INTERVIEW: The people in the Warwick were starting to duck

Danny Grainger on his goals against Portsmouth

Club captain Danny Grainger spoke to us about his brace in the Portsmouth game which earned United a late point on Saturday.

"I don't really know where that second goal came from," he admitted. "I think the people in the Warwick were starting to duck when they saw me lining up for the shot, but it's obviously nice to see it fly in the top corner. It will probably be a long time before I see one of those fly in off my right foot again. 

"In the position I was playing I wanted to get as many crosses in as possible. We worked on it after training with the gaffer and the goalkeepers on Friday and it was something we had planned. There are situations where if I can't go down the line I need to be able to step in on my right foot and float a few crosses in. That was my intention when I cut inside.

"Their players seemed to keep backing off so I kept going and I found I was in a position where I couldn't cross it. I knew I just needed to hit it as hard as I could. As I say, I don't think it will happen very often, but it's nice when it does." 

"It's definitely up there with the best goal I've ever scored," he confirmed. "I don't get many but when I do they always seem to be decent. I'm delighted the ball went in but I'm happier that we got the point we deserved. 

"I went off towards my family with the celebration because they're always here supporting me. I like to give Courtney [Meppen-Walter] a bit of stick as well. He was sitting in the viewing gallery and often gets at me because he reckons I can't hit a ball with my right foot. 

"That shows the team spirit in the squad. It isn't just the lads who are involved, everyone is in it together and that's massive for us at the moment. There will be games where we need the other lads and the boys off the bench were all getting involved in the celebrations. It isn't about individuals because the whole squad is buying into what we're doing this season." 

Speaking about his first half penalty strike, he said: "As far as I knew I was on the line when the tackle was made. I knew he was coming in and I was waiting for it. When he caught me all I could think about was that I hoped I didn't land on my bad shoulder. 

"It was nice to put the penalty away and banish some of the demons from Anfield. I'll always take penalties, whenever I'm asked, but if any of the forward players want it to get themselves up and running I'm more than happy to let them step up. It can sometimes help to hand it over if a player needs to get their confidence back, or things like that. 

"I think it was only Gary Dicker who wanted to take it on Saturday, so I just kept the ball in case he got his hands on it!"

And on the performance overall, he said: "I think the draw was the fair result. We probably could have imposed ourselves a bit more going forward, but as long as we keep grinding out results we'll end up where we need to be at the end of the season. 

"They're a good team and I'll be very surprised if they aren't in the mix for automatic promotion. We had to show them respect, we knew what we could do if we had the ball, but I think the only passage of play we had in the first half led to the penalty and the goal. We tried to frustrate them and the game-plan worked in the first half.

"The first goal for Portsmouth was probably down to me being a bit too wide so it was good to get the result in the end. It's important to know we can get points in different ways. It's nice to dominate a game but other times we'll have to sit in and invite teams onto us." 

"The good thing is we all want the best from each other and we've got plenty of boys who will tell you when you make mistakes," he explained. "There was one where I got through, and tried to release Jabo [Ibehre], but I gave it away. Gaz [Gary Dicker], Raynesy [Michael Raynes] and Mark [Ellis] were all barking at me. 

"You have to be on your toes all the time because we've got plenty of lads pushing us on. It helps that we've got a lot of organisation on the pitch as well and I think we're getting stronger every week. I enjoy playing further forward, it's something different for me, but I have played there quite a bit throughout my career. 

"It just means I can get into the same positions I would get into as a full back with the idea that I've got a bit of cover behind me. Dave [Atkinson] is good to have behind you. He talks to you and gives good information. 

"The resilience comes from the team spirit we have. I know we all keep going back to it, but the pre-season camp we had with Cassius Camps can't be praised enough. It's made sure we're all in it together. That isn't just the 11 on the pitch either - it's the full squad. 

"We're pushing each other every day in training and the team spirit gets us through. We know we can do it because we came back from 2-0 down against Yeovil and we came back and got the point today after throwing the lead away. Last year we would have crumbled and I think it just shows what we're about." 

"We've played in games where we've dominated possession without really hurting teams," he added. "When you have a lot of the ball you sometimes think you deserve to win, but I can't really remember Mark [Gillespie] making many saves. He made a double save in the first half but, apart from that, I don't think he had a lot to do. Overall I think a draw is a fair result and when you score in the 94th minute it does feel like a win.

"I think we're two points outside the play-offs now and we've got a big week ahead. We've got Luton on Tuesday night which will be another difficult game, then we're back here next Saturday. They're both games we're looking to get good results out of." 

"I've been pleased with my own form this season," he concluded. "It's always nice to get goals but I'd have taken a 0-0 today. It's nice to play well and be involved in goals with assists and things like that, but the most important thing is to make sure Carlisle United finish where we need to be in the league. 

"The lads who have come into the squad are really buying into that. We all make individual mistakes, and I think you could probably name on one hand the players who haven't, but we don't point fingers. We just get on with it. 

"A team spirit like that can help you get points when you aren't playing well. That's the best thing about it."

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