A CONFESSION from manager Greg Abbott that Carlisle United were facing a crisis following their defeat at the weekend became an admission that the time for talking was over as the Cumbrians slumped to another demoralising defeat at the hands of away specialists Doncaster Rovers.
United have won just one of their last seven league outings at Brunton Park with visiting teams continuing to use the trip up north for shooting practice as they face an almost non-existent back line.
Having said that, there was more steel in this display until a mad four-minute first-half spell ripped the guts out of what was building up to be a spirited response to recent setbacks.
The evening started to unravel with less than 15 minutes on the clock when determined work from Hume brought a corner. Cotterill whipped it in and Rob Jones did the rest as he shrugged off the attentions of Danny Livesey to power the ball into the back of the net.
The lead was doubled when the imaginative Hume made space for Cotterill. He took two paces before curling an unstoppable beauty into the top corner.
The Cumbrians dug deep to find some resolve and the tall presence of teenager Mark Beck, making his first league start, gave the Rovers defence plenty to think about.
He had the best home chance of the half when he rose highest to meet a Symington cross from the right flank. His downward header had power, but Gary Woods shifted his feet and dropped on to it in comfort.
Carlisle showed flashes after the break without quite managing to build up a real head of steam, but they lifted spirits with one of the goals of the decade at Brunton Park from the boot of first-year professional Dave Symington.
He took charge of a 35-yard free kick and left the keeper with no chance as he crashed it into the roof of the net with an extremely sweet right-footed strike.
But the wind was whipped out of the sails of the Cumbrian fight back when a free-kick from deep caused confusion as it entered the box. It took a touch to wrong-foot Collin and Tommy Spurr stole in to find the empty net.
“We were better tonight and we have to thank the fans for the way they supported us,” manager Greg Abbott said.
“They were behind us all the way and we’re just so disappointed that we didn’t get anything for them.”
CARLISLE UNITED: Collin, Simek, Livesey, Edwards, Chantler, Symington, Potts, Berrett, Robson, Beck, Garner (Higginbotham 81). Subs not used: Gillespie, McGovern, Welsh, Noble, Todd, McGinty.
Goals: Symington (66). Bookings: Garner (33).
DONCASTER ROVERS: Gary Woods, Husband, Jones (Martis 46), Martin Woods, Paynter (Syres 75), Cotterrill, Spurr, Hume (Brown 69), Griffin, Harper, Keegan. Subs not used: Blake, Michael Woods, Maxted, Ball.
Goals: Jones (14), Cotterill (18), Spurr (76).
Bookings: Cotterill (40).
Attendance: 3,229. Referee: Mark Brown