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MANAGER: I kept shouting for the extra pass

More from Paul Simpson on the Saturday game

3 April 2022

It was a game that had just about everything - frustration, dejection, elation, outright joy, cards, goals, controversy - and it was always going to throw up post-match talking points for both managers, with so many incidents to mull over.

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And for Carlisle United, late drama has become a bit of a theme, with a point taken in this particularly dramatic encounter from the last attack of the game.

“It shows character and desire, and ability as well, that we overcame disappointment to take something from it,” Paul Simpson said. “What a wonderful strike from Gibbo at the end, by the way. Then Tobi followed up and I felt we got what we deserved.

“I’ve got to say I kept screaming, an extra pass, extra pass, I felt as though we kept trying to force it a little bit too much, which is understandable.

“I don’t ever remember being involved in a game where it was as fiery and as hostile. The crowd, and the stewards on this side, I don’t even know why they’ve got these hi-vis jackets on because they do nothing.

“Our bench was getting absolute verbal abuse from the supporters around it, and let me say, I think this is a fantastic ground, I’ve never experienced that before.

“I’ve not really had good results here but this is a proper football ground. Today was horrible, what that bench has had to go through, with all the emotion that went with it.

“I totally accept there’s banter, I get all of that, but this was way over the line. It went too far. Like I say, it’s probably one of the most hostile and horrible atmospheres I’ve been involved with in any game for a long time.

“I just don’t know what the stewards and police who were supposed to be looking after us on this bench were doing, but in my opinion they weren’t doing their jobs.

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“I don’t think what happened was right, and that’s a real shame on a club who are doing so well. Micky has got a really good team with a good style of play, and they play with passion and enthusiasm.

“I’m just so happy we’ve actually taken a point out of it, because I think we deserved it over the run of the game, the way we went about it.”

Temperatures started to rise just before the break when Calum MacDonald received a straight red for a lunging challenge on Kelvin Mellor, sparking a furious response from the home contingent.

“It went totally pear-shaped and all on the back of a challenge which I’ve now seen back,” the Carlisle boss told us. “It is an absolute stonewall red card in today’s game, in fact it was a red card back in my day as well.

“There’s no argument about it, it was a red, and everybody completely lost the plot. The second red, I can see why the referee gave it, but I think it’s maybe a little bit harsh.

“But the first one is a disgraceful tackle, absolutely spot on from the referee. Some of the decision though, I was warned this week about the number of reds and yellows he’s given out this season.

“I’d love to know the reasons why, but some of his decisions were just very strange. But I’m delighted we’ve managed to take something out of the game. The players, the way they’ve worked at it and stuck at it, deserved it. 

“There was just so much emotion in the game and our players kept their composure for most parts of it, but I do think we could have been even more composed when we had the ball.

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“I felt we went too long too early on too many occasions, but what a way to finish. Gibbo’s strike is a worldie, it comes back off the post and Tobi was there to nod it over the line.

“Then you get those scenes at the end in front of our fans, and that was just incredible. Over the whole of the game we deserved something and I’m pleased we did what we did.”

A big part of what was often a tense battle was making sure that a clam approach was maintained as it threatened to, at times, descend into chaos.

“We said at half time it’s about keeping our emotions in check in the off the ball situations,” he confirmed. “We needed to be measured in possession, and I think we probably got a little bit anxious.

“Desperate is maybe too strong a word, but we were going a bit too long instead of taking an extra pass and trying to stretch them and wait for those little pockets, and they’ve defended for their lives.

“It’s taken a wonder strike and a great reaction from Tobi to nod it over the line. Again, unbelievable scenes at the end for the players in front of those fans. It makes it a better day than it could have been. 

“In all fairness to the players they were quite calm at half time. I think it was the second half when stewards lost control here and didn’t do their jobs. And the police in all fairness, they didn’t do their jobs either.

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“They’re supposed to be there to protect us and they didn’t, and it wasn’t very pleasant. But it’s not about that, or them, let’s just talk about the credit the players need for the way they’ve gone about it.

“And also let’s give credit to Tranmere, because they’re a good football side.  To come and take a point is really good for us.”

Mopping up the discussions on the more controversial aspects of the encounter, we asked about the reasoning behind both managers seeing yellow.

“I’m told it’s for not controlling the technical area and apparently there was a meeting in the summer where everyone agreed to it,” he explained. “As it was I didn’t agree to it because I wasn’t part of the discussion, but I get why he did it.

“I don’t know, I might have done something I don’t remember doing, but I thought it was trying to calm it down, to get our players out of the way.

“Anyway, I’m just glad I didn’t get sent off, I wanted to be on the sideline so I’m glad it was just a yellow and I can take that on the chin, don’t need to lose sleep over it.

“He just seemed to be throwing yellow cards around for all sorts. Morgan got a yellow card, again I don’t really know what for, and Dynel was involved in it, so he got one.

“They were being dished out all over the place. It’s probably the easiest yellow card I’ve picked up in my career. I didn’t get many anyway. The whole emotion of the situation probably just got the better of everybody.

“It’s done now and thankfully we’re not having anybody suspended. I’m saying we didn’t deserve that, they’ve kept check of themselves, made sure they were clean in the way they went about it, and we move on to the next one.”

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