Blackpool kept up the pace in the League One play-off race with a slender 1-0 victory over relegated Carlisle.

Karamoko Dembele scored one of the quickest goals this season as he bagged the only goal of the game inside the first minute at Brunton Park.

It was a third win in a row for Neil Critchley’s chasers, who are three points off the pace having played a game more than incumbents Oxford.

The midfielder needed just 22 seconds to fire the visitors in front as he took Shayne Lavery’s ball into his stride before curling home.

Harry Lewis produced a good save to keep out Lavery and stop Blackpool going two ahead inside 10 minutes.

Luke Armstrong saw his header cleared off the line on the hour mark for the hosts.

Down the other end, Lewis produced a good stop to deny Sonny Carey.

Paul Simpson’s side slipped to a third defeat in four as they look towards life back in League Two.

Harvey Knibbs was at the double as Reading fired themselves five points clear of the Sky Bet League One relegation zone with a fine 3-1 victory at basement boys Carlisle.

Playmaker Knibbs bagged a brace in the 5-1 drubbing when the the two sides met back in November.

And he repeated the trick with goals in neither half after Sam Smith put the visitors ahead at Brunton Park.

The Royals went close to an opener when Knibbs slipped Smith, whose effort hit a post, through on goal.

But the visitors hit the front moments later as Smith coolly slotted beyond on-rushing Harry Lewis in the 17th minute.

Captain Andy Yiadom unlocked the door for the second as he raced to the byline and cut back for Knibbs to tap home 10 minutes before half-time.

And dangerman Knibbs doubled his tally 12 minutes after the restart as he pounced on a teasing Femi Azeez cross for the third.

Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan almost had a fourth when his strike was tipped over by Lewis.

Jon Mellish pulled one back as he headed home Jordan Gibson’s cross with 20 minutes to go.

But it was a mere consolation as Paul Simpson’s crumbling Cumbrians slumped to a ninth defeat in 10.

Cambridge boss Neil Harris was delighted his frontline answered his call for more goals after a 4-0 win at basement boys Carlisle.

The U’s secured their biggest league win of the season as Sullay Kaikai, Sam Levelle’s own goal, Elias Kachunga’s header and Ryan Bennett’s late fourth did the damage at Brunton Park.

Victory saw Harris’ side go eight points clear of the drop zone and cut their goal difference down to minus eight.

“A clean sheet is vitally important and we’re pleased with the four goals,” reflected Harris.

“If we’re honest it could have been six or seven. The boys are disappointed they’ve not scored more goals.

“When I talk about defending as a team and attacking as a team, it’s important for the defenders to score goals as well.

“Stats are important, goals are important with goal difference and things like that.

“After the back of a week of two disappointing results, we’re really pleased. You end up chasing a little bit and look towards the fixtures coming up.

“It’s a strong performance that gives us a lot of belief and confidence.

“I thought Carlisle had to win the game to have any hope about trying to catch us or anybody else.

“The first seven minutes we were a very poor version of ourselves. We settled and the goal helps.”

For relegation-threatened Carlisle it was a sorry seventh straight loss as hopes of survival continued to slip away.

Deflated Paul Simpson said: “It’s probably as disappointed as I have been all season if I’m honest.

“I just felt it was a bit of a capitulation from us after the second goal.

“I thought we started the first half bright. We got in the final third and I sound like a broken record but when we get in the final third it fizzled out.

“We didn’t get tight enough for the first goal. I’ve spoken all season about sending wide players down the line and going into a race with them. We let the wide player do whatever he wants. You have to defend that better.

“The second goal is a horrible one to give away. It’s a mistake and we have to accept that. It’s slippy conditions and the ball slips through the keeper’s hands.

“The third, the recovery runs aren’t quick enough when we give the ball away up the pitch. We aren’t sprinting to get back.

“The fourth is a centre-back having more desire to get on a cross coming in. There’s a million and one things we could talk about.”

Cambridge inflicted further woe on basement side Carlisle with a fine 4-0 away win at Brunton Park.

Sierra Leone midfielder Sullay Kaikai, who had not scored in his five previous games, fired the visitors into a welcome 14th-minute lead with a sweet right-foot strike into the bottom right corner.

An unfortunate second-half own goal from Sam Lavelle, an Elias Kachunga header three minutes later and Liam Bennett’s late goal made sure Carlisle have now lost their last seven games on the spin.

Striker Lyle Taylor had come close to doubling the lead after Kaikai’s early opener, but his effort was parried by keeper Harry Lewis and deflected wide.

Kaikai and defender James Gibbons both had shots blocked as the U’s forced the pace, before Danny Andrew came within a whisker of scoring with a fierce free-kick which flew just wide.

Josh Vela saw his close-range header well saved by shot-stopper Jack Stevens, while Harrison Neal had a shot charged down for the Blues.

Goalscorer Kaikai had an effort charged down before Lewis saved Jordan Gibson’s header on the stroke of half-time and Jack Diamond rifled wide for the visitors close to the hour mark.

Taylor headed wide before Lavelle deflected Kaikai’s cross into his own net and Kachunga bagged his fourth league goal of the season.

Substitute Bennett pounced with seven minutes left as the U’s bounced back from successive defeats.

Oxford boss Des Buckingham has urged his players to find their consistency after a 3-1 win at Carlisle.

The promotion-chasing U’s remain in the hunt after Mark Harris’ double and Tyler Goodrham’s effort at Brunton Park.

Alfie McColmont’s goal was a mere consolation for the relegation-threatened Cumbrians, but Buckingham’s charges are three points off the top three after a fourth victory in six games.

“It’s a big win for us,” said the Oxford manager.

“We’re obviously still short of bodies ourselves, but we’re slowly starting to get right.

“It’s about trying to remain consistent and if we do that the performances will come.

“It’s important with 20 games to go to get as many points as possible.”

Harris’ brace, with goals either side of half-time, took his tally to four in four, and Buckingham is pleased as punch his striker is getting the rewards after an 11-game goal drought.

He said: “Mark’s getting some reward for the efforts he put in for the spell he had when he wasn’t scoring.

“We’ve spoken in the dressing room about standards so we don’t get too high or too low with the performance or the result.

“Mark Harris’ attitude to that spell where he wasn’t scoring, he was creating, he was hitting the bar and the post and the keepers were making good saves. If he could continue doing that he would be scoring and it’s great to see those efforts hitting the net rather than the woodwork or the keeper now.”

Struggling Carlisle have won just one of their last 12 league games and boss Paul Simpson believes the difference has been the quality in front of goal.

He said: “They are a very good side. They’re a club that is gearing up to try and be promoted.

“When we didn’t make those opportunities count in the first half they started to get control of the game.

“The first goal was a set-play and it was a really simple thing where we don’t pick up the biggest centre-half on the pitch, he’s 6ft 4in, and he gets a free header. You go a goal down and you’re up against it and we were rocked a bit.

“The second goal is an absolute sickener to give that away when the striker runs through two centre-backs. If we had VAR it would be given offside.

“But we don’t, it’s down to the human eye. Whether it’s right or wrong is debatable, we don’t really know. We were chasing it after that.

“That was the difference, the difference in quality in the final third separated us. We’ve got in there and not been able to test the keeper enough.

“Things go against you when you’re down but we stuck at it, kept trying to give it a go. There were incidents where we should have done better and worked the goalkeeper more.”

Promotion-chasing Oxford kept up the pressure on League One’s top two with a convincing 3-1 victory at Carlisle.

The U’s ran riot as Mark Harris’ brace and a further strike from Tyler Goodrham did the damage at Brunton Park.

Alfie McCalmont pulled one back for the relegation-threatened hosts, but they ultimately slipped to a third defeat in four matches.

The game sprung into life five minutes before the break as Harris slotted home after Elliott Moore headed Cameron Brannagan’s corner into his path.

And within minutes of the restart the striker doubled his and Oxford’s tally with his fourth goal in as many games as he rounded the keeper after being played through by Fin Stevens.

The game was done and dusted in the 68th minute when Goodrham cut inside and expertly found the bottom corner.

McCalmont opened his Cumbrians’ account after some brilliant work from Luke Armstrong to keep the ball alive, but it proved too little too late for Paul Simpson’s strugglers as their poor recent run stretched to just one win in 12 league outings.

Paul Warne was delighted for striker James Collins after he scored his 200th goal in club football during Derby’s 2-0 win over Carlisle.

The Republic of Ireland international’s brilliant brace secured the Rams their first win at Carlisle since 1957.

Collins’ milestone came with a fine instinctive first-half finish before the 32-year-old wrapped up the points at Brunton Park with an emphatic late penalty.

Warne, who has a quartet of strikers to keep happy at Pride Park, said: “We always try and pick a team to win and I thought the team would win with Collo in it.

“Starting him paid off. He was really good. He led the line really well.

“You need a physical presence up there when other players aren’t having their best game, and I thought Collo was the standout.

“I’m really pleased for him. He lives right, trains right. He’s the best version of himself. I’d have loved him 10 years ago!

“He’s a great guy and the lads love him in the dressing room so they’re really pleased he’s got a brace. It’s a nice day for him.

“Every player thinks they should play every minute of every game.

“It’s not easy, I have to have disappointing conversations and disappoint people, but that’s my job.

“I’m pretty pleased. I didn’t think we were amazing, but this is League One. You come away and you have to be resilient.

“We’ve felt sorry for ourselves in recent weeks. Great teams dig in when they need to and I think we defended well.”

Carlisle had their chances and on another day could have got something out of the game.

Jordan Gibson’s strike slipped through Joe Wildsmith’s fingers but only hit the crossbar before Luke Plange’s effort came back off a post.

Carlisle boss Paul Simpson said: “You look at the players they’re bringing on and they’re really effective players.

“I always felt we looked like we’d get something out of it and the disappointing thing is that we didn’t show that in the second half.

“What we have to do is take that belief from what we did in the first half and get the momentum back from the last three games and that first half.

“We didn’t do enough second half and didn’t build on that momentum we had in the first half.

“They showed their experience, their nous and in the end it was a fairly comfortable second half for them.

“I was disappointed. I thought we were in it first half and deserved to be level at half-time.

“We created opportunities and caused them problems. We didn’t have that little bit of luck with Jordan Gibson’s shot and Luke Plange’s shot against the post.”

Ryan Trevitt and Demitri Mitchell netted as Exeter beat Carlisle 2-0 at Brunton Park.

Exeter found the breakthrough when Trevitt struck 20 minutes from time for his first professional goal.

Mitchell stroked home with eight minutes left to make the points safe, but Carlisle may have felt aggrieved he was not sent off in the first half after a possible second bookable offence.

United started well and Sean Maguire pulled a first-minute shot narrowly wide of the Exeter goal, before Fin Back’s volley whistled close as the home side dominated the early moments.

Maguire again created an opening for Carlisle, heading a decent chance into Viljami Sinisalo’s grateful grasp. The City keeper was called into action again when Maguire fired low on 53 minutes.

Despite the Carlisle pressure, Trevitt fired home from the edge of the box to give the Grecians the lead on 70 minutes.

On 82 minutes, Mitchell got on the end of a Jack Aitchison cross and picked out the bottom corner to seal the game for Exeter.

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