Carlisle United's FA Cup heroics will most likely get no more than a passing mention outside Cumbria, as the big news from the second-round tie at the weekend came five hours before kick-off when Bees boss Uwe Rosler packed his bags and headed to Wigan in a dramatic turn of events.
But the Cumbrians did well to ignore the ‘will he, won’t he’ saga being played out by their visitors to produce their best performance of the season to date, as they brought an emphatic end to the unbeaten nine-match run which had put Rosler in the shop window in the first place.
“It’s hard to praise individuals because I thought every one of our players was magnificent,” said manager Graham Kavanagh (pictured below). “We passed the ball as well as we have all season and we looked like a really good side. We took our chances and I thought the result was a fair one.
“Obviously we hoped the events of Friday and Saturday morning would upset them a little bit, but they are a very good side.
“They made us work hard and I’m delighted that we got through it and into the excitement of the third round draw.”
A wonder strike from James Berrett gave United the lead on the stroke of half-time but equally as impressive was the reaction of the home eleven after former Sunderland defender Pascal Chimbonda inadvertently diverted a low McCormack cross into his own net.
“The goal from James was unbelievable,” striker Lee Miller said. “That set the tone and I thought the way we got right back at it after the equaliser was massive for us.
“It’s always nice to score, so to get two was good. I’ve said before that I haven’t been at my best, I’m the first to admit that, and it’s great to be able to give the fans something back.
“There was a bit of a discussion with David Amoo about who would take the penalty because he was the one who won it, so that’s fair enough. In the end Kav made the decision and I was happy with that. I’m confident with them anyway but it’s great to get the goals that puts us in the hat with the big boys.”
The other big story of the weekend was the performance of former Manchester City defender Courtney Meppen-Walter, who made his debut after signing a short-term deal for the club following his recent release from prison.
“What he has been through is well documented and I know from talking to him that he has found it tough over these last couple of years, ” Kavanagh explained.
“We decided to give him his chance and he showed everyone that he is an excellent footballer. He worked very hard for the full 90 minutes and he’s only going to get better from here. He knows he’s going to have to be mentally tough to deal with the questions which will be asked about what has gone before, but he’s taken a big first step and he’s done it very well.”
And on the financial importance of the victory, Kavanagh said: “We needed a cup run and this is something to give back to the board after the way they have supported me since I took over. Hopefully the draw will be good to us and we can get even more money in the coffers.”