21 March 2023

Paul Simpson hails Carlisle ‘desire’ after hard-fought draw at Bradford

21 March 2023

Carlisle boss Paul Simpson enjoyed the show his side put on despite them playing out a second goalless draw in a few days.

The Cumbrians moved back into the League Two automatic promotion places after picking up a point at Bradford, following on from their weekend stalemate against Stevenage.

It maintained their five-point advantage over Mark Hughes’ side while moving them above Northampton into third place.

Both sides hit the woodwork – with Carlisle substitute Jordan Gibson striking the inside of the post with the final kick of the game.

Simpson said: “I thought it was a fantastic game of football with two teams slugging it out trying to get a winner. Neither one was settling for a draw.

“Second half we came under incredible pressure and it’s fair to say we wouldn’t have deserved to win it. But I dread to think what the scenes would have been like if that had gone in right on the last kick of the game.

“We played really well first half but didn’t have enough quality in the final third.“Second half it’s a different type of performance. They’ve rolled their sleeves up, headed, kicked, defended, they’ve done everything that was necessary – even giving up small professional fouls to kill the flow.

“That shows the desire to want to stay in the game. This is a really big point at a tough place to come and it keeps us ticking along nicely.”

League Two top scorer Andy Cook, who began his career at Carlisle, went close in the second half with a shot that defender Morgan Feeney deflected against the crossbar as Bradford stepped up the pressure.

Carlisle edged the first half with Jack Armer’s cross-shot bending the wrong side of the post while Ryan Edmondson had a header comfortably held by Harry Lewis.

Bradford have now drawn their last four games but manager Hughes praised an “excellent” display.

He said: “The first half was very even but I thought we totally dominated the game in the second and they found it very difficult to cope with us.

“We tried everything, we changed shape, we changed personnel, we had wing-backs, we had wingers, we had number 10s – all sorts going on. We tried our best to get the maximum out of the game.

“It wasn’t to be. We’ve gone up against a good team but haven’t been able to get the three points we wanted.

“I’m sure they are delighted with what they’ve got from their last two games. We feel we could have got more but there were some big performances again.“I was really proud of the lads’ efforts. It was a key game and another point on the board. We’re still trending the right way in my view.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox