Neil Critchley stressed his Blackpool side need to be perfect to sneak into the play-off spots after a 1-0 victory at relegated Carlisle.

Karamoko Dembele scored the only goal of the game after just 22 seconds to keep Blackpool in the hunt for an unlikely play-off spot.

The Seasiders are three points off the top-six pace, having played a game more than incumbents Oxford.

And boss Critchley said: “I thought we were good first half. We got off to a great start, it was a fantastic goal. It was a brilliant break and well taken.

“We were saying we had to score again and we had the opportunities to score again.

“We had a few moments in the second half. It was the same pattern as the last few games and the longer it’s 1-0 you are susceptible to conceding.

“It was a tough game due to the conditions. At this stage we’ll take a 1-0 win.

“We thought we could hurt them in transition moments and we did that. Shayne (Lavery) had a lovely touch and Kade’s broke forward into space. It was a great start and settled us down.

“Sometimes scoring so early can give you a false sense of security in the game.

“We were in control, but our decision making and quality let us down. We have to improve that side of our game.”

Carlisle are already relegated, but fought hard to try and salvage a point.

And boss Paul Simpson said: “It was a horrific start to the game, conceding after 22 seconds, a goal like that.

“It was a tough, tough first half. The conditions were really tricky.

“Credit to the players, they stuck at it and hung in there in the first half when we were struggling against the wind.

“We just tried to contain it with the way they were playing. We had a real good go second half.

“There was some fantastic defending on the line from their lad to deny Luke Armstrong on the line.

“Apart from that we haven’t created a lot. It’s a frustrating game. Another game where we have conceded and lost by a single goal.

“I’m really disappointed. We had a lot that went against us with injuries and knocks in the game.

“There’s lot of disappointment, but we have to give credit to the players at how they stuck at it despite the quality not being there.”

Manager Paul Simpson admits Carlisle have “fallen well short” after his side’s relegation from League One was officially confirmed by Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Northampton.

A long way adrift at the bottom, Carlisle’s immediate return to League Two has looked inevitable for some time and their fate was duly sealed by goals from Kieron Bowie and Ali Koiki at a blustery Sixfields.

“It’s obviously a huge disappointment but the relegation isn’t on today, it’s on the whole season,” said Simpson.

“We had all of the excitement of the promotion last season but unfortunately we haven’t been able to follow it up and we have fallen well short.

“What we have to do now is regroup, have a look into what’s gone wrong and make sure we come back stronger and better next season and that’s the challenge going into the summer.”

Reflecting on the game itself, Simpson added: “It’s such a poor first goal to concede. We spoke about it and we worked on it about getting in early because they’ve got good delivery from set-pieces but we switch off and we allow them the first contact and they bundle it in.

“It wasn’t a great game and the conditions didn’t make it easy with the wind but it’s the story of our season because we started the game well and we got into good areas but we didn’t score when we were on top and then we conceded a poor goal.

“Now we need to make sure we get a strong group together so we can bounce back straightaway next season.”

Northampton are now up to 59 points, their second-highest points haul in the third tier this century.

“It’s a really good achievement and it’s testament to the players and their attitude,” said Cobblers boss Jon Brady.

“The wind and the conditions made it quite a turgid game today and it was hard for both teams.

“We actually wanted to win the toss and turn it around so we’d have the wind behind us but obviously we lost it and we had to go against the wind.

“The first half was really difficult and we couldn’t get out but we were gritty and determined and it was great to get the result.

“You feel for Carlisle, before the game you have to be focused and there’s no room for any sympathy but I had a chat with Paul Simpson afterwards and they are a good club with good people.

“We have similar budgets so it shows how well we’ve done and it’s taken a lot of hard work from everyone.”

Paul Simpson hailed hat-trick hero Jon Mellish after Carlisle produced one of the shocks of the season in Sky Bet League One.

Matchwinner Mellish bagged a first career hat-trick as the basement boys left Posh’s automatic promotion hopes in tatters with just their sixth win of a miserable season.

Mellish headed Simpson’s men into a 27th-minute lead, which he doubled with a smart volley three minutes into the second half.

The midfield ace completed his treble just before the hour with another spectacular volley before captain Harrison Burrows pulled a goal back for the hosts.

Substitute Jonson Clarke-Harris hit the bar late on as Darren Ferguson’s high-fliers flopped to fall 10 points behind the top two.

Simpson said: “I’m absolutely delighted for the players and the staff but even more happy for the supporters who made the long journey.

“The lads deserve huge credit for the way they went about it and they were three fantastic finishes from Jon. It’s a brilliant win and it’s all about getting some respect and pride back.

“I told Jon I wanted him to get his crazy legs going and cause problems and everyone saw that is what he did!

“We were brave to go short with our first corner and it led to Jon getting himself a free header for a good goal and the next two are fantastic finishes.

“And when we had to change to a back-five to shore things up, he slotted in at centre-back and did a good job.

“He’s an important player for us and he’s had a tough season in terms of goals as he usually gets a lot more, but a hat-trick like this is a great reward.”

Stunned Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson said: “It’s a terrible result and I’m very disappointed.

“How do I explain today? Probably the best way is that collectively we had an off-day and I include myself in that.

“Forget about league tables and how many points you have – if a team performs like we did today they will get beaten.

“We conceded three really soft goals and the lack of quality in the last third is not something I’ve seen from my players this season.

“You can get away with it when two or three players aren’t at it – but not when we all got a three out of 10.

“Maybe I gave the lads too many days off and maybe I could have made changes sooner. These are all things I have to question before I look at the level of performance.

“We’ve got a mountain to climb to get into the top two, but I’m experienced enough to know there is no reason to press the panic button.”

Alfie May scored twice as Charlton secured back-to-back League One wins for the first time this season, beating Carlisle 3-2.

After a 20th-minute volley from Luke Armstrong gave the visitors an unlikely lead, Charlton turned the game around with goals either side of half-time – May following up a deflected shot from Daniel Kanu in the 37th minute and Kanu himself crashing home from close range in the 54th.

Carlisle manager Paul Simpson had asked his players to show pride and they did so, Taylor Charters equalising from the penalty spot after Macaulay Gillesphey had fouled Armstrong.

But the hosts’ quality eventually told, May latching onto a loose back-pass from former Addick Sam Lavelle and rounding the keeper to claim his fourth goal in four games after just one in the previous 13.

Charlton’s first home victory since November means they now find themselves comfortably in mid-table, 10 points above 21st-placed Cheltenham and quickly forgetting any relegation concerns.

Carlisle’s 10th loss in 11 games means they will almost certainly go down.

Ruben Selles hailed his goalscorers after Reading beat basement boys Carlisle 3-1 in Sky Bet League One.

Sam Smith, who earlier hit a post, opened the scoring before Harvey Knibbs’ double at Brunton Park.

Playmaker Knibbs bagged a brace in the corresponding fixture when the Royals hammered the struggling Cumbrians 5-1.

For Knibbs it was his 14th and 15th goals of a fruitful campaign.

Jon Mellish’s second-half header was in vain as Paul Simpson’s side slumped to a ninth loss in 10.

Selles said: “I always think the strikers, when they play for my teams, they have a lot of jobs to do – the first is to score goals of course.

“Sam missed the first one by an inch when he hit the post then he scored. We’re happy with his performance and he needs to keep working like that.

“He (Knibbs) just needs to continue doing what he’s doing.

“It all depends on where he wants to go. The team is putting him in positions to score goals and to lead assists.

“It’s about him continuing to perform well and working hard.

“Hopefully in the next 10 games he can score more goals and get more assists.”

Relegation-threatened Carlisle were once again outclassed and boss Simpson admitted his side struggled to cope with the Royals.

He said: “I agree, they’re a very good side. I knew they were a good side. I tried to play them down a little bit on Thursday, but I expected it to be a tough game.

“The pace that they had and the way they’re able to play, they’re as good a side I’ve seen here this season.

“We struggled. We struggled against the pace. We had to change the pace and try to sure it up. When you do that, it opens up areas where they can exploit you.

“The massive thing I’ve seen at League One level is the athleticism of the opposition we’re coming up against. We can only aspire to bring that type of player into the football club because that’s where we’ve fallen short this season.

“They’re strong, they’re quick. Yiadom, Wing, Azeez, they’re good footballers. I said before the game that I felt for the players, staff and fans for what’s happening at the club.

“But if they keep that group of players together they’ll be a real threat next season.”

Carlisle boss Paul Simpson was delighted to sample that winning feeling again after a hard-fought 1-0 win at Burton ended a run of eight straight defeats.

Captain Paul Huntington’s first-half goal proved decisive to restore some pride for the Cumbrians and left his manager wanting more.

“Every single one of them tonight stuck properly to the task and did exactly what we wanted and that is a feeling, when that final whistle goes, that we have not had for many, many weeks so I am absolutely delighted with it,” Simpson said.

“Now we have to go and try and build on it and play with some pride and try and build some respect back for us.”

There was a degree of confusion over the goalscorer, with Sam Lavelle’s goal-bound header appearing to take a deflection off Huntington before beating Max Crocombe in the Burton goal.

“I thought it was Sam’s goal, but I don’t really care,” Simpson added. “It was about the team, and it is a goal that has won us the game.”

The Blues boss was delighted with the team performance, but singled out goalkeeper Harry Lewis after his first clean sheet for the club secured the win.

“I am delighted for Harry Lewis tonight,” Simpson added. “He has made three or four really big saves for us.

“I look at goalkeepers and say how points do they win us. He has actually won that for us tonight with those saves.

“I am pleased with him and with the desire that the group have shown, and it shows to me that there is still that fight left in them.”

Burton manager Martin Paterson was “bitterly disappointed” with the outcome as his side fell to back-to-back home defeats in the space of four days after two good wins on the road.

“Two games at home, no points,” Paterson said. “Bitterly disappointed and I have to front that one up as the manager. It is not acceptable. No excuses, it is not good enough.”

It is now three home defeats in a row, without a goal, and the Brewers boss, who appointed in January, said he knows what is needed.

“This is a group with high effort but if I am honest, we need to get to the training ground and do a lot of work.

“The balance of the in-possession piece was not there today and hasn’t been for two home games.

“It is easy to go on a negative slide, but I know what needs to be done to correct it but I can’t say it enough. It is on me.

“We concede a set-play which generally we are decent at and against a team fighting for their lives, ultimately it allows them to play a certain way.

“The onus is on us to break them down and that is where we need to improve quickly. I understand the supporters’ frustrations.”

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.

Carlisle boss Paul Simpson admitted his side never gave themselves a chance of climbing off the foot of Sky Bet League One as they crashed 2-0 at Wigan.

Roared on by a travelling support of more than 4,000, the Cumbrians were fortunate to see Wigan’s Liam Morrison hit a post inside two minutes.

And the night did not get any easier when Josh Emmanuel tripped Stephen Humphrys inside the box in the 16th minute, with Wigan captain Josh Magennis converting from the spot.

Morrison then took advantage of more bad marking to double Wigan’s lead in the 36th minute, with the visitors happy to get to the break only two down.

They at least gave it a go in the second half, with a couple of superb deliveries from Jack Robinson causing anxiety in the Wigan backline.

But Carlisle’s night was summed up when former Latics striker Joe Garner sent a free header wide from six yards to deny his side even a consolation.

“It would have been easy to have gone under at half-time the way we were,” said Simpson.

“And you certainly can’t come to places like Wigan, with the quality of forward players they have, and give them the start we did.

“I thought we made some really poor decisions in the first 25 minutes, in terms of in the final third, when we could have been getting shots off.

“And it’s a rash challenge from Josh to bring down their lad for their penalty, he doesn’t need to do it, he doesn’t need to bring him down.

“In the second half we gave it a go, we had chances, but it’s the story of our season.

“But you don’t need to be a coach, let alone a genius, to know we’ve not got enough in the final third, it’s as simple as that.

“We’ve had opportunities, when we maybe needed that little bit of luck with, with one or two deflections.

“But we have to be finishing some of those chances, because there were some really good balls going into the box.

“If we want to give ourselves any chance, we have to be finishing those off, and that’s why we desperately need strikers.

“It’s fine margins at both ends but, when you’re up against good players, you have to make them count.

“And that’s where the massive disappointment comes from.”

Wigan manager Shaun Maloney welcomed the three points after overseeing three defeats from three over Christmas.

“I loved how we played in the first half, I really, really did,” said Maloney.

“The players were very brave, and then we had to show a different side in the second half.

“We had to dig in, Carlisle went super aggressive in terms of trying to keep the ball off us, and we had to show another way of playing.

“Tonight was such an important game for us. We were obviously desperate to win the game.

“But I was also wanting to see a performance that showed we were really wanting to play.

“We wanted to play our way out from the back, and play at the other end of the field.

“And I thought the first half was everything we wanted, 2-0 at half-time was more than a fair scoreline.”

Paul Simpson insisted there was plenty of time for Carlisle to stave off the threat of relegation following the 1-1 draw at Fleetwood.

The Cumbrians led through Owen Moxon’s goal after 27 minutes but were pegged back eight minutes later by a Jayden Stockley strike.

And while the point did not prevent Simpson’s side from slipping to the bottom of the table, he will not be pushing the panic button.

“It’s not pleasant,” he said.

“We’re in a tough position at the moment and we’ve dropped to the bottom of the league today, which nobody wants to see.

“Thankfully we’ve got lots of games to try to turn it around, we’ve got the January transfer window to try to strengthen the group and hopefully we’ll be able to do that.

“We’ve got to improve the squad and we’ve got to improve our consistency when we’re making opportunities.

“We were massively improved from the last game, without a doubt.

“I think we probably deserved more than just one point out of the game today as well so that’s a bit of a disappointment, but I’m really satisfied with the way that the players have gone about it, particularly a young starting XI.

“They gave us energy, they had a real desire about them, it’s just a pity we didn’t manage to finish off those chances we had.

“It’s a huge improvement after the last game. I thought we passed the ball quite well on what was a tricky surface, but at least it was a nice calm day today.

“We worked and competed well, we did all of the things that we would want to do, we got ourselves in the lead and I’m disappointed with the goal we conceded, we could have worked harder to stop it coming in.”

Fleetwood also slipped a place to sit second from bottom and manager Lee Johnson also feels their fortunes should improve when they welcome back some of their walking wounded.

“The boys are working hard,” he said.

“The last game at Portsmouth was a sapping game in terms of the energy levels, I thought it was a low-quality game today, if I’m honest.

“We let them off the hook far too many times when we had set-play opportunities, when we got into wide areas we demanded more from our wide men and a little bit changed.

“We have to be honest and say we lacked quality at times but we’re asking the same set of lads to churn it out at the moment when we’ve got so many injured.

“We’re hobbling into January but it’s important that we quickly refresh again.

“We just need more players to turn up, we need more to get back to their top form, some are nursing little niggles but they will have to keep getting out there because it’s all we’ve got.

“It’s going to be a really big January for us, I have a points target in my head, I’ll keep that to myself but it’s achievable.

“It’s going to be tight. In the next few weeks we’re going to have to nurse players back to health. I feel like in five or six weeks we could be in a good spot.”

Carlisle boss Paul Simpson admitted to a “strange old mix of emotions” after his side’s dramatic 2-2 draw with Northampton.

Goals from Jack Armer and Ryan Edmondson, who scored his first of the season, looked to have set the Cumbrians on their way to a first league win for almost two months following Shaun McWilliams’ opener for the visitors.

But Kieron Bowie’s dramatic 93rd-minute strike salvaged a point for the Cobblers.

“It’s a strange old mix of emotions,” said Simpson, who was buoyed by his side’s performance.

“I’ve got to say to start it’s a massive improvement from the last few weeks.

“I’m really disappointed, I’m gutted about the goal and I’ve got to say the equaliser was a fantastic finish from Bowie.

“But I’m so pleased with the performance and the character and the effort. All of the things you can talk about.

“That’s certainly given everybody a lift and something to build on.

“There were lots of good things. I thought a lot of players were excellent. There were so many good things.

“We probably did deserve three points, I’m biased and they might now say that.

“It gives me hope and belief that if we play and compete like that then we should be okay. We have to do that consistently.

“The first goal was a horrible goal to give away and it shouldn’t happen.

“We’re really struggling to score that first goal, unfortunately when you’re on the run we’re on you get little things like that happening.”

Jon Brady’s Northampton have lost just once in their last six league outings.

He also praised his side’s spirit, saying: “It was great character from the boys to get a point.

“We made a couple of changes towards the death and Kieron pops up with the equaliser.

“Overall we showed great character and great spirit to get 2-2. It’s a tough place to come.

“You’ve got to give credit to them. They’re fighting for their lives and fighting for their manager.

“You can see they’ve got immense spirit in their squad.

“They had two changes and scored in the second half. I haven’t seen it back, but I can’t remember any other efforts for them.

“To get a point here at a really tough place to come, when you consider how the game went, it’s a good point.

“In the main you’ve got to say these boys have been really consistent. You can have days where you might lose and, if you can get a draw out of it, it’s a real positive about a team that never gives in.

“They’re the types of days that lift the team and galvanise them.”

Carlisle boss Paul Simpson rued that there was “nobody else to blame but ourselves” following his side’s 1-0 defeat at the Abbey Stadium.

The Cumbrians produced a disappointing performance to lose to a Cambridge side that were on an eight-game winless run in League One.

Sub George Thomas headed the winning goal for the Us, before Simpson’s side ended the match with nine men following the late dismissals of Jack Armer and Alfie McCalmont.

“Let’s not look at blaming anybody else, it’s our own fault,” he continued. “If you don’t do the basics well then you don’t get anything out of the game, and unfortunately we didn’t.

“The biggest disappointment is, after a really good week of two really good performances against Portsmouth and on Tuesday night, today we’ve been way off it. We’ve turned over possession so many times, we haven’t won our duels enough.

“Jack Armer’s sending-off,  it’s a lazy challenge to get that second yellow card. Alfie, I feel for him a little bit. I have to say it probably is a red card because of the way his foot has come up, but he has no idea the lad is there. He didn’t do it intentionally.

“I accept that we can’t play brilliantly every game but you have to get a consistent level of doing the basics right, and that’s where we’ve let ourselves down. I do think we have let ourselves down today because I felt this was a missed opportunity.”

Mark Bonner felt Cambridge deserved the three points as they recorded their first victory since September 4.

It came after Tuesday’s draw with leaders Portsmouth, following defeat at previously winless Cheltenham last weekend.

“We needed a week like we’ve had this week, we needed a result like that today,” said Bonner.

“Their best chance was probably in the first minute. We got countered too easily and too often in the first half – they caught us out a few times.

“The wide play was miles better in the second half, and we threatened the back of them much better.

“In the second half I thought we had complete control of the game, were really dominant in their half and deserved the goal when it came.

“The end of the game was a bit weird, really, because it felt like it went on forever and we sort of forgot we were playing against nine players. There was more space than there needed to be.

“We looked edgy towards the end but in the end I thought it was really controlled and fairly dominant. Other than the first minute we weren’t under huge threat.

“We’ve built two good performances this week and four good points.”

Jordan Gibson scored a first career hat-trick but manager Paul Simpson says Carlisle’s match-winner should have finished with four goals against Bolton.

Gibson, who had never previously netted even a senior double, fired a 44th-minute equalising penalty after Jon Mellish’s own goal put the Trotters in front.

He added further goals in the 70th and 95th minutes as the Cumbrians secured a 3-1 Sky Bet League One victory.

The visitors also missed a first-half penalty through Joe Garner after Kyle Dempsey’s foul on Sean Maguire, and Simpson revealed: “We had talked for weeks that Jordan Gibson is on penalties.

“But we didn’t talk before the game because I automatically thought Gibbo was on them.

“He got the ball but the next time I looked Joe was on it. I will never criticise players for missing pens but stick with what the plan is. Fortunately, we got away with it.

“We have spoken for weeks about penalties we have not been getting but we got two today.

“We have said Jordan should be getting more goals. So, what an achievement to come to a place like Bolton and score a hat-trick.

“It was an outstanding performance. I am delighted we scored three goals, I am delighted with the football we played but that was built on a solid, team performance.

“It showed discipline to go and do the horrible side of the game, to chase and to tackle. We have had games with bits of that performance but that result we have been waiting for, especially with so many fans backing us.”

Bolton, chasing a third successive league win, faded badly after the boost of Mellish’s own goal.

“We looked devoid of energy, devoid of ideas second half, we looked flat and we looked leggy,” admitted Wanderers boss Ian Evatt.

“We lacked zest and energy and those are the foundations everything else is built from.

“This was probably one game too far with the lack of options to rotate and freshen up.

“There were too many players under par. We get ahead but the two penalties were an absolute joke.

“I am sure neither were penalties but we had chances which we didn’t take.

“We huffed and we puffed but their second goal goes in via a deflection and then we make a crazy decision at the end with Nathan (Baxter) going up with still four minutes left.

“That said, Nathan was outstanding in the game. This international break has come at the right time.”

Carlisle boss Paul Simpson described Jokull Andresson’s red card “amateurish” after the goalkeeper’s mistake led to a 2-0 defeat at Wycombe.

Believing he was alone in the penalty area after a routine save, Andresson dropped the ball to his feet but was immediately dispossessed by Wycombe striker Sam Vokes, lurking behind him.

Andresson brought Vokes down and also handled the ball outside the box, leaving referee Scott Tallis with an easy decision to show him red in the 29th minute.

Luke Leahy’s penalty, after Gareth McCleary was taken down just before half-time, and Vokes’ well-taken strike saw Wycombe prevail and left Simpson furious at full-time.

He said: “I think we brought this [the loss] on ourselves. We can’t blame anyone else. It’s about us. The sending off is just amateurish. Just absolutely amateurish, I’m afraid.

“The referee has obviously seen the situation and felt he’s needed to send him off.

“You then look at the penalty decision and our player got the ball but, by the letter of the law, he’s gone through the back of him and there’s nothing he can really do about it.

“We’ve gifted them situations. If we’re more professional, those things don’t happen, we don’t give them those opportunities.

“I think in the first half we were really poor. Forget those incidents, we were poor in not being front-footed and I think we needed to be aggressive in the way we defended but we weren’t.

“I got to say, though, in the second half, the attitude was absolutely first class. We probably should have got ourselves back into it with the opportunities we had.”

Wycombe manager Matt Bloomfield was pleased with his team’s performance and praised their maturity in facing 10 men for most of the game.

“Any win brings a really pleasing afternoon.

“This is a tough league, we’ve already seen that this season, and we knew the continuity they kept from their team last season and the way they’re built would make it difficult for us.

“I was pleased with the variety we showed in our display, especially against 11.

“Obviously, the game is going to change against 10. But we were really good, even if there were elements to improve.

“It’s one of football cliches that it’s never easy against 10 men. [In the second half], they reorganised and showed a real attacking intent.

“Fair play to Carlisle, they could have made our day uncomfortable, but we worked hard to get the win. We stuck to our task and it’s just a shame we couldn’t take more of our chances.”

Paul Simpson was left “raging” after his Carlisle side’s 1-0 defeat to Port Vale.

James Wilson’s penalty was all that separated the two sides, leaving Simpson’s side are still looking for their first league victory since promotion.

The manager was angered by the mix-up between Jokull Andresson and Jon Mellish which eventually led to his keeper conceding the match-winning penalty for a foul on Ethan Chislett.

“I’m absolutely raging to be honest,” said Simpson.

“We’ve gifted three points to Port Vale. Jokull just shouldn’t have been in that position.

“It’s been a frustrating day all round. We managed to get ourselves into some good positions in and around their box, but we’ve then not tested their keeper enough.

“Perhaps we’ve not been brave enough in certain situations. It’s something we’ll have to work on of course, but it’s difficult sometimes.

“I knew it wouldn’t be easy getting used to the higher level, and that’s how it’s proving.

“I can’t fault any of the players in terms of effort and endeavour, we’ve come to a tough place today and given it a real go. We’ve gone toe-to-toe with a really strong Port Vale team – it’s just not been our day unfortunately.”

Both sides created chances in an entertaining first half at Vale Park.

Wilson went closest for the hosts while Callum Guy threatened more than once for Carlisle.

Vale struck shortly after the restart when Andresson tugged back Chislett in the box, leaving Wilson to coolly slot home.

Carlisle pressed for a leveller late on, but Vale hung on and stretched their unbeaten run to four games to the delight of manager Andy Crosby.

“It was a really hard-earned victory for us,” said Crosby.

“We tried our hardest to control the game and that did prove difficult at times.

“What is disappointing is that we didn’t necessarily capitalise on the periods when we were dominant.

“When you allow a game like that to head into the latter stages and you’re still only 1-0 up, then you know you’re only an individual error away from potentially throwing away two points.

“We should really have finished the game off sooner but we ran around a lot, showed a real togetherness, and in the end that has got us the result.

“We need to find more of that ruthless nature that you need to be really successful at this level.

“You have to take the game away from teams earlier than we have done today, but it’s still a big three points and it keeps the positive momentum going.”

Carlisle boss Paul Simpson was proud of his side’s second-half performance as they held Wigan to a 1-1 draw at Brunton Park.

The Cumbrians fell behind to former striker Charlie Wyke’s first-half finish for Latics, but Simpson was delighted with the response from his team.

Carlisle equalised through Owen Moxon’s close-range finish.

“I thought we were positive and energetic tonight, but in the first half we struggled against a really good Wigan side,” admitted Simpson.

“Second half we certainly stood up to that challenge. That’s what we need to do every single game.

“We stuck at it. We were more aggressive in the press and more aggressive with our passing in the second half.

“I think in the end we thoroughly deserved the point tonight and it’s important that we can build on that on the weekend.

“Jordan Gibson was creative. The goal comes from him working and chasing. He’s got real ability and if he can put the work in that he has for the first part of this season, for the rest of it, he’s going to be a real handful for other teams.”

Wigan left Cumbria with a point and missed out on the chance to move off the bottom of the League One table.

Boss Shaun Maloney believed if his side kept their first-half level then they would have gone home with all three points.

He reflected: “I think anyone who was here saw the first half was as good a performance that I’ve had since I’ve been here.

“My only criticism is that when you’re that good you’ve got to put teams away.

“In the second half the last 40 minutes or so was a proper game and that’s what happens if you don’t put teams away.

“We made a mistake on the ball and they punished us and that’s football.

“It’s as good as we’ve played and I’m pleased with a lot of today. That first half is as good as it’s been since I’ve been here.

“Charlie Wyke is playing at a very good level at the moment. I’m asking a lot of him with a lot of minutes. He ran himself into the ground for us and the quality he showed is very good.

“My priority is trying to win the game, not give players minutes and I thought the substitutions we made gave us the best chance.”

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