Carlisle’s League One status hangs by a thread following a battling draw at Crawley, and it was once again an inability to turn good chances into goals which leaves them in need of a Molineux miracle when they face Wolves in the final game of the season on Saturday.
The game in hand has long been a comfort blanket, trotted out as a potential saving grace as bad result followed crushing defeat this season. But Carlisle now need to beat the Champions and hope others lose if they are to pull off an unlikely escape. It was an even first half with Crawley shading it on the quality of chances created as United struggled to find away through a stubborn home back line.
Matt Tubbs was the Red Devils dangerman and his eyes lit up when Torres fed him into the box. His crisp thunderbolt was heading for the bottom corner until Pickford dropped low to palm it away.
Poor control from Brown allowed Tubbs to break free once more and he almost caught Pickford napping with a snapshot at the near post.
United’s best football came from David Amoo and his industry gave Noble a brief sight of the target as blue shirts amassed in the penalty area. Mark Connolly covered the ground to make a vital block. Crawley looked the more likely and another poor clearance from Brown left Proctor with time and space on his side. He took two touches and was disappointed when he sent a poor shot into the stands.
The home side picked up where they had left off after the break and a crunching tackle from Torres, which left Symington on the floor, left Proctor with plenty to do. He made it past his man but poked a poor shot right at Pickford.
Carlisle responded with a run of testing corners and they almost edged into the lead when Crawley struggled to deal with a Symington cross. Amoo struck it cleanly and the officials ignored the appeals for handball as Noble stepped in to strike. His towering effort took the slightest of deflections which was enough to take it on to the bar.
The Cumbrians started to throw men forward but Crawley closed ranks and it became one win in fourteen for the disappointed Cumbrians.
CRAWLEY TOWN: Jones, Sadler, Connolly, McFadzean, Torres, Drury, Walsh, Proctor, Bulman, Tubbs, Edwards. Subs - Essam, Fallon, Monakana, Maddison, Dicker, Isaacs, Richefond.
CARLISLE: Pickford, Symington, Chimbonda (Byrne 68), O’Hanlon, Brown, Chantler, Potts, Berrett, Noble (Meppen-Walter 89), Amoo, Guy (Dempsey 80). Subs - Fleming, Robson, Redmond, Pearson.
Bookings: Crawley Town – Tubbs (76); Carlisle United – Berrett (86), Potts (90), Meppen-Walter (90), Pickford (90).
Attendance: 3,271 Referee: Mr Rob Lewis