Carlisle United moved up to fourth in League Two with a second victory in a week on Saturday, winning 1-0 at Bradford City.
Rhys Bennett scored the only goal to secure a deserved win for Chris Beech’s team, who are level on points with the automatic promotion places as their impressive season continues apace.
On the game
The victory could have been secured by a greater margin if not for a host of wasted chances, while Bradford didn’t have a single shot on their goal in the entire afternoon, but Beech wasn’t too enthused by their display.
“I wouldn’t say it was great, but it was definitely dogged and determined,” he said. “There were some elements of great counter attacking, but some pretty wasteful decisions to make it a little bit easier for us.
“I haven’t looked at the stats but I know we had a lot of shots. I thought Bradford did well. I thought they played better than a team associated with where they are in the league (now in the relegation zone).
“I thought the players were determined for them and made it hard for us. But we’ve got to beat different teams in different ways, and today it was a scruffy goal.”
After a nip-and-tuck first half where both teams had chances, Carlisle took a decisive hold of the contest in the second half and created waves of pressure and scoring opportunities.
Beech said: “I think what happened in the first half is why tried to play too many five- or 10-yard passes, that feel good because you’re keeping the ball, but you’re not passing with a purpose.
“In the second half we definitely passed with a purpose, which gives more determination and energy to players that have it, which then ends up with more goal threats.”
On Rhys Bennett
Match-winner Bennett joined the Cumbrians less than a month ago, but in that time he has not only impressed at the heart of their defence but emerged as a surprise goal threat, with this goal his third in five league matches for the club.
Manager Beech said of the former Peterborough United player’s scoring record: “It’s very good but he’ll be more proud of his clean sheet.
“Defending is an art, people think you just head it and kick it but it’s movement, it’s playing off your opponents, with the player who’s supporting you, and it’s doing it with some artistry and skill. Rhys is very clean.”
On the upcoming rest
Week-long breaks between matches are a rare commodity in this most gruelling of campaigns, but Carlisle can enjoy a quick breather before the first of back-to-back home matches against Stevenage next weekend.
“It gives us a rest, which is important,” said Beech. “I said to the players: what’s the song ‘eat, sleep, rave’? Well it’s eat, sleep, rest (for us).
“We’re got to keep doing that, we’ve got more time and we’ve got to utilise that time for our benefit.”