Neil Harris admitted he was looking for something more comfortable than Cardiff City’s thrilling 4-3 replay victory at Carlisle in the FA Cup.
Aden Flint scored twice to secure the Bluebirds a fourth-round tie at Championship rivals Reading, but League Two strugglers Carlisle gave them a scare along the way.
Carlisle shocked their visitors with an early goal by Nathan Thomas, but Cardiff quickly struck back with Flint scoring twice either side of Josh Murphy’s effort.
Harry McKirdy pulled one back for the Cumbrians and, after Danny Ward struck Cardiff’s fourth, added a second to set up a nervy finish.
Carlisle continued to battle right to the final whistle and Cardiff goalkeeper Alex Smithies was glad to hang on to a loose ball in injury time as the home side staged a final bid for an equaliser.
Cardiff boss Harris admitted: “We were fully aware of the qualities their players had and the creative ability.
“In the end it could have been 10-6 to us. Both teams stuck at it and for us it was a test of character.
Or we keep them as earning a replay can be huge to some clubs. Why didn’t @btsportfootball show the Carlisle vs Cardiff game yesterday to further help these clubs? Serving up the same Premier League shite week in and week out. Have a word. https://t.co/sOnfIGgupM
— Sam Parker (@JustSamParker) January 16, 2020
“I spoke before the game about character and mental strength and individual characteristics. I am disappointed to concede three goals, but pleased with the four we did score.
“It was a proper cup tie, that’s what the FA Cup is all about. A great spectacle. I would like it to have been more comfortable, but tonight it’s about celebrating a victory.
“There were some really good individual performances. The group is getting fitter and stronger and finding form which is pleasing.”
On Flint’s brace, Harris said: “Flinty has been doing that regularly over the seasons. Goals from centre-halves are vital for successful teams.”
Carlisle head coach Chris Beech was happy with the manner in which his team performed after their disappointing display against Plymouth at the weekend.
He said: “I’m pleased with the efforts the players put in. They were honest and put in some hard work. I told them that’s what I’m looking for. I felt we played the conditions better tonight.
“We have scored five goals in two games against a side that was in the Premier League not so long ago. Maybe we should play Cardiff every week if we can get performances like that.”