PETER JACKSON watched Town beat Carlisle to climb back into the top half of the League I table and admitted today: "We've played far better this season - and lost!"
A Luke Beckett brace, the second a penalty, brought Town a 2-1 win, their third victory in five matches, and put them 11th, eight points behind leaders Nottingham Forest.
Beckett took his season's haul to six with strikes in the 21st and 32nd minutes.
But two minutes before the break Simon Hackney pulled one back for Carlisle, who had 1,264 fans in a 10,830 crowd.
And Town looked far from their best in the second half, with Jackson, who lost defender Tom Clarke to a knee injury, acknowledging: "Their goal just before half-time gave them a major boost.
"In the second half, we sat back and survived an onslaught. We looked nervous and were just whacking balls clear.
"Those balls were coming straight back at us and we were basically inviting pressure.
"It was 20 minutes into the second half until we strung three passes together.
"It was in complete contrast to the first 40 minutes, when we controlled the game.
"But credit to the players, because they stuck at it and got three excellent points."
Jackson, whose side host Doncaster in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy tomorrow, played five in midfield for the fourth time in five unbeaten games but the first at home.
Just as in the 1-0 win at Bradford the week before, Beckett was again the lone frontman and Jackson said: "The system has picked up some valuable points this season."
Versatile Clarke was today due to have a check to assess the damage to his left knee.