THE terrace grumblings at Brunton Park became an early search for the exit signs.
Leyton Orient almost doubled their season’s away tally of goals with just 45 minutes gone courtesy of more shambolic defending from the Cumbrian backline. The ‘goals against’ tally in home league games now sits at a mind-blowing 22 and remains the main reason why last season’s play-off chasers find themselves just three points above the drop zone.
With attendances dwindling at an alarming rate – the Cumbrians’ faithful have seen their side concede four goals on three separate occasions in their last five home fixtures – there is little doubt something has to be done to stem the flow before the words ‘relegation battle’ creep into the mix. Manager Greg Abbott said: “I take responsibility because I pick the team.
“However, I don’t think there is much anyone could do about the way we conceded some of those goals. I think I’ll have nightmares about the fourth one for months to come.
“That’s nothing to do with what you do in training or how you prepare. That’s a really poor, sloppy piece of play which effectively killed off any chance we had of dragging ourselves back into it.”
The one bright spot shining from what became a pit of despair was a headed equaliser for long-serving defender Peter Murphy, but that did little to persuade hundreds of disgruntled fans staying to watch the second half was an option. David Mooney and Ben Chorley had already turned the screw either side of the Murphy strike before Kevin Lisbie sprung the offside trap to feed Lee Cook for the easiest tap-in he will ever score.
It was time for the fans to turn their backs completely when, on the stroke of half-time, Mike Edwards lost his bearings and misplaced an awful pass.
Mooney made no mistake as he strode forward to rattle it into the back of the net.
Abbott added: “We’ve had four good seasons of improvement, Wembley appearances and excitement, but this is a really tough time.
“We think we have the players here who can get us out of this, but they have to show they can step up to the plate.
“There was no fight or inspiration in this game and I can’t ever accept that.
“We are looking for our players to be men but we didn’t get any of that. “
CARLISLE: Collin, Simek, Murphy, Edwards, Chantler, Noble (Beck 46), Potts, Berrett, Higginbotham (Symington 46), Garner, McGovern (Robson 46). Subs (not used): Gillespie, Welsh, Todd, McGinty.
Goal: Murphy 25.
LEYTON ORIENT: Allsop, Sawyer, Clarke, Chorley, Odubajo, Cox (Jimmy Smith 83), Cook, Rowlands, James (Griffith 64), Lisbie (Symes 75), Mooney. Subs (not used): Jones, McSweeney, Baudry, Brunt.
Goals: Mooney 18, Chorley 26, Cook 38, Mooney 44.
Attendance: 3, 964
Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland).