15 April 2023

Paul Simpson calls on goal-shy Carlisle to ‘have a go’ after Northampton draw

15 April 2023

Carlisle boss Paul Simpson is desperate for his players to bring about a change of fortune by “taking off the shackles” following a goalless draw at home to Northampton.

The promotion rivals walked out for this fourth-tier match of the day to One Step Beyond by Madness.

But Brunton Park certainly wasn’t the House of Fun for Simpson as his team drew its latest blank.

Six times in the last seven games the Cumbrians have failed to score while playing out four goalless draws.

The goals shortage hasn’t yet proved terminal with Carlisle five points clear of eighth-placed Salford and only two points from the top three.

Ahead of Tuesday’s visit of fourth-placed Stockport, Simpson said: “Let’s just have a go.

“If we are going to try and achieve something let’s give it everything we have got: let’s go kicking and screaming.

“If you have given it everything and you have thrown the kitchen sink at it and it doesn’t happen you have got to accept that.

“I just don’t think we are throwing the kitchen sink at it. We have got to do something to get out of this blip; a blip that last now lasted 13 or 14 games.

“We are not talking three or four. We are not scoring enough goals and I want to get back to it soon.”

Omari Patrick hasn’t added to his four-goal tally since February 25.

While Northampton goalkeeper Lee Burge made a meal of saving the striker’s under-hit, fifth-minute low drive, the wait for goal number five goes on.

Carlisle keeper Tomas Holy’s opening save three minutes later was comfortable in the end but he had to back-pedal as Marc Leonard tried to lob the giant Czech from halfway.

Ben Barclay flashed a header wide from Owen Moxon’s corner for the hosts as the stalemate persisted while Leonard dragged a left-foot shot wide.

Northampton’s Ryan Haynes, numbered 29 on the team sheet but wearing 24, wasn’t far off putting ‘one’ on the scoreboard with a speculative 20-yard drive after 33 minutes.

Jon Mellish, Carlisle’s top scorer two seasons ago, then forced Burge into more action after dispossessing Sam Hoskins on the edge of the area.

Burge remained the busier of the keepers at the start of the second half, completing a hat-trick of routine stops after 51 minutes with Patrick again denied.

Little had been seen of Sam Hoskins as an attacking threat until the 20-goal marksman tested Holy eight minutes after the resumption.

A minute later, Mitch Pinnock sprang the offside trap and played in Will Hondermarck with only Holy to beat.

However, the Irish midfielder, who scored his first goal for the club in an Easter Monday victory over Gillingham, produced a tame effort from 18 yards.

Then it was Burge’s turn to rescue his side, making a double, close-range stop from Dennis.

Home fans claimed Dennis’ second effort crossed the line but the officials remained unmoved to bring Northampton’s ninth clean sheet in 16 outings.

Town boss Jon Brady said: “On another day Will scores that.

“He was the hero last game and he was brilliant in this one with the way he played but Holy stood up to the chance.

“Overall, it was a good result between two strong teams going toe-to toe.

“We had a lot more chances probably in the first 20-30 minutes period of the second half though they came on strong in the last 15.

“To come here and try and push them with 11 players out, with the way we played, overall it is a good point.

“Fair play to the officials; they don’t usually get much praise but I thought they did well.

“We have got four games to go and a target of what we think we need. We will be pushing towards that target.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox