Yeovil Towns first ever trip to football's most remote outpost saw them fall
flat on their faces against the Football League's basement side.
Make no mistake about it, Carlisle may be improving but they still looked a
very poor side and I would bet on them being relegated as few teams will
afford them the generosity we did. Fighting spirit may gain 'The Cumbrians'
a few points but they looked no better than Leigh RMI!
The day began with an early flight from Bristol, and I was surprised to see
so much green and white at the airport for the 0710 flight. There must have
been fifteen of so on the Glasgow flight, with about another ten making
their way via Edinburgh or Newcastle, the latter of which meant an overnight
An hour later in a frosty Glasgow the first curious glances arrived - but there
was no point in explaining. They barely recognise their own beyond the big
two, so what was the point. The highlight of the day - in hindsight - was
the trip down to Carlisle, stunning scenery with snow capped mountains took
the breath away, and there were some interesting signposts to be observed on
the way down, places that you only ever here about when the early rounds of
The Scottish Cup come around such as Annan (Athletic), and Selkirk (The side
that lost 20-0 to Stirling Albion in the late eighties). I can still recall
the teleprinter in the bar at the old Huish ... Stirling Albion 20 (Twenty)
By the time we reached Carlisle the city was just waking up, the hour and a
half drive from Glasgow completed in excellent time. Brunton Park stood
like a fortress on the edge of the city, it's truncated floodlights hiding a
wonderfully archaic old ground. Blue and white was everywhere, on the
gates, the stands, the perimeter walls, barbed wire and broken bottles came
with the graffitti - everyone wanted to make their mark that they had been
there it would appear.
Far from the hostility of near neighbours and one time opponents Barrow, the
Carlisle fans were warm and forthcoming, they seemed to have a genuine
respect for the mere fact that you were there. One bloke simply stopped us
and began telling us how he had come down to Yeovil and missed the match
because of traffic, had a few beers and went home. The older supporters made
an effort to speak and all in all I would say they possess an excellent fan
base. The ground took time to fill up today, fifteen minutes before kick
off the place looked empty, desolate and resigned to their forthcoming fate.
By kick off the large bank opposite had swelled with supporters and the
stand that we were in was populated by a section of very vocal youngsters,
none of which looked above the age of sixteen but who were well up for
taunting us at any opportunity, although to be fair they offered very good
support to their side, which after all are pretty bad!
Once again the flags were consigned to the seats by over fussy stewards, I
hate this as flags should be hung but it is a trend that is more often than
not on the agenda. A fine display including 'Bristol Greens', Smithy's
Exiles, Northern Greens, Cary Glovers, Goytre Greens, Ciderspace, and the
large one lay dormant as their owners sat and pondered the contest.
Carlisles home end is fantastic - almost like three barns stuck together
with an old fashioned three pointed roof. The club crest and huge lettering
spelling out CARLISLE UNITED adorn it's fascia. This end was sparse in
comparison to the paddock below the main stand. The empty end where Jimmy
Glass scored THAT goal made the ground pretty much a three sided affair,
similar to Doncaster in design and flanked to it's right by the large modern
stand housing 300+ Glovers in a structure not unlike the away stand at
Oxford United. The green and white count was boosted by the Celtic
contingent, numbering about 50-60, and a few from St Johnstone who had seen
their game called off.
The match was terrible, they were terrible and will be relegated but we
lacked any ideas in front of goal and although the approach play was no worse
than any of the games seen this season Gally's early miss let the home side
off the hook. The first goal signalled unbridled joy from the home fans and
they began a period of non-stop singing and drumming right next to us. The
Celtic lad's were well up for this and far from being patronising in their
support (As what they were viewing must have looked like Sunday football in
comparison) got behind us with a passion, as did the more vocal among our
lot to the back of the stand. Whereas the atmosphere at Oxford in a similar
sized stand with more support had been terrible this was great and even drew
praise from the home stewards. I have often been critical of our support
but the supporters really got behind the team today and the renditions of
"Stand up if you love Yeovil" were backed by each and every supporter
I can't deny Carlisle their victory and I hope I get to go back there next
season, however I don't think I will be as they will surely drop down.
Preece broke the game up with professional know how, stopping any periods of
movement by hitting the deck at every opportunity, but that is where we are
at now. A ground well worth going to, give me this over Bolton, Oxford or
any of the other lifeless new types anyday.
On the way back the lights were still on at Gretna following their 0-1
defeat by Queens Park, a mixed reception met us at the airport where quite
severe verbal abuse was suffered by Rangers fans simply because of the
colours. There really is no middle ground. Conversation with a Kilmarnock
fan who has not missed a home game in seven years - despite living in
Stanstead - restored my faith in people.
There we are then, an hour later and we are back in Bristol, and having set
foot in all three mainland countries in a day I returned home very tired.
Still another ground, and one that I would have regretted missing.
Hopefully Carlisle can continue their revival against 'The Gasheads' next
week. My theory about our excellent start being down to the 'Catch them
cold' factor is looking alarmingly correct as we have now only gained three
points out of nine on second meetings with teams who may have sussed us out.
MOTM Vote Result:
Overall match rating: 4.8 / 10
19 votes received.
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