18 April 2023

Paul Simpson still looking up despite Carlisle being held by Stockport

18 April 2023

Paul Simpson is not ready to concede defeat in Carlisle’s chase for a top-three finish despite a 2-2 draw with League Two promotion rivals Stockport County at Brunton Park.

Jon Mellish and Owen Moxon each scored their sixth goals of the season in the second half to put the Cumbrians in front with seven minutes remaining.

But the Hatters, who gained a 31st-minute lead through Myles Hippolyte, equalised when substitute Connor Evans headed in a cross four minutes from time.

Simpson’s side and his former team are fifth and fourth respectively, four points off third but only three points from Mansfield in eighth.

“There are still enough points available for us to get in the top three,” said Simpson.

“We talked at the start of the season about getting enough points to stay up. We did that quite comfortably.

“Now we have got to get enough points to stay in the play-offs. Then we can look to see if we can grab one of those top three.”

Simpson’s side have won just won of their last eight and he added: “The first half wasn’t very good but we were outstanding in the second.

“We showed real character with the way we went about things. I said at half-time, if we are going to go down, we have got to go down kicking and screaming.

“And we had a real good go second half. We probably didn’t manage the game well enough when we got the second goal.

“We knew before the game we had to stop the crosses coming in. If they do come in then you need your goalkeeper to collect them or defend them. We didn’t do any of those three for their second goal.

“So massively disappointing but brilliant personality and character in the second half. And if we keep our heads, we can be a real threat.”

Stockport boss Dave Challinor said: “In normal circumstances, 2-2 is probably a result that both teams would potentially see as being acceptable.

“But in the current situation, it was important for three points for either side. But you look at how games develop and being 2-1 down after 80 odd minutes, we would have taken a point.

“We have two tough away trips and to be undefeated in both of them is a plus. But it is tinged with disappointment with how the league table looks and how those three points would have been.”

On his team’s chances of securing a top-three finish with three games left, Challinor added: “We can’t control anything outside of us.

“First and foremost we have to win three and hope teams above us lose some.”

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