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League One

Graham Kavanagh confident of survival

19 April 2014

Carlisle United manager Graham Kavanagh saw his side concede a late equaliser against Walsall, but still believes his team can get out of relegation trouble.

Carlisle looked to have a crucial three points in the bag until substitute Michaal Ngoo headed the Saddlers level in the 82nd minute.

Kavanagh said: "It's disappointing to concede late on, but other results have gone for us and it's very much in our own hands and we need to go again and push on for Monday.

"We played well in parts but it was an edgy affair and, after the goal, we probably sat back a bit which we didn't intend to do.

"At half-time I said we needed to play on the front foot but we didn't look forward as much as we could. We were a threat on the counter and when Liam Noble hit the bar it could have been 2-0 and game over."

Kavanagh admitted that Walsall had his team under pressure in the second half, saying:"You could see in our players they were desperate to hang on. They showed what they are made of today and were exhausted at the end.

"It's not nice looking at the table at present, but we have got to face the challenge. As a manager you have to be calm and controlled, but inside there's a hell of a lot of emotions going on."

Noble's 13th-minute strike looked set to earn Carlisle a bit of breathing space near the bottom of the table. The midfielder fastened on to Gary Madine's pass to hammer a shot from the edge of the area which went in off the right-hand post.

Brad Potts and Noble both rattled the woodwork, the latter with a rasping 25-yard drive deep into the second half, but Walsall pinned Carlisle back after the break and Sam Manton struck a post with a raking drive from just outside the penalty area.

Ngoo justified his substitute appearance when he rose at the far post to head home a Keiron Morris corner in the 82nd minute.

Saddlers' manager Dean Smith has urged his players to win as many points as possible in the closing weeks of the campaign.

He said: "The last four games are a good opportunity to win and earn some bonuses and finish as high as we can in the league, that is the motivation for the players.

"We kept the ball for long periods and should have done better with our chances. We deserved a draw because it's a tough place to come. To come back from a goal down is nice, but we felt we could do a lot better. I got into them a bit at half-time because I felt we were too slow on the ball.

"We want to finish as high as we can because we feel we had a lot of potential and have not matched it with results.

"I'm pleased for Michael (Ngoo) who is a hard working, honest lad. He wants to do well and I'm pleased he got a goal because if there's a reward for trying to get better he would win it."

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