If you could write a minute-by-minute plan of what you would want your first game of the season to be like you’d probably include a line saying something like – an early goal would be nice – and that’s exactly how it went for Carlisle thanks to Kris Dennis, who scooped a fifth minute chance into the back of the net (do we give Owen Moxon the assist?) to add a bit of joy to what had been a blistering start from the Blues.
“Kris is a goal scorer, we’ve said that before,” manager Paul Simpson said. “It was probably a really scruffy one, but I’ve said to him that the first one of the season is always really hard to get.
“To get yourself up and running on the first game is really brilliant, and I’m delighted for him. I thought him and Edmo worked tirelessly, they chased and they harried, and they went and pressed together.
“Over the game, when you look at it, we had 19 opportunities which class as chances, but I didn’t actually count how many were on target.
“That means we’ve given ourselves a base to build from but we know we have to be more clinical. I think we’ll get better and be more commanding in games if we get that bit right.”
“I’m really pleased with the way the forwards worked,” he added. “A part of the game that often goes unnoticed with forwards is their workrate when we’re out of possession.
“I thought they were absolutely fantastic, the way they worked and scurried and worked around their players, went to close down, it helped us win the ball back high up.
“We got into good areas, on another day we could have probably had more goals from our strikers, and the sooner we can get Edmo off the mark he’ll feel a hell of a lot better as well.
“I think we’ll get goals from different parts of the pitch as well. We haven’t seen a lot of Sonny Hilton, Sonny’s a goalscorer, Mox will get goals for us, we want the wing-backs to get in at the far post and get goals for us.
“We have to spread it around a bit better than we probably have done over the last few years. I just think if we can improve on those things, our decision-making and our technical ability, we can cause problems.”
“But I don’t think now is the time to criticise missed chances,” he concluded. “Maybe when we review next week, but I think criticise it too strong a word.
“We’ll certainly show them what they were doing, and maybe what else they could do, because I do think we need to be more clinical.
“They know, I asked the question at the end of the game, I said what’s the only thing missing, and they all said five goals. That’s the truth of it. We should have been more clinical.
“I thought Ellery Balcombe made a couple of good saves but we probably should have done a little bit better in the second half. I could be really picky, I wanted three points, we’ve got them, so let’s be pleased with the way we’ve started.”