United headed into 2021 in the perfect manner on Saturday afternoon with a confident away win that took them to top spot in the league.
Strong and resolute defending provided the platform from which Omari Patrick and Josh Kayode bagged the winning goals, with the team as a whole putting in another very competent display.
Speaking after the game, manager Chris Beech said: “It’s good to be where we are, we’ve worked very hard to be in this position, but at the same time it means absolutely nothing.
“Congratulations to everybody’s effort, it’s a shame we couldn’t share it with our supporters behind that goal, but it is what it is.
“We played well, but I just felt we should have scored more than one in the first half. The keeper did great on JJ’s flick, there were a couple of flashes across goal and some great balls in from Jack Armer.
“The composure we showed for both goals was pleasing because each player could have shot. Taylor Charters could have shot but picked out Omari, then Lewis Alessandra could have shot but picked out JJ.”
With the Bescot Stadium always providing a tough challenge, he added: “These are rough conditions, is the game on or off, freezing conditions, so I’m really pleased that we did it.
“When you look at it, we’re still without our skipper, Devine, Tanner. It will be an interesting week to have Nick back next week, he can come back with us, and it’s great to see Brennan Dickenson back.
“It’s mad, we organised a reserve game for Tuesday against Blackburn, but because of the new restrictions it means we’ve got a player coming out of rehab who now has to get fit in first team games. What a surreal situation that is.
“I asked him ‘how long have you got’ and he said 15 minutes, so I made him warm up for an extra five minutes before we put him on.”
The shut-out was an eighth clean sheet in all competitions with the team once again defending the 90 minutes as a unit.
“Eight clean sheets is good,” he agreed. “I didn’t know it was eight, but I do know if you’re going to do anything strong you have to try and keep your goals conceded down to one per game for the season.
“Unfortunately we were well under that, 84 minutes in against Bolton, but ended up conceding two late goals. I’m pleased we’re now on the better side of that fraction. Really pleased for that.”
And, on this occasion, it was a product of the hard work put in by every player on the day.
“I wouldn’t say Walsall didn’t get close to us, I wouldn’t be disrespectful to them in that way,” he insisted. “They’ve got some good players, Darrell’s a great manager, I think what happened sometimes is it can look that way in the end.
“We could have made it look that way earlier in the game with goals, but it’s not my thing to disrespect the opponent as they have some potent players in that team.
“Darrell talked me for five minutes before the game and he said we’ve got the most expected goals to chances. Everyone is on stats now, but the biggest stat that ever matters is winning, and we won, I’m pleased with that.
“The other stat everyone is on is that we’re top. It’s two things it means – one, it’s a long time to try and stay there, and two, there’s only one way from that point. We like to build things up, knock things down.
“I don’t, I just stick to simple things, we have to protect our goal, play some bits in the middle and create some goalscoring chances. Our players have to continue to believe and understand the strengths of our attributes. If they do that over a longer period then I’ll be interested in the league table.
“I’m not too sure the last time Carlisle was in this position, but let’s be understanding of the teams we have to play as well. I’ve not had chance to look at it, I’m sure on Twitter there’ll be lots of pictures of it.
“Enjoy it, I’ll definitely enjoy tonight and rest tomorrow, we’re training hard in difficult conditions at the moment, we’re doing this quickly to try and get down the road and not get stuck on the coach.”
With two of his strikers netting the goals, both from excellent moves, it provided another tick in the box from an already satisfying encounter.
“They’re good players,” he said. “They are, and they’re playing well together and are understanding each other’s strengths. Looking at that next week hopefully we’ll be in a stronger position with more personnel moving forwards.
“Everybody involved showed great composure for the goals. Awareness for the pass – each player could have shot and didn’t, they chose to pick out. If there’s been one criticism of us it’s been setting that person up like that. We got it right today, so well done.
“If you work in any factory, whatever you’re doing, football factory for us, somebody comes in the front door, something’s made and produced and goes out the back door.
“You have to make sure whoever is in that process, we’re giving our best to make the product really high, whether it’s the oldest or youngest player.
“Everybody’s got a part to play in that work, I thank everybody’s efforts in that, but I have to thank the players – it’s them who are listening, learning, and adhering to, and now being rewarded. We have to make sure we continue on those traits. We did in this game and it made it a very enjoyable performance from the lads.”
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