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INTERVIEW: Can't fault their attitude or application

Cumberland Cup reaction from Gav Skelton

27 September 2023

Club News

INTERVIEW: Can't fault their attitude or application

Cumberland Cup reaction from Gav Skelton

27 September 2023

Assistant manager Gav Skelton spoke to us at a very wet and cold Gillford Park on Tuesday night after watching his side win through to the second round of this season’s Fred Conway Cumberland Cup via a penalty shootout.

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“It was very competitive, which is what you would expect,” he said. “It’s a team that’s doing well in the league and they have a lot of former Carlisle players; players that I know.

“They play together every week and they’ve had some really good results lately. We knew it was going to be competitive and you have to love these wet Cumbrian Tuesday evenings, which made it even more feisty.

“Thankfully we’ve come out of it on the right end of the result. I felt that over the piece we could have nicked it over the 90 minutes but unfortunately it’s the same story, it’s just that final third where we lacked that quality.

“Having said that, Scott Simons made a couple of fantastic saves and credit to him for that. I can’t fault the attitude or application of any of our lads, so that’s pleasing. I think for anyone watching I’m sure they felt it was an entertaining and competitive game.”

The away team had a number of good moments and opportunities, without quite managing to add to Terry Ablade’s first half opener.

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“We keep saying that, don’t we,” he commented. “Between the boxes we had some good play, but it’s that vital bit inside the boxes where we were just lacking.

“We got into the areas but we didn’t work the keeper and it comes down to the final pass or shot. Credit to City because they defended well, so I don’t want to take anything away from them.

“We worked hard to get a goal up and we spoke at half time about not giving them any chances in the first ten minutes. Unfortunately we gave them one and they took it well, which made it more of a difficult night. Like I say, I’m sure people were entertained and it’s good that we got through.

“To say they had something to cling onto would be disrespectful because they had some good opportunities, they got free kicks into our box, which we were aware of, and we knew they’d look to cause us problems. Thankfully we dealt with that, but we’ve got to be more clinical in the final third.”

On that first finish for Fulham loanee Ablade, he told us: “It’s always nice to get your first goal, he’ll feel better for that. We’re pleased for him because when he’s come on, he’s had an impact.

“That’s his first 90 minutes for a long time and it was on a very heavy pitch in a very competitive game, not just a bounce game. I’m sure he’ll gain strength from that.


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“It’ll give him that boost because it’s the bread and butter for a striker. I know you want a 20 or 30-yarder, but to get a scrappy tap in inside the six-yard box is good. Sometimes that’s what we’re lacking and hopefully if he gets the opportunity he’ll do that for the first team.”

On heading into the lottery of the penalty kicks, he said: “All I said to them was that they had to get them on target, especially with my record with them.

“I asked everyone who took them to hit the target. Fair play to them, they did, and fair play to Gabriel Breeze for the save he made. Importantly it means we’re in the hat.

“To be fair we prepared correctly. We did match prep on Monday, we had a report on them so that we knew everything about them, but it’s always difficult when you’re playing against ex-players. “They’re a really strong side, they’re doing well in their league, they’re ambitious and they’re probably the strongest team in the area because they have some really good players.

“We had some of our youth team involved and it’s a big night for them, you can’t underestimate that. It was very competitive, a night game in front of a big crowd, with the first team players beside them.

“I thought they applied themselves well and hopefully they all enjoyed it and know they can improve on that.”

A concern on the night was the first half substitution of Taylor Charters, who pulled up whilst chasing through ball.

“To be fair that obviously is concerning, but we’ll wait and see what happens with it,” he explained. “We have no idea on that just yet.

“It’s concerning. We’re concerned. Like I say, he’ll get sorted, but it needs confirming as to what it is.

“Dylan McGeouch is still not quite right, Ben Barclay is getting there, he’s training again, which is a positive, but obviously Dylan hasn’t trained.

“Corey was missing through illness, to be fair to him. It’s disappointing for Corey because his attitude is fantastic. I suppose we missed him. He stayed away from the group today so hopefully he’ll be fine by Thursday.”

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