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A deep dive into Carlisle United's season last time out

19 June 2023

Club News

A deep dive into Carlisle United's season last time out

19 June 2023

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In the final edition of the deep dive series into the teams joining up in League One next season, we are looking at play-off winners Carlisle United who return to the league for the first time in 10 years.


Play-offs is a big achievement for any team in the EFL and Carlisle managed to secure their spot in the League Two knockout rounds at the end of the season and, even better yet, they managed to overcome a 1-0 deficit to beat Bradford City in the semi-finals before beating Stockport County in the final Wembley on penalties.

It was a solid start to the league for Paul Simpson’s side as they started out with a 1-0 win over Crawley Town, thanks to a Kristian Dennis goal five minutes in, losing just one of their first 13 games in the league and that was against Stevenage who would end up finishing second in the league on 85 points.

Cup success, however, wasn’t on their side last time out as, even though they beat the Cods on penalties in the Football League Trophy in September after a well-contested 1-1 draw, they wouldn’t make it out of the group stage. Exits in the other two cups would also hinder their season as well as Shrewsbury won out in the Carabao Cup and a Second Round exit to Walsall in the FA Cup.

The Christmas period was a pivotal point in the Cumbrians' season as, starting from Boxing Day, they managed to win six from seven league games, beating play-off contenders Bradford in that time as well as putting five past Barrow at the end of January with former-Cod Joe Garner getting on the scoresheet.

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Looking at the Carlisle squad that won the play-offs last time out, members of the Cod Army will recognise a couple of names and both of them are forwards.

After making 43 appearances for Fleetwood under Simon Grayson, Stephen Crainey, and Scott Brown, Carlisle made the move to sign back Joe Garner in January 2023. The 35-year-old striker, who found the back of the net eight times in red, was a fan favourite with him coming off the bench in the majority of games he played whilst at the club.

He seems to have taken a similar role up at Carlisle, with the player commonly taking his place in the side being another former-Cod in Ryan Edmondson. Moving on to Ryan now, he joined Fleetwood on loan from then-Premier League side Leeds United and spent six months at Highbury, making 17 appearances and scoring twice in that time.

These two players have become a dynamic duo for the Cumbrians as together they made a total of 52 appearances last season and contributed eight goals to their promotion campaign, which ended with a win over Stockport at Wembley back in May.

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It’s weird to write this, as meetings between the Cods and Carlisle have been a regular occurrence in recent years but these two sides have never met in a league fixture before.

The first time the two met was back in the Johnstone Paint Trophy back in the 2013/14 season – the last year Carlisle were in League One – and Town came away from Highbury that evening 2-0 winners thanks to goals from David Ball and Antoni Sarcevic wither side of the break.

Since then, it’s been evenly contested as after six meetings in cups, Fleetwood have won three, Carlisle have won two, and the only time points have been shared was during a 1-1 draw in the Football League Trophy back in September 2022 when Joe Garner, who now plays for Carlisle, had his goal cancelled out by Duncan Idehen at Brunton Park.

One game that does stand out from the previous meetings was another Football League Trophy fixture, this time from 2020, which ended in a 3-1 win away from home, with the hosts that day finishing the game with 10 men. Gime Toure opened the scoring but later got sent off after Callum Camps levelled the score before Harvey Saunders netted an 11-minute brace to win the fixture.

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