Carlisle United 0 Brentford 0: Kavanagh happy with point after testing few days

Carlisle United manager Graham Kavanagh was delighted to give Bees a run for their money

Mark Fuller Carlisle's Sam Byrne in action
Carlisle's Sam Byrne in action

Carlisle United don’t do draws – this was their first in 18 games – but when they do they tend to be exciting affairs, and this one was no different as both sides could argue they were unlucky not to have walked away with the three points.

Brentford remain on track to claim an automatic promotion spot but they’ll be glad to see the back of the Cumbrians this season having dropped four points and suffered an FA Cup exit at the hands of the dogged and stubborn Brunton Park outfit.

“This has been an unbelievably difficult week for one reason or another,” Carlisle manager Graham Kavanagh explained.

“We lost Matt Robson and Sean O’Hanlon to injury during the week and, if I’m being completely honest, I didn’t finalise my team selection until one o’clock this afternoon.

“We had a number of options and ideas but we knew we were down to the bare bones in terms of personnel available.

“We’ve had to rely on a few players who haven’t played much football recently and I thought the lads were magnificent, to a man, against one of the best teams in the division. The pleasing thing is that we created chances and we could have won it.

“That shows me we have a group who can step up, in difficult circumstances, and do a job. That’s important for us because this is a huge month with games coming thick and fast.”

One of those who stood up to be counted was left-back Chris Chantler, who shook off the after-effects of two horrible ankle injuries to make his first start since the beginning of November.

“You do become a bit of a forgotten man when you’re injured for a long period,” Chantler admitted.

“It’s good to get out there and, even though I’ll be a bit stiff over the weekend, it’s nice to remind people that you’re there and that you can still do a job.

“Today’s back four hasn’t really worked together before but we’ve come through against a really good side with a clean sheet.

“I think we can all take confidence from that.”

Results elsewhere took the gloss off what was an encouraging afternoon’s work from Carlisle as others in and around the relegation area picked up points to keep things very tight in the bottom half of the table.

“We do keep an eye on what’s happening with the other teams because we want to get the points we need to make sure we’re in this league next season,” Kavanagh said.

“We do need at least one more body through the door to help us with that, but I’m trying to make sure it’s the right one.

“We thought we had someone coming in, but that fell through, and what I don’t want to do now is panic and take a gamble. Having said that, we’re getting to the stage where that might be the route we have to take.

“Robson and O’Hanlon could be missing for a long period so we need a bit of help in the defensive areas. Hopefully we’ll get something done this week but, whoever we have in the squad, I will continue to pick the team I think will get us the points we need.”

CARLISLE: Pickford, Symington, Meppen-Walter, Chimbonda, Chantler Noble, Potts, Redmond (Brough 85), Amoo, Miller, Byrne (Novo 64). Subs (not used): Ekangamene, Edwards, Fleming, Lynch, Guy.

Booked: Chantler, Miller, Noble, Novo.

BRENTFORD: Button, Yennaris, Tarkowski, Craig, Bidwell, Forshaw Douglas, Saville, Donaldson, Trotta (Grigg 72), Judge. Subs (not used): Lee, O’Connor, Fillo, Reeves, Calvet, Hutton.

Booked: Tarkowski, Judge.

Attendance: 3, 984

Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield).

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