Chris Beech hailed Carlisle’s “best overall performance” during his tenure after they beat Colchester 3-2 in an entertaining clash.
Lewis Alessandra and Jon Mellish set the tone for Carlisle as they scored in the first 30 minutes to open up a two-goal gap, but alarm bells started to ring when Luke Norris pounced against the run of play just before the break.
Norris then levelled things up from the spot early in the second period after a raised hand from Rod McDonald brought a whistle from the referee.
But Aaron Hayden scored with an 81st-minute header before producing a late clearance to get Carlisle over the line.
“That’s the best overall performance since I took over,” Carlisle boss Chris Beech said. “We played with energy and commitment, and we could have easily scored three or four more goals.
“You do fear the worst when a team scores twice from two of the only real attacks they’ve had, but my players answered a lot of questions there.
“They could have crumbled and folded, because Colchester are a good side, but they never let up in getting the ball forward and going for the goal.
“Of course we got it through Aaron Hayden, and then he pulls off a goal-saving tackle with the last kick of the game.
“I’m just really pleased for the boys. You don’t always get what you deserve in this game, but if you do the work and believe in yourselves, good things tend to come your way.
“It’s still early, but we’re at the end of the table we want to be at. There’s a long journey ahead but the confidence is there, as it has been all along, and we’re now getting the results to go with it.”
Eye-catching Carlisle made it three wins in a row to continue their charge up the table, but for Colchester it’s just one win from six for new boss Steve Ball.
“We can’t really argue with the result,” he conceded. “We showed glimpses at the end of the first half and the start of the second half, but it was nowhere near enough.
“I was frustrated when we were in possession because we kept giving the ball away. We have to start to nail it, because if we’re going to play the way we’re going to play, we’ve got to trust ourselves to be better than that on the ball.
“A lot of Carlisle’s attacks were on the back of us giving the ball away, which was so frustrating.”
Having struck back twice through Norris, he also admitted that his team looked like they just could not take that extra step.
“Carlisle had a very aggressive press and we knew it probably wouldn’t last for the whole game because they were so energetic,” he said. “I think it showed at the end of the first half, they dipped, but fair play to them for that press.
“Normally for us, that should be a real chance to bypass them, but we played too quick and made poor decisions on the ball. I think Carlisle had 20 shots and half of them were probably from our turnovers. That’s just not good enough.”
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