Having played against Carlisle United on 34 occasions in the league, we renew our rivalry with them next season after an absence of five seasons.
We first met in the league in 1962/63 when the sides drew 1-1 at Eastville in September 1962 while Carlisle recorded an emphatic 4-0 win at Brunton Park in April 1963.
Our last meetings, in 2015/16, saw Rovers win 2-0 at The Mem in November 2015 and Carlisle win 3-2 at Brunton Park in March 2016.
All told, we have met in 34 games in the league, with Rovers winning 14 and Carlisle 12, with eight games finishing all square. The sides haven’t met in the League Cup, and only twice in the FA Cup; that was in 2004/05 when, after a 1-1 draw in the first round at The Mem, Carlisle won the replay 1-0.
(photo courtesy of JMP)
The last time we met at Brunton Park, Easter Monday 2016, was a game that had just about everything, including five goals. Manager Darrell Clarke wasn’t happy with the way his team started the game and made a double substitution just after the 20 minute mark, hauling off Ollie Clarke and Cristian Montano and replacing them with Liam Lawrence and Jermaine Easter.
Rovers were a goal down at the time, but got back on level terms before half time through Billy Bodin. A certain Charlie Wyke gave the Cumbrians the lead after the break but Matty Taylor looked to have rescued a point with his equaliser, only for the home side to score the winner with five minutes remaining. The result pushed Rovers out of the automatic promotion places.
I also remember being at Brunton Park on 6th October 2001 when ours was the only game to kick off at 3.00pm. Every other side in the league had altered their kick off so as not to clash with England’s World Cup qualifier at Old Trafford but for some reason Carlisle didn’t want to alter the time of our game. We lost 1-0, in front of a crowd of 1,849 while England drew 2-2 against Greece, thanks to David Beckham’s last minute free kick, to qualify for the World Cup.
There was also a 2-0 win at the same venue in August 2003 when Rovers’ Wayne Carlisle scored both goals; I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you what the headlines were next day!
Players to have turned out for both clubs include; Joe Anyinsah, Angelo Balanta, Paul Bannon, Mike Barry, Jon Bass, Jack Bonham, Tim Carter, Ian Davies, Darryl Duffy, Max Ehmer, Kevin Gall, Carl Heggs, Jimmy Hamilton, Aidan McCaffery, Mike Green, Matt Glennon, Jeffrey Monakana, Lee Maddison, Tom Parkes, Gavin Reilly, Gareth Taylor, Archie Stephens, John Rudge and Anthony Williams.
(photo courtesy of Alan Marshall)
Aidan McCaffery, Ian Atkins and John Ward have all managed both clubs, while former Rovers boss Fred Ford played 28 games for The Cumbrians. Keith Curle, a former Rovers player, has also managed the Brunton Park outfit.
Carlisle were formed in 1904, have played at Brunton Park since 1909 and were elected to the Third Division (North) of the Football League in 1928 when they replaced Durham City.
Relegated to The Conference at the end of the 2003/04 season, they returned to the Football League, via the play offs, a year later.
Last season saw Carlisle finish in tenth place in League Two, with 66 points. They won 12, drew five and lost six of their home games.
Brunton Park, which has a capacity of 18,202, is 272 miles from the Memorial Stadium.