Brentford were held to a goalless draw by a well drilled organized Cumbrian side.
In the corresponding fixture last season Uwe’s Bees had been well beaten so its one extra point gained from the previous year.
Looking to bounce back from their first defeat in 20 against Wolves last week, Mark Warburton was forced into two changes James Tarkowski came in for his first start, replacing Harlee Dean and Nico Yanarris took over from Alan McCormack, both nursing knocks by all accounts so hopefully not long term absentees.
Be it the blow of losing the proud unbeaten run, the long train journey or something else the opening half was as disjointed and below par a showing by a Bees team in the 3 seasons.
Clayton for all his effort and tireless chasing wasn’t being given options to make things happen due to the lack of team mates in advanced positions.
Indeed the one opportunity that went begging was created by ‘The Dons’ industry and imagination, wriggling free from the attentions of two defenders to unleash a shot that went wide of the far post.
Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of the opening 45 was that the home keeper was playing with the unseasonably bright sunshine and yet wasn’t asked questions of from distance by the likes of Alan Judge and George Saville.
Carlisle for their end seemed content to let us play, they happily sat back in numbers with the sole intent of frustrating Warburton’s men. Occasionally the hosts went forward but never gave Tony Craig and Co much to lose sleep over.
After the break for the first few minutes it seemed Carlisle would break the habit of a life time and go for the jugular, to be fair they did have three shots at David Button’s goal in quick succession from distance none of which looked like going in and were easily dealt with.
Spurred on by this they pressed for a while longer, most notably a set piece that was bravely blocked by Dougie in a way that only he can.
As the half progressed Brentford played with more urgency but the intricate passing wasn’t coming off. Alan Judge would have broken the deadlock with another long range effort if it hadn’t been for a high quality save from the home keeper.
When Clayton put the ball in the net, with a low angled drive following a surge into the box joy of the 410 travelling Bees fans was short lived as the linesman had his flag up and the score remained blank.
Despite on the face of it 0-0 away at Carlisle is 2 points dropped, past visits, including the FA Cup tie earlier this season have resulted in defeat, with a draw we remain 3 points from top spot with two games in hand, these facts coupled with the fixture between Wolves and Orient still to be played.
We are still the controllers of our own destiny. No team, even Arsenals Invincible win every game in a season. It is ridiculous that sections of support of social media seem to have resigned themselve’s to the dreaded play offs again. We have 14 games left to play, anything can and likely will happen, that’s what makes football the game that it is.
By Chris Horricks