from his manager, who included Breeze in a high-pressure game during the fight for survival.

“That was probably my biggest dilemma, because it’s not really a pleasant environment to come into when you’re struggling at the bottom of the league,” said Simpson.

“But I thought he [Breeze] showed a real good calmness, good composure, kept his head. He did everything I asked of him.

News and Star: Breeze replaced Tomas Holy in goalBreeze replaced Tomas Holy in goal (Image: Richard Parkes)

“I was delighted when that ball went through in the first half and he was able to come and smother it, and get on top of it.

“His kicking was consistent. And it’s good for him because he’s deserved that opportunity.

“I just felt as though I had to do something different, I couldn’t carry on going with what was happening, and thankfully Gabe had a decent debut.”

Holy lost his first-team place for the second time this season at the Highbury Stadium, after costly errors in successive games against Blackpool, Northampton Town and Cheltenham Townhttps://www.newsandstar.co.uk/sport/24010286.big-match-verdict-carlisle-united-0-1-cheltenham-town/.

The big Czech was a substitute at Fleetwood in a game which saw United slip to the bottom of League One despite an improved performance earning a 1-1 draw.

Breeze, who turns 20 on Saturday, looks set to keep his place for Friday’s trip to Wigan Athletic, although Simpson stressed he remains keen to add another senior goalkeeper to the squad in the January transfer window.

“He hasn’t done anything wrong today. He’s earned the chance to be in,” said Simpson.

“We’ll see how they react over the next couple of days, but he certainly hasn’t done anything wrong to warrant coming out of the team.

“But it’s an area of the squad we have to strengthen, simple as that, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Simpson also praised United’s 1,079 fans for the way they embraced Breeze on his big day.

News and Star: Breeze, pictured with goalscorer Owen Moxon, applauds United's fans after the gameBreeze, pictured with goalscorer Owen Moxon, applauds United's fans after the game (Image: Richard Parkes)

Supporters sang the young Cumbrian’s name before and during the game and gave him a good ovation after full-time.

“That will have been massive for him,” said Simpson. “The fans have played a huge part in helping him and calming him down.

“I’m really pleased for Gabe.”

Breeze's involvement means United have used three different first-choice keepers in the first half of the League One season, the other being loanee Jokull Andresson who is currently out injured.