CARLISLE United are facing a crisis of their own making full in the face as they continue to ship goals and lose games with barely a whimper in response.
Sheffield United had notched just eight goals on the road prior to making their trip across the Pennines at the weekend.
However, an unmarked early tap-in for Ryan Flynn suggested there were rich pickings on offer from a Carlisle side visibly lacking in confidence.
Vice-captain Danny Livesey said: “I think we have to be honest and say we’re in a scrap for survival.
“The results and performances are telling us that because we just haven’t been good enough.
“It’s frustrating and we’re all angry about it, but they are just empty words. We need to put it right on the pitch because this can’t continue.”
Five consecutive home league defeats make for tough reading, but it’s the manner of the capitulations which brings the most serious cause for concern.
Manager Greg Abbott said: “We have to find the magic formula to stop these goals from going in.
“That isn’t easy, but we can’t even begin to argue we’re a decent group when we are conceding three or four every time we play on our pitch.
“The goals are sloppy and we aren’t making teams fight hard enough for what they are taking away. “
Nick Blackman helped to terrorise an already beleaguered Cumbrian back-line and his impressive efforts brought a second goal from an almost impossible angle as the Blades sliced their way to a two-goal cushion. Abbott added: “The second goal was a joke and the third wasn’t much better.”
Liam Noble and Dave Symington rattled the woodwork as Carlisle finally started to make a game of it and a headed effort from Livesey raised spirits enough to suggest a fightback was on the cards.
However, the killer blow which handed the visitors the points left everyone staring in disbelief as a spinning corner delivery spooned into the air via the off-balance Adam Collin. Neill Collins raced in to smash the loose ball into the net.
CARLISLE: Collin, Chantler (Symington 46), Livesey, Edwards, Potts, Robson, Thirlwell, Noble, McGovern, Cadamarteri (Beck 61), Garner. Subs (not used): Gillespie, Welsh, Loy, Todd, Gjokaj.
Booked: Cadamarteri, Noble.
Goal: Livesey 71.
SHEFFIELD UNITED: Long, Westlake, Maguire, Collins, Hill, Blackman, McDonald (McAllister 48), Doyle, Flynn, Porter (Ironside 81), Miller. Subs (not used): Coyne, Cofie, McFadzean, Williams, Kennedy.
Goals: Flynn 16, Blackman 34, Collins 84.
Attendance: 4, 892 Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire).