First team coach Paul Murray was on press duties following United’s dramatic 3-2 home win on Saturday afternoon and he admitted that it was an excellent way to win have a game, having seen a two-goal lead pegged back by the Exiles.
“It’s a fantastic way to win,” he said. “We got the hoodoo off our back of not having scored with the goals we got in the first half. We obviously hadn’t scored at home for a long time, and then winning the game right at the last kick makes it even better that we’d got that out of the way.
“I think getting the goals so early gave everybody the lift that was needed. We could have had a few more with the chances we created, but they had a few good chances as well, and I thought they were a decent passing side.”
“It’s inevitable that a run like that is going to come to an end and it’s a massive lift for everybody that it’s come today,” he continued. “We won’t go too mad about it though, because there were bits in the game that we didn’t do well enough, but we worked hard and the reward was the winning goal.
“To be fair to Newport, they had us under the cosh a bit late in the second half. We’re always positive that we can go and get a goal, but we had to bide our time. They had some big units up front at the end and we had to defend against it. Adam Collin made some good saves, but we showed great character and we kept going.”
On the confidence shown by the players as they started the game at a blistering pace, he commented: “We’ve changed a few things slightly this week, with training at Creighton and things like that, just to freshen it all up a little bit. We changed bits of the warm up today and maybe that helped to focus minds a bit.
“In previous games we’ve had numerous chances, but we haven’t put them away. We look back to when Jamie Devitt missed the penalty against Tranmere, and that was the start of it. We’ve struggled to finish moves off since then.
“Whether the changes to training, the build-up and formation helped to get the three points, who knows. When it comes down to it it’s the lads on the pitch who have to do the job. The main thing is that we’ll all look at the score tomorrow and it will say Carlisle 3 – 2 Newport. That’s all that really matters.”
Speaking more about the settling influence of the early Devitt brace, he said: “That’s the ups and downs of football. We’ve waited for goals to come, then we got two in the space of a few minutes, and we could have three or four before half time in this game.
“Dev was more advanced and he got in the box a lot, and other people were willing to shoot. We haven’t seen midfielders bombing into the box too much lately, so well done to him for adding that to the team game.
“They got it back to 2-2 and you do feel the massive disappointment around the place when that happened. It’s good character from the lads to stand up and then go on to get another goal to win it.
“You have to have character and every fan appreciates hard work, effort and honesty. If we do that every week, and improve on our quality, we’ll be winning a good number of games.
“We haven’t really scored last minute goals for a long while so to get one that wins a game is good. It’s possible that a lot of the fans had left early thinking that we’d stopped the rot with a draw. It’s a good feeling, but nothing was perfect, so we will still take time to look at what we did wrong as well.”
The strike which won the game was an absolute thunderbolt from the trusty left boot of returning captain Danny Grainger.
“It was a difficult chance and you have to concentrate on them,” he said. “I’ve seen players hit volleys like that from that distance over the Warwick roof. He knew he had to get it on target and it was a great strike from him.
“It was clean and nice and just a good connection. Fair play to him at having that level of concentration so late in the day. It’s great to see the celebrations as well because that’s what you really miss from your playing days. I miss it from when I was playing, definitely. It’s such a good feeling to know you’ve just won a game in that way.
“The next best thing is to be watching it as a coach because you know what it means. The lads will take confidence from having won it and it puts what was a horrible run to bed. They all know they can play better, there are some daft mistakes in there still, but we stood up and did the job.
“The lads know there’s still a lot to work on but we have to remember that Newport are a good team. We’ve been on a barren run and we’ve beaten them, so we have to take a lift from that.”
And on the fightback from Newport which saw them level things up with just five minutes left to play, he commented: “They cross the ball really well and they’re one of the best teams I’ve seen up here.
“The pleasing thing is that we created some really good openings and it was nice that we finished one off to send everyone home happy. They did have a shout for a penalty, and we haven’t seen that back yet, but you get your luck sometimes in this game and, in this situation, we probably deserved it to go our way.
“We did our homework and they were as good as we thought they would be. They’ll be up there come the end of the season if they keep playing this way. We were probably thinking exactly the same as every fan in the ground when they scored the equaliser so late.
“We had a lot of good chances and some decent strikes on goal, but it was important that we took the chances we needed to take to make sure we come away with the victory. The lads are buzzing in the dressing room and rightly so.”
And with big players like Danny Grainger and Jamie Devitt back and available at such a crucial time, he said: “Of course players like that make a difference. They’re experienced and they lasted the game well, having missed quite a bit of football.
“They’re the players who scored the goals and they’ll be delighted. We’ll probably have to nurse Danny next week because he’s given everything in that game. He got the armband back straight away because he’s a local lad and he is rightly our captain. He’s been out a while and he showed us a captain’s performance.”
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