Carlisle boss Paul Simpson admitted his side never gave themselves a chance of climbing off the foot of Sky Bet League One as they crashed 2-0 at Wigan.

Roared on by a travelling support of more than 4,000, the Cumbrians were fortunate to see Wigan’s Liam Morrison hit a post inside two minutes.

And the night did not get any easier when Josh Emmanuel tripped Stephen Humphrys inside the box in the 16th minute, with Wigan captain Josh Magennis converting from the spot.

Morrison then took advantage of more bad marking to double Wigan’s lead in the 36th minute, with the visitors happy to get to the break only two down.

They at least gave it a go in the second half, with a couple of superb deliveries from Jack Robinson causing anxiety in the Wigan backline.

But Carlisle’s night was summed up when former Latics striker Joe Garner sent a free header wide from six yards to deny his side even a consolation.

“It would have been easy to have gone under at half-time the way we were,” said Simpson.

“And you certainly can’t come to places like Wigan, with the quality of forward players they have, and give them the start we did.

“I thought we made some really poor decisions in the first 25 minutes, in terms of in the final third, when we could have been getting shots off.

“And it’s a rash challenge from Josh to bring down their lad for their penalty, he doesn’t need to do it, he doesn’t need to bring him down.

“In the second half we gave it a go, we had chances, but it’s the story of our season.

“But you don’t need to be a coach, let alone a genius, to know we’ve not got enough in the final third, it’s as simple as that.

“We’ve had opportunities, when we maybe needed that little bit of luck with, with one or two deflections.

“But we have to be finishing some of those chances, because there were some really good balls going into the box.

“If we want to give ourselves any chance, we have to be finishing those off, and that’s why we desperately need strikers.

“It’s fine margins at both ends but, when you’re up against good players, you have to make them count.

“And that’s where the massive disappointment comes from.”

Wigan manager Shaun Maloney welcomed the three points after overseeing three defeats from three over Christmas.

“I loved how we played in the first half, I really, really did,” said Maloney.

“The players were very brave, and then we had to show a different side in the second half.

“We had to dig in, Carlisle went super aggressive in terms of trying to keep the ball off us, and we had to show another way of playing.

“Tonight was such an important game for us. We were obviously desperate to win the game.

“But I was also wanting to see a performance that showed we were really wanting to play.

“We wanted to play our way out from the back, and play at the other end of the field.

“And I thought the first half was everything we wanted, 2-0 at half-time was more than a fair scoreline.”