Carlisle’s new head coach Chris Beech has taken the first steps towards putting the smiles back on the faces of the Cumbrian club’s fans.
Beech, with two draws and a win since taking over the reins at Brunton Park from Steven Pressley, saw his side pull off a 1-0 FA Cup second round replay win over Forest Green thanks to Aaron Hayden’s first-half header.
“We have to make this a hard place to come and get a result,” Beech said.
“There will be obstacles but we have to build and make things stronger. We have to grow again and I want Carlisle people to enjoy coming to this football club.”
The former Rochdale assistant added: “We knew Forest Green were a possession-based team but ultimately we stuck to the task.
“We have worked hard individually with the players. They have been sleep-walking and not waking up.”
A first-half header by defender Hayden gave Carlisle a third-round tie away to Championship side Cardiff.
It was third time lucky for the Cumbrians after twice drawing with Rovers this season in the league and cup.
Beech was full of praise for the goalscorer who has struggled to win a place in the side since his move from Wolves.
He said: “I need that physicality in both boxes. Aaron is so humble and he gives you the feeling of how fortunate he thinks he is to be here. He worked hard to get in the team and provides something this team lacked.”
On a blustery evening Forest Green made the better of the conditions in the first half hour and on a couple of occasions dangerous balls flashed across the Carlisle penalty area without finding any takers.
Their manager Mark Cooper had called for a more ruthless streak in front of goal, but until a late effort by Aaron Collins that rattled the bar, they had failed to make the most of their possession.
Beech added: ”The pleasing thing the lads gave everything and deserved their luck when Forest Green hit the bar. Everything else was blocked and cleared.”
Kyle Taylor went close to opening the scoring for Rovers when he came bursting on to a Liam Shephard cross, but from 12 yards he was unable to keep his finishing effort down.
Carlisle went in front when Hayden got his head to Nathan Thomas’ accurate cross to force the ball home from six yards.
Collins fired a warning to Carlisle that the job was not done, his 80th minute 25-yard piledriver slamming against the bar.
But despite a late show of urgency, it was too late for Forest Green to retrieve the situation.
Cooper admitted his side had not met the standards he expected of them.
In an interview on the club website, he said: “We gave away a free header from a set-piece. I don’t think they had many other chances.
“We didn’t play particularly well but we should get something out of the game with the chances we’ve created.
“It’s disappointing. We have to do better than that. Players are hurting and we’ve just got to get back to where we were, we’ve been off it the last two weeks.
“We need to be humble, we need to work really hard and we need to get back to where we were.”