Jack Iredale feels Carlisle United have banished some of their early season defensive woes despite the “kick in the teeth” of defeat to Newport.

Iredale believes manager Steven Pressley’s decision to field an extra centre-half has helped the Blues concede fewer goals.

United should have beaten third-placed Newport on Saturday but were hit by the Exiles’ 96th-minute winner.

Before George Nurse’s last-gasp goal they were on the brink of a third clean sheet in four games.

Boss Pressley used a 3-5-2 formation in south Wales which had summer signing Iredale in the left wing-back role.

The ex-Morton man said: “The change to three at the back has made us much more solid and I can’t remember Adam [Collin] making a real save [on Saturday].

“We’ve tightened up defensively which is where we had problems at the start of the season, and now we’re starting to see progress where we’re keeping things tight defensively and also creating things going forward.

“I was really happy with how I played defensively, and that’s something the gaffer spoke to me about a few weeks ago.

“It’s just about piecing everything together with the stuff I like to do going forward and the dirty work helping out defensively.

“The more we play this formation, the more everyone is getting comfortable with their roles and responsibilities.”

Newport’s late sucker-punch knocked Carlisle down two places to 18th and still unable to leave the lower mid-table area of League Two after a dozen games.

They are now preparing to face another high-flier in fourth-placed Crewe at Brunton Park in four days’ time.

Iredale insists Carlisle must take confidence from their performance at Rodney Parade and not dwell on the heartbreaking manner of their 1-0 defeat.

“It’s a real kick in the teeth to lose a game like that,” he said. “I thought we were excellent and did everything we set out to do.

“We controlled the game when we needed to and pressed the game when we needed to. We created chances, and then the first time we weren’t brave on the header from the goal-kick they got the knock down and he [Nurse] has banged it in from 30 yards.

“He won’t have hit a ball like that before in his life, and it was the first time in the whole game that we didn’t challenge for the header. That’s what happens – you get punished for the small details.

“We created some good chances and sometimes when they don’t go in you can start thinking it isn’t going to be your day, but I didn’t feel like that.

“We were completely in control of the game and the boys at the front worked their backsides off for the whole game to make sure we had pressure on the ball. The midfield three were excellent and the back three dominated in the air.

“When you create chances like we are it gives you confidence, and on another day we could have scored four goals. We have to make sure we take confidence from this. At half-time we knew the game was there for us to win, and for the whole second half we were in control.

“We’ve got a week to reset, but we don’t want to reset too much because we want to do more of the same.”

Iredale believes positive results will come Carlisle’s way if they repeat Saturday’s overall performance levels.

“We’ll go into the Crewe game full of confidence,” the 23-year-old said.

“Every game in this league is tough, as clichéd as that sounds. It will be good to get back in front of the home fans and hopefully put in a similar performance to the one we put in at Newport.

“If we do that I think the home fans will see we’re a good team and we want to score goals and play intense football.”