Paul Simpson gives his verdict on Carlisle United's draw with Walsall

Paul Simpson on the touchline during the Walsall game <i>(Image: Ben Holmes)</i>
Paul Simpson on the touchline during the Walsall game (Image: Ben Holmes)

Paul Simpson admitted a lack of “spark” cost Carlisle United the chance to turn a solid display into victory against Walsall.

The Blues were left frustrated by a 0-0 Brunton Park draw which saw both sides’ defences on top.

While United restricted the in-form Saddlers to few real chances, Carlisle themselves struggled to open up Michael Flynn’s visitors.

Simpson took a balanced view of the game whilst accepting the Blues came up short in the final third.

“It was a very closely-fought game, where we probably had the better chances which I would definitely expect at home anyway,” he said.

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“But we weren’t able to finish it and that’s probably the disappointment I take from it.

“I don’t know the reasons for it, I’m not even going to try and come up with any, but we just lacked that spark.

“That’s because they’re human beings; we’re talking about footballers who have had a tough run of games, where we’ve not been able to freshen it up.

“I was hoping we’d have more of a threat but we did defend well as a team. The front three worked hard out of possession, the midfield covered a lot of ground, but in just think we needed to take a bit more care.

“We needed to think about what we were doing a little bit more when we got into the final third, and a good example of that was the chance Taylor [Charters] had just before half time.

“We need to be hitting the target with that kind of chance. We should have found the target more from our set plays, so I do think we probably had the better chances. It’s a point, we move on.”

United kept their seventh clean sheet of the season with a resolute defensive effort.

That pleased Simpson after the Blues had leaked three in their previous outing at Harrogate Town.

But despite forcing 11 corners they were unable to get the better of an obdurate Saddlers back line at the other end.

Both sides dropped a position in the table with United now eighth.

“As I sit here now I can’t think of many saves Tomas [Holy] had to make,” said Simpson. “His start position was good, and being in a good area to deal with things, and he nipped things in the bud which was really positive from him.

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“Defensively as a full team we stuck to our job really well and that’s what secured a zero in our against column

“It was just in that final third we didn’t produce the spark that we want to be able to create stuff except for our set plays.

“It was always going to be a tough game. The positive is it’s a good point out of it. I totally accept people turning up will have wanted three, and we set up to get three, but it just hasn’t happened for us and if we’re not going to win it, make sure we don’t lose.”

Simpson added that, while he conceded it was “not a great spectacle”, there were positive things United could take from it ahead of their next meeting with Walsall – in the FA Cup second round in two weeks’ time.

“On other occasions this is the kind of game we might have lost, against a big, physical Walsall side,” United’s manager added.

“We’ve traded some half blows – maybe slaps as opposed to punches – and hopefully the next one in a couple of weeks’ time will be a better game of football, and we can create more and finish off the types of chances we had.”