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.

Darrell Clarke admitted his Cheltenham side are “falling at the last hurdle” in their survival bid after they went down 1-0 at home to already-relegated Carlisle.

Sam Lavelle’s first-half goal was enough to seal the points for the Cumbrians, whose fate was sealed by a 2-0 defeat at Northampton last Saturday.

Cheltenham knew a win would lift them out of the bottom four for the first time since mid-August, but they came up short and Clarke admitted he is scratching his head over the performance.

“I am very disappointed with our performance and with the whole night,” Clarke said.

“Yet again, after a poor first half, I am searching for answers and I am not coming up with the right solutions at the minute.

“The group is lacking a bit of confidence, but it’s no excuse and I’ll take responsibility as manager.

“We are falling at the last hurdle as things stand, and that’s not acceptable after working so hard to give ourselves a platform to stay in this division.

“I have to get better, the group has to get better as well and we have to give our supporters a lift come 3pm on Saturday (at home to Bristol Rovers).”

Carlisle were the better side during a cagey first half.

Joe Nuttall missed a good opportunity to give Cheltenham the lead in the sixth minute, side-footing wide after Liam Sercombe’s pass.

Georgie Kelly saw a shot saved by Luke Southwood at the other end and Luke Armstrong fired wide of the near post.

Jack Armer blasted over the bar for the Cumbrians, but the deadlock was broken three minutes before half-time.

Jack Robinson’s corner was headed back across goal by Ben Barclay and Lavelle touched it in from close range.

Cheltenham sent on four substitutes at half-time and changed formation, resulting in some early pressure on the visitors’ goal.

But goalkeeper Harry Lewis was rarely troubled and Southwood had to fly at full stretch to keep out a looping effort from Jon Mellish in the 77th minute.

Carlisle boss Paul Simpson was pleased with his side’s attitude.

“It was one of those games where we had to roll our sleeves up, put our tin hats on and defend for our lives and that’s what we did,” he said.

“I was really pleased with so many things in what has been a tough time for us.

“It was a good goal and then we had to hang on because Cheltenham are fighting for their lives.

“It’s a good result and makes the journey home more enjoyable. I’m still adamant I want the players to do something now at home for our fans as they’ve been starved of a good 90 minutes. We now have two home games to do that.

“It’s been really painful what we’ve been through this year, but the truth is we just haven’t been good enough.

“I think the players who are still here next year will be better for the experience.”

Barnsley boss Neill Collins praised his side’s reaction from their weekend mauling as they came from a goal down to beat Carlisle 3-2.

Question marks were raised about the Tykes’ promotion credentials after they were hammered 5-1 by Lincoln on Saturday.

But, despite falling behind to Luke Armstrong’s early goal, they equalled a club record of 10 successive away games unbeaten in the same season.

Goals from captain Jordan Williams, John McAtee and Jonathan Russell put them in command and they held on for all three points after Daniel Butterworth pulled one back for League One’s bottom club Carlisle.

And Collins said: “That’s a huge win and in some respects our biggest win of the season.

“We are on a great run, but despite all of the positives, one performance gets questions asked and I thought the players answered them well.

“It’s fantastic to get a big record like that at a club like Barnsley who have had a lot of good teams over the years.

“One mistake and it was a goal and in the back of the net, but after that we were really good.

“We could have been ahead at half-time but we came out and continued and really could have had more.

“There was another mistake at the end and that made it a bit more interesting than I would have liked.”

Williams produced a fine 20-yard strike to level in the 33rd minute.

Collins added: “It was fantastic. Jordan has been an excellent captain and got a great goal. For large parts his performance was excellent.”

Paul Simpson’s Carlisle have lost 11 of their last 12 as relegation straight back to League Two creeps ever closer.

They are now 16 points adrift of safety and Simpson said: “You have to be brutally honest, they were the better team.

“When you look at the levels, you’ve got a team who have been in the Championship and fighting for promotion and we’re where we are because that’s where we deserve to be.

“That’s clear to see in terms of the technical ability of them and the care they took on the passing.

“We had opportunities where we got into the final third, but we don’t take enough care on it.

“The disappointing thing is we work day in and day out on passing and possession drills. We get in good areas, but can’t do it.

“I’ve said to the players that it’s an education. We’re seeing and we’re suffering because we’re coming up against teams who are physically stronger and that’s not a case of just working on it in the gym, they’re psychologically made up better than us.

“That’s something we’ve got to change because we’re aspiring to be like that as a football club.

“We want to improve and be able to compete at this level, but currently we’re a long way off it.”

Charlton manager Nathan Jones said he was pleased to have League One top scorer Alfie May spearheading his attack as the striker’s 19th and 20th league goals of the season earned a 3-2 win over Carlisle.

Charlton did not have it all their own way, going behind to a 20th-minute volley from Luke Armstrong, but goals either side of half-time from May and Daniel Kanu helped to resume normal service.

Taylor Charters equalised with a 63rd-minute penalty after Armstrong was fouled by Macaulay Gillesphey but 15 minutes from time May pounced on a Sam Lavelle back-pass to claim the points.

“He’s a wonderful player,” Jones said of his striker, who arrived for his own media duties with a bottle of champagne.

“He’s a clever player, he’s a great lad and he’s brilliant around the place. He thinks about his game, he thinks about his movement and he doesn’t just go and play off the cuff.

“He’s scored goals wherever he’s been, he’s come here and he’s been scoring goals. His dip coincided with a dip in the team’s form, which can happen, but all you have to do is keep giving these players confidence and keep talking to them and Alfie’s responded fantastically well.”

The result moves Charlton 10 points clear of relegation but Jones insisted he remains focused on his team playing well.

“It wasn’t [about] survival, it was about getting performances,” he said. “Yes, we want to make sure that we don’t get sucked into any kind of relegation thing but we want to finish as high as we possibly can because we want to build.

“We’re not just planning for now, we want to build for the future as well.”

Carlisle boss Paul Simpson felt his team merited a much-needed point.

“The players have worked extremely hard today and probably deserved something out of it but unfortunately we go away with nothing again, which is the story of our season,” he said.

“For long periods I thought we looked decent. I thought our shape was good. I thought the plan that we had was good.”

“I’m pleased with some individual performances. Harry [Lewis]. Dylan McGeouch got on the ball and passed the ball well for us. Harrison [Neal] had another good game. Good for Luke to get a goal.”

Unfortunately for Simpson, individual errors cost the Cumbrians. “We’ve just given really poor goals away today,” he said.

“We just haven’t reacted well enough for the second goal. It’s a throw-in and we’ve not squeezed high enough up the pitch to make us nice and compact.”

“The third goal is a mistake and it’s just one of those things. We’ve got to clear our lines in that position.”

Scott Sinclair was the hero for Bristol Rovers as they came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory over lowly Carlisle at the Memorial Ground.

The 34-year-old former Celtic forward rolled back the years with a superb second-half winner after the rock-bottom Cumbrians had stunned their hosts.

Carlisle started brightly and midfielder Josh Vela gave Paul Simpson’s side a deserved lead after 16 minutes when he volleyed past Jed Ward.

Striker Luke Armstrong went close before Taylor Charters almost doubled their lead but was left holding his head in his hands as his low, angled shot thudded against Ward’s near post.

Rovers forward Chris Martin levelled with a close-range finish in the 34th minute following a moment of magic from Jevani Brown, who beat his marker with an audacious flick before crossing for the veteran striker to score his 14th goal of the season.

Sinclair completed the comeback after 51 minutes as he turned on the style, cutting inside before unleashing a shot that crashed in off the underside of goalkeeper Harry Lewis’s crossbar.

Neill Collins praised the character of his Barnsley side as they came from behind to beat Carlisle 2-1.

Luke Armstrong put the visitors ahead after a strong start, before Devante Cole levelled and Herbie Kane grabbed the winner with a spot-kick.

Collins said: “I didn’t expect that level of performance. I don’t know the exact reasons for it, other than we’ve just had too many (players) on an off night all at once.

“It’s quite clear there were a lot of individual errors out there, they were pretty basic.

“I think tonight it was more just technical mistakes or decision making and I think we got punished for it, could’ve been punished more for it.

“Ultimately the players just dug in, we got to half-time and we were able to freshen it up.

“We scored a fantastic goal to get ourselves back level and then obviously went on and won it.

“We’ll probably have to try and learn a couple of lessons and move on.

“We managed to get to half time at 1-0 which I thought was important and then in the second half I thought we started to get a bit more quality in our play.

“The players showed a lot of good character to keep at it, to keep together. It’s very easy when you’re having a night like that to just compound it and end up in a complete disaster.

“The fans should be pleased they kept at it.”

Carlisle manager Paul Simpson felt the result was harsh on his team.

He said: “We deserved something out of that game tonight.

“People can say we didn’t finish our chances again and that’s a big part of it because in the first 13 minutes we’ve probably had four incredible chances.

“You have to take one of them, one’s got to go in.

“We had a plan of how we wanted to try and press them, very similar to Oxford at the weekend.

“I thought we won the ball well in good areas and we had a good shape about us.

“But with the chances (Daniel) Butterworth’s had in the first half, you have to take one of them, it’s simple as that.

“Massively disappointing but the pleasing thing is – and the thing I’ve said to the players in there – there’s been times where we’ve actually deserved nothing out of games.

“That tonight can give us a lot of belief, a lot of confidence. But the challenge is, we have to do it every game.

“That’s the base because it hasn’t been the base for some games. That’s a choice that players have to make.

“I’m really pleased with what they’ve done tonight but I’m absolutely gutted for them that we haven’t got the rewards that we probably deserved.”

Barnsley had to come from behind to win 2-1 against Sky Bet League One strugglers Carlisle.

January signing Luke Armstrong opened the scoring before Devante Cole levelled and Herbie Kane converted from the spot.

The visitors broke the deadlock in the seventh minute. A loose pass from Liam Roberts was intercepted by Armstrong who finished from 30 yards out.

Daniel Butterworth came close in the 12th minute when he met Jack Ellis’ cross, but his header struck the goal frame.

Neill Collins’ side levelled in the 58th minute. Skipper Jordan Williams broke forward and found Cole in the left of the box for him to fire into the bottom right corner.

They almost added a second six minutes later when Kane drove to the edge of the box and flashed an effort just over.

The hosts struck the winner after they were awarded a spot-kick in the 86th minute when Adam Phillips was brought down inside the box.

Kane stepped up and powered it down the middle.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.