REPORT FROM FOOTBALL FIRST
Football First match report:
By John Lomas
transcribed by Carole
CARLISLE remain on course for yet another version of the Great Escape with this breathtaking win at promotion chasing Mansfield – thanks to a stoppage-time penalty save from Matt Glennon.
The Cumbrians knew anything less than victory could see them surrender their 76-year tenure in the Football League.
But, as usual, they never do it the easy way and they blew a 2-0 first half lead before substitute Kelvin Langmead struck the winner.
This result ended the Stags' hopes of automatic promotion and even left them struggling to secure a place in the play-offs.
But it was a result that delighted an emotional Carlisle manager Paul Simpson, who said: “Talk about making it hard for ourselves!
“We knew we had to come here and win and it didn't matter how we did it. I didn't care if it was ugly, superb football, fighting or laying down.
“Carlisle have lived off fairytales for six or seven years – can this be another? We've kept that little dream alive and we can take that into our next game.
“We can't worry about other people as we can't affect that, only what we are going to do and we have a chance. If it comes to the end of the games and it's not enough, then that's down to what's gone before and we have to accept it.”
He added: “There is a fantastic spirit and attitude here and I am delighted for them and also the fans who were behind that goal. I am sure their hearts dipped when Mansfield got it back to 2-2 and also when we conceded that penalty at the end.
“We showed character. I have gone through every emotion imaginable since I took over. But I told the players the emotions they felt at the end of this one were only a fraction of what they would feel if we achieve what we set out to do.”
Former Mansfield skipper Kevin Gray headed Carlisle in front from a 12th minute corner to mark his return to Field Mill and they swept into a 2-0 lead after 21 minutes. Carlisle had a free-kick marched forward 10 yards by the referee and a grateful Andy Preece made no mistake with an 18-yard rocket into the top left corner.
But Lawrence brought Mansfield back into the game with his 12th penalty success of the season six minutes later after he was brought down by Gray.
And Mansfield's prize winger then made it 2-2 in first-half stoppage time with his 21st goal of the season, a low finish from a Junior Mendes pass.
But Langmead joined the action as substitute after 61 minutes and within five minutes had buried a low shot past Kevin Pilkington after great work by Foran.
And it would be hard to argue against Carlisle staying up in the end after watching them survive a penalty three minutes into stoppage time, Glennon guessing correctly and diving to his right to deny Lawrence.
Mansfield boss Keith Curle said: “There are a lot of upset people in that dressing-room right now.
“But no-one should under-estimate what a great achievement it would be to reach the play-offs and we can still do that. We have a great opportunity in what will be a big game at Huddersfield next week.”
Mansfield Town………Carlisle Utd
61-----------Possession %---- 39
6------------Shots on Target---5
3------------Shots off Target---4
Latest | April 2004