Colchester United 0 Carlisle United 1: Carl Marston’s 4 Talking Points

Drey Wright, back in the squad after a swollen ankle. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Drey Wright, back in the squad after a swollen ankle. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Here are Carl Marston’s four talking points from yesterday’s 1-0 home defeat to Carlisle, Jamie Devitt scoring the winner for the Cumbrians on 58 minutes.

BELOW-PAR

The U’s just produced a below-par performance. It was as simple as that.

They failed to gel as a team, and never really put Carlisle under any sustained pressure.

Once again, there was no shortage of effort, but there was a lack of ideas and originality. They did not have the know-how to breach the Cumbrians’ defence, and in the end it was a relatively comfortable 1-0 away success for Keith Curle’s men.


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The U’s did have a few sights of goal, but as has happened so often this season, they were not ruthless enough in the penalty area.

Goals do not come easily to a team clearly missing the presence of last season’s regular marksmen, Brennan Dickenson and Kurtis Guthrie (both injured), plus Chris Porter (now Crewe).

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CREDIT TO CARLISLE

You could see why the Cumbrians had gathered most of their points on the road, rather than at Brunton Park.

They were well-organised, well-drilled, and lined up in a mainly defensive formation, packing the midfield in a 4-5-1 system.

They stifled the U’s creative midfield duo of Doug Loft and Sean Murray, man-marking the former out of the game at times.

And at the back, 38-year-old Clint Hill, who turns 39 on Thursday, was supreme alongside Gary Liddell in the heart of defence.

On the few occasions when the U’s had a sight of goal, keeper Jack Bonham pulled off some excellent saves.

So although this could be viewed as a smash-and-grab 1-0 away win, scoring with their only shot on target all game, Carlisle were actually good value for their away success.

They have now won four on the road, accounting for 12 of their 17 points to date.

RETURN OF INJURIES

The U’s seem unable to shake off their injury curse.

A few players have come back into the fold, like long-term victim Craig Slater (a 67th minute substitute on Saturday), plus Doug Loft after all his niggling injuries, and Kyle Reid and Tom Eastman more recently.

But Kurtis Guthrie’s comeback, after seven months out with an ankle injury, has been derailed.

The seriousness of Guthrie’s “setback” remains unclear – McGreal was reluctant to go into details – but last season’s 12-goal striker looks set for a longer spell on the sidelines.

Kane Vincent-Young picked up a hamstring injury during the previous weekend’s 2-0 win over Mansfield, and fellow defender Ryan Inniss is the latest arrival in the treatment room, having tweaked a hamstring during training on Thursday.

BIG WEEK AHEAD

This was only the U’s fourth home league defeat of 2017, but it couldn’t have come at a much worse time.

John McGreal’s side now face two tough away trips this week, a long midweek journey to Newport County on Tuesday evening followed by a visit to Coventry City on Saturday.

Both Newport and Coventry are currently occupying play-offs places, the Welsh club rising to sixth following an impressive 4-0 victory at bottom club Forest Green Rovers on Saturday, although the Sky Blues slipped to seventh with a 1-0 defeat at Accrington Stanley.

A testing few days lie ahead.

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