Under-fire Carlisle boss Chris Beech slammed his side’s drastic dip in form as “unacceptable” after a last-gasp 2-1 League Two defeat against table-topping Cambridge.
The Cumbrians have won just two of their 14 games since returning from their enforced Covid-19 break.
Lewis Alessandra seemingly stole a share of the spoils with his first goal since January when he cancelled out Paul Mullin’s record-breaking 25th league goal of the season – which brought David Crown’s 35-year club record of goals scored in a campaign to an end.
But substitute Adam May scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner as the visitors opened up a welcome two-point gap at the top of League Two.
And Beech said: “It’s a horrible run but we are not going to lose sight of what we’re trying to achieve.
“It’s about progress and we have made progress over the year or so since I took over.
“We won’t accept losing, that’s not the case here, but we have to look at the reasons why things are as they are.
“I fully understand that nobody wants to hear about that when we’re going not winning games.
“This run of results isn’t acceptable, but we’re working extremely hard, as we saw in the second half today.
“You think, ‘here we go again’ when it’s into added time in the first half and their keeper makes an excellent save to stop us from going into the break with a lead. It’s then 20 seconds later that Cambridge go ahead.
“These things are hard to take, but we have deal with the slaps, get back up and get on with it.
“We were punished, but we stood up and we were by far the better team in the second half, and the equaliser was the least we deserved.”
Cambridge boss Mark Bonner hopes his side can make life easier in the season run-in after leaving it late at a blustery Brunton Park.
“We don’t make it easy for ourselves,” admitted a relieved Bonner. “I did say it was going to be a rollercoaster and I’m sure there’s plenty more of that to come.
“We were brilliant in the first half, we needed to score and we scored a good goal.
“Some of the football we played was outstanding.
“In the second half they changed their shape and put pace and power on.
“We expected that and they make it hard. They constantly put the ball in the box.
“We have to defend it and half clear it because you can’t get out because of the wind.
“It gets harder and harder when you come here and you end up deep, that’s just the way it is.
“It was important we had the legs on the bench to bring on.
“I’m pleased for Adam as well because it’s not the cleanest of finishes, but it’s one of them where it needs to be a bit scruffy.”