Keith Millen hails Carlisle ‘resilience’ as they grind out win at Scunthorpe
Keith Millen hailed Carlisle’s ‘resilience’ after watching his side return from a Covid-enforced three-week break to claim a vital victory at relegation rivals Scunthorpe
Centre-back Rod McDonald headed home the decisive goal five minutes before half-time.
Carlisle spent long periods without the ball but retained their shape and discipline to grind out a victory.
“You know when you play away from home that the opposition are going to throw everything at you, so a 1-0 win mentally is huge,” he said.
“The more times you get a result like this, it gives you so much belief in what you’re doing.
“It’s nervy watching it – and we had more opportunities in the second half on the break than we did in the first half – but I loved the resilience that the players showed, players who haven’t done much training after coming back from Covid.
“In the first half it looked like we hadn’t played for three weeks, which I expected a little bit, but we stayed in the game and we defended with our lives at times.
“People forget that the players who’ve been isolating for seven or 10 days haven’t been able to train, apart from maybe doing a little bit at home.
“For them to come back in and play like they did, you have to hold your hands up.”
McDonald’s goal, bundled over the line at the back post from a 40th minute corner, was the defender’s first in just under five years.
Crucially, it came two minutes after former Carlisle striker Ryan Loft had squandered Scunthorpe’s best chance of the afternoon, dwelling on his shot after Harry Bunn’s clever flick in behind the visiting defence had put him clear, allowing the Cumbrians’ Morgan Feeney time to recover.
Iron boss Keith Hill, tasting defeat for the first time in six games, admitted his side had been punished for a failure to turn their possession into chances.
“I’m disappointed with the scoreline, and the fact that we conceded from a set play. Carlisle are bigger than us physically, and we played into their hands a little bit,” Hill said.
“We’ve been beaten for the first time in six games, but we’ve not scored enough in those six games, and today our only failure was not scoring.
“Getting into the final third is one thing, but we need players to take more responsibility to put the ball in the back of the net.
“We’re in a hole at the moment, but we’re trying to dig ourselves out. We’ve got to create a ladder effect and unfortunately we’ve slipped slightly today because everyone goes home disappointed about the result.”
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