United’s first home game of the season had everything but the goal as the Blues dictated much of the play, fashioning some fantastic openings along the way.
With the hat-trick of disruptions of a delayed kick-off, a late player injury and a defender absent due to interest from elsewhere, the team could have been excused had the performance been below par, but that was never going to be the case as Chris Beech called for nothing less than full commitment, despite the distractions.
Speaking after the game, the manager said: “The lads don’t need me to tell them they’ve done well.
“I’ve just mentioned it to them because we worked very hard. The performance was a strong one and that’s good when you consider the chaos you have to deal with sometimes in your job.
“The players have to support you as things like that happen because it’s easy to fold, but they were great over that 24 hours. We had to make initial adjustments because of one situation, and then again when Zach pulled out.
“So, yes, I’m very pleased with the players and the squad, because there’s no getting away from it, the lead-up to the game had been a little bit strange at the club.
“When you’ve had one of the best pre-seasons I’ve ever had as a coach, or manager, or assistant manager, you then get to the eve of everything starting and there was a little bit of chaos. You just have to deal with it.”
On not quite adding that final ingredient, he added: “The lads are miffed off, but they’ll use a stronger word than that.
“With the chances we created, we’ve got to score. I think Jon [Mellish] had four or five efforts within the game, Tristan early doors in the first and second half – he had two – he had the bender that went just over.
“Lewis Alessandra, I’ve got to get him shooting instead of checking, which he will. Brennan Dickenson at the back post with his flash crosses, but it wasn’t to be. They all had the will to try to achieve and you can only commend that.
“And, of course, their keeper played well. If I recall, he had a great game when we played away. I hear in the past he’s been here and it wasn’t great for him. Well done to him, but it was unlucky today for us.”
One of the noticeable factors of the encounter was the energy shown by the group, putting meat on the bones of comments made earlier in the week about distances covered through what had been a tough pre-season.
“If you want to use pre-season games as a marker, and I know everyone has an opinion on that, we’ve kept another clean sheet and we’re not conceding goals,” he said. “We’re playing good football and the first 30 minutes were excellent.
“It’s funny, football. We actually played better in that half hour and had the chances we did, and when the game stretches, our capabilities, fitness, hard work and honesty to run the miles, we’re breaking every time.
“Brennan was getting his shirt pulled off, and Jon Mellish was being tugged, but the ref plays on. But what great energy and honesty to run those hard yards. Ironically we had better chances at that point despite probably not controlling the game as much.”
“Energy is important, and we had empty stadiums it was something we did ever so well,” he continued. “It’s important to carry that on when everybody’s here. It’s always important, we’re professional footballers.
“I’ve just said to all of the players, the marker for a Carlisle player is to give 100 per cent. The hard work and honesty is a must. You’re going to make mistakes and get things wrong, but my job and the staff’s job is to make things better.
“We’ve been very competitive for 18 months or so, I was told I’m the sixth longest serving manager in League Two, which is ridiculous, but we’ve been competitive. Colchester are much improved, much invested, much better today than last season.
“They know they’ve been in a game and were on the back foot in that game. As a manager he’ll be very pleased they’ve not conceded and lost, because we should have won.
“I can’t recall Magnus making too many, he made one decent save I think in the 95 minutes. Their goalkeeper had a great game, was man of the match for them, it says everything.”
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