United left it late to claim their point on Saturday afternoon but it was little more than they deserved following what had been another performance full of character.
Boss Chris Beech gave us his reaction to the comeback shortly after full time on the day.
“To be honest, I was disappointed we weren’t winning in the first half,” he said. “We utilised the conditions well with the wind because it was a tough day for football. The conditions were horrendous and it was a difficult pitch, but we had lots of corners and a couple of shots.
“Nathan Thomas had that great free kick, we had a lot of wide free kicks and some shots from midfield. Jack Bridge came to life as the first half wore on, so we were really looking to wear Mansfield down.
“I said to the lads at half time, going against the wind will help you, you’ll able to play a bit more football against it rather than the ball running away from us. I warned them to be wary and that’s why it was disappointing that their first goal came from the conditions.
“It’s a goal kick, bigger than normal, but it still shouldn’t catch us out. We’d just played with that wind 45 minutes so it ended up looking really soft from a defensive point of view. Both of their goals were soft to be fair. That’s why I’m really pleased that we showed good character to come back from the two blows we suffered.”
Having gone two down after the break we wondered if he still felt that we were in with a shout, despite having had the wind taken out of the sails.
“Like I say, I was really disappointed with the way we conceded,” he continued. “It’s hard to take, you’re angry, but you have to make decisions to try and help us get back in the game. So that’s what we did.
“The first goal – Elliot is telling us he meant to do that, I’m not sure he did, but it’s another example of how the conditions affected the match. Mind you, they didn’t affect the last goal. We worked the ball wide, and it was good that Harry McKirdy was there to do that.
“He manipulated the ball well, won the free kick, and Elliot has the quality to get it into good areas from those situations. Once it was put in we had JJ Kayode in the right place at the right time and he got his second goal in his second full start.
“That’s good news from his perspective and great news for Carlisle United and our supporters. We definitely didn’t deserve to lose and, I’m really pleased we showed the characteristics needed to not let the game go away from us and to get something from it.”
Speaking more about the noticeable change up in gears following the Watt goal, he commented: “I agree, you could see that, but we were still losing 2-1 with three minutes left to go.
“I put Aaron Hayden up front at that point, to cause a little bit more chaos. He did, and that helped to put a bit more pressure on them. I felt we may as well get beat 3-1 trying to get back to 2-2, it was the right thing to try.
“The substitutes helped us, they all did their bit. It was nice to see Callum Guy making his debut and he showed some good moments. Stefan Scougall covered a lot of ground without getting on the ball too much and, again, that restricted what Mansfield were trying to do.
“When you’re in that position, losing by two goals with 20 minutes left, you have to take a few risks and be brave. I’m delighted with the efforts all 14 players showed to get us the point.
“You need an ability to roll your sleeves up and fight for everything, and we showed that. It’s all I ever ask for is for our players to represent winning attributes. It’s a strange thing to say but getting that point in the way we did is almost a better feeling than I had when we beat Forest Green by 4-1, because it needed real effort and determination to get us back into it.”
The draw made it seven points from a possible nice from a week that also saw some excellent transfer window activity lift the mood yet further.
Unbeaten runs help to build their own momentum and it’s all little stepping stones,” he said. “You can never take anything for granted in this game, you have to work hard for everything you get.
“You’ll have seen how many players were in the box when Elliot sent that free kick in. We had as many people as we could in there because we wanted the draw and, if possible to go on from there.
“It won’t always work, I’m not naïve enough to think that, but if the situation is right I’m going to try my best to do it.”
And on the blossoming relationship with the fans, he said: “I can only thank them for their support. It’s their football club, definitely not mine, I work for the club.
“I work for them and I’ve got to try and make sure that when we do turn up and represent Carlisle, we have those traits that we’ve seen over the last few games. We’re never going to get it on our own terms all the time, as we saw against Mansfield, but we got something out of it which is very important in a team and club that wants to grow.
“I’m just so pleased for the supporters, really pleased they stayed with us. They didn’t go home, they stayed to the end and they’ve got something to stop off and celebrate on the way home. They’ve seen some decent characteristics of a team working hard for them and, with the way they got behind us, they helped us to get the equaliser.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Chris Beech on iFollow United now.
Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.