Carlisle United v Swansea

We’re now on our way home after watching the Swans earn a point with a dominant performance at 2nd in the table Carlisle and in doing so take a step nearer the Championship.

Our 680 odd mile round trip to Brunton Park (Carlisle’s ground) started at 10:30 this morning and we quickly made time up the M4 before having a quick pop and crisps stop at Frankley services on the M5 (after deciding to give the Jack Army’s usual stop at Stensham a miss!). Nevertheless we still managed to bump into a few other Jacks making the long journey north! In fact we saw quite a few other Jacks on tour as we made our way along the M5 and M6 – all with flags or scarves fluttering in the wind as they motored towards Carlisle.

After a relatively brief but expected hold up on the M6 we arrived at Carlisle at 15:30 and headed off in search of the ground. Once we acquainted ourselves with the locality, we decided on setting up camp at a Toby Carvery some 1/2 mile away from Brunton Park.

The £5 buffet option was too good to miss and we proceed to devour a voluptuous beef dinner, washed down with lashings of cider (well I did anyway, not the driver!). Somewhat ironically, we were soon joined by the same Jacks we had bumped into at Frankley services and our numbers began to swell even more nearer kick-off. The locals were in a jovial mood and the banter flowed until we decided to ground at 18:30.

The ground itself was rather dated – with the exception of the stand we were in, which was modern. The place felt more like a rugby union/league ground to be honest, rather than a football one – mainly because of the old type terracing which went the length of the pitch (a la Whaddon Road, Cheltenham).

By kick-off the Jack Army totalled in excess of 580 – a commendable effort for a Tuesday night fixture – and we certainly made ourselves heard in the 10,000 plus crowd. In fact the only noise the home fans appeared to make was the rather predictable chant of ‘United, United’.

As for the game itself, well after an iffy opening 15 minutes we settled and began to play our crisp passing game and we were unlucky not to go in at half-time 1 or 2 up with Robbo hitting the post (the 1st of 3!) and Pratley having one ruled out for playing it before the ref’s whistle.

We got even stronger in the 2nd half and we very professional in the way we disciplined ourselves in the face of some very tasty Carlisle tackling – I’m still amazed someone didn’t get sent off. I counted at least 3 scything lunging tackles. Anyway, it remained goalless and we were more than happy with our point. I think this video clip which I took pretty much sums it up to be honest.

A brisk walk back to the car meant we were homeward bound by 22:05 and we making sound progress on the journey home until junction 16-17 on the M6, where a 35 minute jam (due to overnight roadworks!) held us up somewhat – even if it was 00:30 in the morning!!! A brief toilet stop and some dense fog on the M5 saw us finally reach home at 03:10 – knackered but more than happy with the result.

Next up it’s Gillingham away on Saturday and it’s sure to be another long but hopefully productive day. The Jacks ARE going up!