05 August 2023

Paul Simpson believes Carlisle could have won opening game against Fleetwood

05 August 2023

Carlisle manager Paul Simpson believes his side could have come away with more after they started life back in Sky Bet League One with a 1-1 draw against Fleetwood.

Owen Moxon opened the scoring for the Cumbrians with a 30-yard free-kick, but it was cancelled out by Brendan Wiredu’s strike just before half-time.

Both teams had chances to score the winner and Simpson was left to rue missed opportunities.

“I’m reasonably happy with a point out of it, but on reflection – and this is a real early reflection – we’ve had the chances to win the game today,” he said.

“We’ve had two really good chances in the second half, well created chances, but overall I’m really pleased to get our first point and it’s given us something to take confidence from and build for the next one.”

Moxon put the home side ahead in the 36th minute with a beautifully curled free-kick into the top left corner after he had been fouled by Scott Robertson.

Fleetwood equalised, though, in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time as Wiredu’s first-time volley flew into the bottom left corner after Huntington had headed clear Phoenix Patterson’s cross.

Jordan Gibson had a great chance to restore Carlisle’s lead just after half-time, but he miscued a shot from Fin Back’s cross with the goal gaping.

At the other end, Promise Omochere should have scored after Josh Vela’s cross broke his way, but he pulled his effort across goal and wide.

Substitute Joe Garner, formerly of Fleetwood, saw his late header saved by visiting goalkeeper Jay Lynch as the spoils were shared.

Carlisle are competing at League One level for the first time in nine years and Simpson is anticipating a tough campaign.

“We’re going to have to be fitter,” he added. “We’re going to have to be resilient.

“We’re going to have use the squad wisely and it’s going to be a real test for us.”

Fleetwood boss Scott Brown was also left disappointed by his team’s lack of cutting edge.

“They scored a fantastic free-kick and we had to dig deep to try and get ourselves back into the game, but these things are going to happen now and then,” the Scot said.

“Teams are going to score fantastic free-kicks like that, but we showed heart.

“We showed desire to get back into the game and I thought for long periods of the game we controlled the game.

“And, especially the longer the game went on, I thought we looked the fitter team.

“For myself, we’ve got to be proud of the lads on that, but we have to be a little bit more ruthless in the final third and have that little bit more quality as well because we got into some great areas.

“So it’s those small details we need to try and work on as much as we possibly can over the next couple of weeks.”

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