Cheltenham Town boss Darrell Clarke says his team “let down our supporters” in defeat to relegated Carlisle United.

The Robins’ survival hopes were dented by a third straight defeat as Sam Lavelle’s goal earned United the points.

The Blues were able to summon a matchwinning display in spite of having their own return to League Two sealed three days earlier.

Cheltenham remain in touching distance of survival but failed to give their hopes a boost at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium on Tuesday.

Clarke said the principal responsibility lies with him to find something better from his team.

“It’s tough at the minute bit I have to come up with better answers,” he told BBC Gloucestershire after the game.

“I put it on me. I’m the manager.

“I always thought we’d go on a bad run because of the standard and quality of the group, but I have to simplify game plans because they were not up to the standard tonight and the last few weeks.

“One or two things are catching pu with us but we have to put some pride in the shirt, because we let our supporters down tonight.

“We haven’t performed these last few weeks to give ourselves that platform to get out of the bottom four.”

News and Star: Cheltenham failed to find a way past United's defenceCheltenham failed to find a way past United's defence (Image: Richard Parkes)

Clarke felt his team, other than very early in the game, did not produce enough quality against a Carlisle side who led late in the first half then defended solidly to earn only a seventh win of the campaign.

It left third-bottom Cheltenham still two points adrift of the safety line.

“Obviously very disappointed with our performance the whole night,” added Clarke.

“We went out with a plan first half to get the ball down, get it to Jordan [Thomas] and Josh [Harrrop], look after it and get after them.

“Five or ten minutes of that and then it was poor from then on – people don’t take enough responsibility with the ball.

“At half-time again I’m searching for answers and I’m not coming up with the right solutions at the minute.

“The group are lacking a bit of confidence on the run we’ve been on but the players have to find a level of decision-making that enables them even to think about staying at this level.”

Clarke bemoaned a failure to test United keeper Harry Lewis across the night and added: “We've got in some situations, but our decision making, when to cross, when to move it to get a better cross, making the right run in the box…we were just off it with all our decision making and it looked desperate at times.

“It looked like a team lacking confidence.”