Flashback: Carlisle United v York City in April 2005

The Blues, come spring, had seen their Conference title hopes fade when Barnet faded over the horizon. While United had suffered some winter problems, in a season that was also affected by the devastating floods of 2005, they remained the best of the rest in March.

However, a miserable home defeat to half-time Forest Green Rovers had seen Brunton Park at their most frustrated. Paul Simpson’s team received some criticism after former Blues player Damon Searle scored the winner.

It was good, then, that United returned to their home soil just three days later, as they tried to secure a play-off place. Experienced defender Tom Cowan set the tone when he spoke before the game against York City.

“We deserved the criticism of the weekend, as we were horrible,” said the Scotsman. “But we had been on a good run before that game, so there’s no point in getting too down.

News and Star: Danny Livesey hooks up in the openerDanny Livesey hooks up in the opener (Image: News and Stars)

“That being said, it’s one of the biggest games we’ve had this season, and it’s great to have such a quick game to prove the critics wrong.”

Carlisle was second and York, though struggling, boasted top fifth tier players such as striker Andy Bishop. Perhaps a test match was expected. That’s not what the Blues and their supporters got.

Instead, it was an emphatic surge to return to form as confidence flowed back through the team. They failed to make it their biggest win of the campaign, but they came close on a prolific night at Brunton Park.

Player-manager Simpson, who had rebuilt the relegation-bound squad the previous season and in the summer, made changes for the visiting Minstermen, who had been relegated from the fourth division with United in 2004. Young Cumbria striker Glenn Murray signed for Barrow early in the season, he took the place of top scorer Karl Hawley.

News and Star: Livesey, right, celebrates as Glenn Murray jumps for joyLivesey, right, celebrates as Glenn Murray jumps for joy (Image: News and Stars)

Former Derby County man Adam Murray was also switched to a new role behind the forwards. The trades paid off and Carlisle smothered York early on.

It took just 11 minutes for them to get in front. Adam Murray was involved in the build-up, as he took a corner, from which Danny Livesey hit the bar before snagging the rebound.

It was not the last dramatic moment for the great defender at Brunton Park that season. As things progressed, Glenn Murray was experiencing one of those games where defenders don’t get a moment’s peace, and his physicality forced a 25th-minute penalty.

The Maryport man was pummeled in an aerial challenge, before York’s Kyle Armstrong hit teammate Paul Groves on the arm. Whatever the reason, referee Dave Foster flagged the point and midfielder Chris Lumsdon swept the penalty away.

News and Star: Chris Lumsdon scores his first of the night from the penalty spotChris Lumsdon scores his first of the night from the penalty spot (Image: News and Stars)

Carlisle’s superiority was already established, even if Glenn Murray’s night had to end prematurely as his head injury forced his substitution when Magno Vieira came on in the 33rd minute.

York’s hopes of counter-attacking were then met with a challenge from Blues goalkeeper Matty Glennon. Although not much required, the United number 1 made an excellent save to deny Ben Jackson before half time… and that proved the Blues delivered the coup de grace.

The second half turned out to be a spectacular scoring bout as Carlisle raked four more goals past Billy McEwan’s embattled visitors. Just after the hour mark, Adam Murray joined in on the fun, firing the ball from the edge of the box after a mix-up between the defenders.

News and Star: Adam Murray's first United goal makes it 3-0Adam Murray’s first goal for United makes it 3-0 (Image: News and Stars)

It was his first goal in a United shirt and prompted others to join. After Groves hit the bar for York, for whom future Blues teenage defender Byron Webster failed to come from the bench, Carlisle moved up to the other end and scored. 4-0, great leader Derek Holmes beating home.

The fifth came ten minutes from time when visiting defender Dave Merris inadvertently cleared his own net.

News and Star: Derek Holmes celebrates United's fourthDerek Holmes celebrates United’s fourth (Image: News and Stars)

And then, in the closing stages, came the best goal of the night’s half dozen when Lumsdon fired a brilliant low shot past goalkeeper Chris Porter from just outside the box.

Only the 7–0 thrashing of Farnborough at the start of the season had seen United in a more voracious frame of mind. It was a decisive and timely statement of his promotion potential, with Simpson saying: “We wanted an emphatic victory and we have delivered it.

News and Star: Magno Vieira, left, takes on the York defenseMagno Vieira, left, takes on the York defense (Image: News and Stars)

“Glenn Murray was the foundation we built on. He moved and was a real hindrance to his defense.

Carlisle, after the 6-0 win, quickly clinched their place in the play-offs, and after three epic games, Aldershot were finally beaten in the play-off semi-final on an extraordinary night at Brunton Park, when Livesey broke the tie. The penalty sent the Blues to the final.

News and Star: Brunton Park scoreline reveals routBrunton Park’s score reveals the win (Image: News and Stars)

Then, at Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium, Peter Murphy led the Blues back into the Football League. Relief and elation had replaced Forest Green’s jeers.

United: Glennon, Livesey, Gray, Cowan, Beharall, Lumsdon, Murphy, Billy, A Murray, G Murray (Scallop, Hawley), Holmes. Unused: Coyles, McGill, Arnison.

York: Porter, Merris, Armstrong, Davis, Law, Jackson, Donovan, Groves (Bishop), Dunning (Stewart), Robinson, Yalcin. Unused: Smith, Stockdale, Webster.

Crew: 3,810.


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