THERE was nowhere to hide for Carlisle United following their weekend no-show against a Swindon side who are scoring goals for fun on their own patch.
Fourteen goals from their last three games at the County Ground has announced Paolo Di Canio’s attack-minded side as genuine contenders for a back-to-back promotion push.
That is little consolation for Carlisle, though, as they continue to struggle to find their best form.
“There are no excuses for this, ” manager Greg Abbott conceded.
“This is a real low point for us. Swindon were the better side and they have punished us. Maybe it was one game too far in what has been a busy period but we aren’t even going to offer that as a reason.
“We just haven’t competed well enough in the key areas.
“I’ve made it clear what my thoughts are in the dressing room and there aren’t too many arguments. The lads know they have to be better.
“We’ve had four games where we’ve seen improved performances and we have to treat this as a one-off.
“We have defended better and we have looked much stronger leading up to this and we need to get back to that when we face another in-form side in Coventry City next Sunday.”
The warning signs were there immediately for the visitors as the Robins pushed men forward every time they got the ball.
Goals from Andy Williams and James Collins – his fifth in two outings – had the game all but wrapped up before the half-time whistle had been blown.
Defender Frank Simek said: “It was one of those games where we didn’t get into it at all and we’re gutted. Their goals were sloppy and we were on the back foot for far too long.
“They’re a powerful side with good players but we’re better than that.
“We’ve shown in the last four or five games we can match anyone and we have to make sure we get back to playing that way.”
Token shots from Lee Miller and Dave Symington gave the travel-weary Carlisle fans something to talk about after the break but it was goalkeeper Mark Gillespie, with another string of fine saves, who became the difference between a heavy defeat and a drubbing.
Abbott added: The third and fourth goals were horrible, just horrible,.
“They both came from situations where we had the ball in good areas.
“Fair play to our goalkeeper who did ever so well, but it is a concern for us because we can’t keep conceding as many goals as we are.”
The Cumbrians have been guilty of conceding three or more goals in nine games this season.
Abbott added: “It’s a real concern for us and something we have to stop.”
SWINDON TOWN: Foderingham, Nathan Thompson, Devera, Ward, McCormack, Ritchie (De Vita 68), Ferry (Miller 77), Hollands, Roberts, Collins, Williams (Martin 64). Subs (not used): Bedwell, Flint, Navarro, Rooney.
Booked: Ritchie. Goals: Williams 16, Collins 36, Williams 55, De Vita 80.
CARLISLE UNITED: Gillespie, Simek, Livesey, Edwards (Murphy 8), Robson, Potts (Symington 37), Noble, Berrett, McGovern, Loy, Miller. Subs (not used): Collin, Welsh, Beck, Todd, McGinty.
Attendance: 9, 162 Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland).