Walsall manager Darrell Clarke could not hide his frustration after seeing his side lose for the second time this season to League Two strugglers Carlisle.
It was just a second win in their last 11 league games for Carlisle and came courtesy of first-half goals from debutant Nick Anderton and an own goal by Saddlers’ goalkeeper Liam Roberts.
Both of those victories came via a 2-1 success against the Saddlers, who pulled one back through Mat Sadler in the second half in Cumbria.
Clarke said: “We were the better side. It’s been a frustrating day. We didn’t do ourselves justice.
“We got back in the game and lost a bit of control by rushing our passing. We need to be a lot more streetwise than that.
“We were sloppy in possession. We had numerous times when we put good balls in. Carlisle put two good balls in and scored two goals.
“I have to turn these boys into a top-seven team and we have to keep plugging away making players better.
“There’s been an improvement, but we need to keep progressing. Our away from has been good barring the last couple and now we need to bounce back with some consistent positive results from here to the end of the season.”
The victory moved Carlisle seven points clear of the relegation zone and gave their fans a first home league success since November 2.
Head coach Chris Beech had a particular word of praise for a defence which has steadily improved in recent weeks.
He said: “I wasn’t happy with some of the risks taken, but we had three or four players looking to get in blocks. We’ve got a tight back four and we didn’t have that six weeks ago. I want us to be hard to beat and our back four are hard to beat.
“The lads dug in deep and worked hard for each other. It’s great to beat Walsall home and away with the same result.
“It’s a long time since we were two goals in front, but they got one back and the response was excellent. I can’t recall clear Walsall chances in the second half but we had some.
“Our centre-backs made some crucial headers and showed composure late on and we saw Walsall crosses going awry because of good defending.”