Carlisle United (a)
Carlisle United 2 Exeter City 2.
Tuesday 22 February 2011.
Ref: Andy Haines
Att: 3962 with 186 City fans.
Match originally due to be played on Tuesday 28 December 2010.
On the road with Kirstie bowden
The Cumbrian Adventure
The time is 23.43 and I am on a bus hurtling back to Devon from Carlisle. It's late, I'm tired and despite being on the road for 2 hours I have at least 5 hours of this journey left. All that stands between me going to sleep is this match report so, without further ado.....
After a seven and a half hour journey - which you may be surprised to hear went quite quickly, even if the bus was, at times, seemingly hotter than the sun - we arrived at Brunton Park. Once off the bus we went for a walk around the ground. Behind the closed away terrace we found an Eddie Stobart lorry by the name of 'Teletubby' mysteriously parked up. The side of the lorry revealed the reason for its presence it was a mobile TV screen. The driver proceeded to press a button and the screen emerged out of the top of the lorry. Then I worked out what it was - the scoreboard! In my previous two visits I'd just assumed the scoreboard was nothing out of the ordinary. How wrong could be?!
For those crying out for something similar at SJP I should point out that it was by no means cheap - the driver told us that it costs £4,000 a day to hire!
As the teams were warming up further evidence, as if it were needed, that our manager is simply the best was provided when he walked half way around the pitch and into the away end to speak individually to each Grecian present and thank us for coming. When Carlisle mascot Olga the Fox came out and placed a stuffed fox on the centre spot
I genuinely thought I was hallucinating. Surprisingly I wasn't, with the act a ritual dating back to the 1960s that indicates that kick-off is nigh. Just 8 minutes into the game Carlisle took the lead. In light of the distance travelled, the groans from the away end were slightly larger than normal. Thankfully we weren't miserable long as City equalised just 4 minutes later. My hot chocolate, which was for once both hot and chocolatey, was raised aloft in celebration. The 186 away fans were in fine voice. Many of the songs referred to the precarious predicament of our green chums. [Coincidentally, the time is now 00.24 and we have just overtaken a Ginsters lorry. Rumours it lost 10 pallets at its last drop-off are circulating furiously]. With 26 minutes on the clock Ryan fired City into the lead with his second goal of the night. Unfortunately it was a lead that was not to last, with Carlisle equalising deep into added time. The exceptionally named Francois Zoko got the goal. The game had been so open that I genuinely believed at half-time that the final score was going to be something ridiculous like 8-8. As it turned out, the most memorable element of the half was not to be any further goals, but the referee.
His 'finest' moment came when he failed to award City a truly blatant penalty and then, as if to spite us further, give Carlisle a soft free-kick merely seconds later. At the final whistle Tiz received a huge cheer for coming over and doffing his cap to us all. We headed to the exit delighted with the point and the brilliant match we had witnessed. Ironically our buses were escorted out of the ground by a number of stewards larger than the number of fans on board! The time is now 00:44. I'm going to sleep.
[I got home at 5.05am. Needless to say, Wednesday was a total write-off!]
BBC match report –
Two goals from Ryan Harley earned Exeter a draw at Carlisle.
The home side took the lead through Craig Curran, who collected Francois Zoko's cutback and slid the ball home.
Harley equalised for the visitors, beating his man and firing in from range, before tapping in his second after a goal-mouth scramble.
The Cumbrians earned a point through Zoko's close-range finish, the Ivorian reacting first after Ben Marshall headed the ball into the box.
Carlisle United boss Greg Abbott told BBC Radio Cumbria:
"Everybody feels it should be three points, you always want to win the home games.
"We've played a good side, we've played some smashing stuff. I thought for the neutral it was a really good game.
"We're always disappointed we haven't won, but we've not been beaten and we hopefully can go on a nice little run and get some momentum going."
Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale told BBC Radio Devon:
"We had some very tired bodies out there today and in the last half-an-hour we made a lot of very tired decisions.
"It was an open game and a fantastic surface to play on - both sides played lots of football and made lots of mistakes.
"It was a pulsating game, a good game of football and all in all I'm very pleased with the point."