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On The Road: Carlisle United

30 January 2023

Ian Allington

On The Road: Carlisle United

30 January 2023

Phil Yelland dips into the archives to find out how Barrow have got on during previous trips to Carlisle ahead of Tuesday night's League Two encounter at Brunton Park.

In 2020, when we returned to the Football League after a 48-year absence, many fans looked forward to the trip to Brunton Park at the end of September. Of course, whilst the game took place, lockdown restrictions meant that there were no fans in attendance as Carlisle recorded a 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Jon Mellish.

Last season, the Cumbrian derby honours were shared as Barrow were held to a goalless draw in front of a bumper crowd at Brunton Park. Over 7,000, including 1,629 travelling Bluebirds, crammed in to watch the first competitive meeting in front of a crowd between the two foes since the 1960s.

However, the game rarely showed signs of developing into a classic and in the end the two teams were happy enough to take a point apiece.

During our non-league years we played United a number of times in pre-season friendlies but we never made the trip to Brunton Park for those.

This will be our 36th trip to the north of the county.

Our first came in Division One of the Lancashire Combination in the 1907/08 season. Carlisle had been promoted the previous season and we drew 1-1 with them at Little Park on the opening day of the campaign. Our trip to Carlisle on the final day took us to Devonshire Road and we lost 4-0 to complete a dismal season which saw us relegated.

United moved to Brunton Park in 1909 and our first trip there was during the 1919/20 season when we lost 2-0 in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round replay, having drawn 0-0 at Holker Street.

The Cumbrians did not join Division Thee North until 1928/29, and the following campaign saw us finish bottom and suffer our biggest ever defeat at Brunton Park when we lost 7-1. Billy Millar, later to win two caps for Northern Ireland whilst playing for us, scored our consolation goal.

Just over six months later at the start of the 1930/31 season, we headed north and recorded our first win at Carlisle thanks to a goal by Jimmy Reid.

After World War Two, there were some titanic clashes between the teams in Division Three North and the FA Cup.

The 1947/48 season was our best against United. We did the double over them in the league, winning 2-1 at Brunton Park thanks to two goals from Eddie Miller, and then triumphing 2-0 in the return game at Holker Street with Jim Kendall and Bill Rogers finding the net. In the FA Cup First Round we won 3-2 at Brunton Park in front of 14,801 fans with two goals from Alf Burnett and one from James Mullen. We won 1-0 at Canal Street against Runcorn of the Cheshire League in the Second Round of the competition before losing 5-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in Round Three.

The biggest crowd to watch a game between the sides came in the 1950-51 season at Brunton Park, again in the FA Cup First Round but this time we lost 2-1 – with George King netting our consolation goal in front of 17,002 fans.

Our last win in the north of the county came almost 62 years ago. It was on 21st November 1959 in Division Four when Johnny Kemp scored the only goal of the game. We completed the double that season with a 5-1 win at Holker Street the following March, with two Ben Clark penalties and goals from Tommy Bannan, Bill Murdoch and Jackie Robertson.

Our last trip to Brunton Park came on 17th April 1964. We were destined to finish bottom of Division Four whilst United were set to finish runners-up to Gillingham on goal average with Workington a point behind in third place. We lost 4-1 with Tommy Thompson scoring our consolation goal.

So, we head to Brunton Park on Saturday with 7 wins, 10 draws and 18 defeats in our competitive meetings. Let’s hope we can make it eight victories on Tuesday.

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