🔎 The Opposition: Carlisle United (A)

Exeter City made it back-to-back wins for the first time in 2019 with a comprehensive 3-1 win over MK Dons last weekend.

Victory for the Grecians moved them level on points with Paul Tisdale’s side, with just four points now separating them from third-placed Bury.

Next up is a visit to another promotion rival, as Exeter face Carlisle United at Brunton Park. The resurgent Blues seemed completely out of the promotion picture in December, but their rise to fifth-place has coincided with a run of eight wins in their past nine games.

Here’s your complete lowdown on Carlisle:

  • Founded: 1904
  • Nickname: The Blues
  • Honours: Football League Three champions: 1964/65. Football League Four champions: 1994/95 & 2005/06. EFL Trophy winners: 1996/97 & 2010/11

The Grecians’ trip to Cumbria represents the longest journey the team will make this season and that’s to the fourth largest stadium in the league to boot.

Despite forming in 1904, it wasn’t until 1928 that Carlisle enjoyed their first taste of the Football League. Their second game in the fourth tier still stands the test of time as their biggest ever victory after beating Hartlepool 8-0.

Other memorable periods would follow in the club’s history, as they appointed Bill Shankley as boss in 1949 - he would go on to become a managerial great with Liverpool years later. In 1964 the Blues secured promotion to the third tier and then won the third tier the following season.

The 90’s were also fruitful years, as Carlisle won the League Two title and Football League Trophy. They would go on to win both trophies once more in 2006 and 2011 respectively.

The manager:

Steven Pressley

Pressley has maintained a 100% record since taking charge in January. Prior to that appointment, the Scot had spells in charge of Hearts (briefly), Falkirk and Coventry who he also represented on the pitch.

Most recently though the former Scotland international took the reins at obscure, Cypriot minnow Pafos where he spent just ten months. Pressley enjoyed an illustrious playing career winning two Scottish Premiership’s with Rangers, one with Celtic and a Scottish Cup apiece with the two clubs and also Hearts. That’s not quite been replicated at managerial level though with just the solitary Scottish Challenge Cup at Falkirk to his name.

The ground

  • Name: Brunton Park
  • Capacity: 17,949
  • Year opened: 1909
  • Address: Warwick Road, Carlisle, CA1 1LL

With the third largest stadium in League Two, the Blues can boast of the largest stadium in the country that is not all-seated, with a capacity of just shy of 18,000.

The ground has been through the wars down the years having caught fire in 1953 and also suffered flooding in 2005 and 2015.

The club’s record attendance took place in 1957 when Birmingham City visited in a third round FA Cup tie.

One to watch:

Hallam Hope

After growing up in firstly in the Manchester City academy and then Everton’s, Hallam Hope has really started to forge a career as a Football League striker after initial loans at Northampton Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Bury before settling into life at the latter.

On the international front, the prodigious, young talent has represented England at all youth levels ranging from U16 to U19, but last year took the huge decision to switch allegiances to Barbados where he’s scored two in two.

The Grecians will have to be wary of a player who supplements an eye for a goal with the ability to lay them on having scored nine and given seven assists this season.

Recent form guide

While Exeter are resurgent, Carlisle are in the ascendency with a 3-0 defeat at Northampton Town the one blot on an otherwise impeccable nine match run.

Five wins from six have catapulted the Blues right into the heat of a tense promotion battle and they are undefeated on home soil since November – demonstrating the monumental task facing Matt Taylor’s men.

Key stats

2017/18 season in review

  • Position: League Two – 10th
  • Top goalscorer: Hallam Hope – 13 goals
  • Average attendance: 4,609

After a dismal run that heralded just two league wins from eight, the Blues slowly grew into the season following an emphatic 5-0 win away to Crewe Alexandra and a 4-0 demolition of Yeovil Town followed little over a month later.

Still, Carlisle’s form remained patchy and meant the Cumbrian side failed to challenge towards the higher echelons of the league.

Reaching the third round of the FA Cup and second round of the EFL Cup represented an impressive cup showing for a fourth-tier side, despite an erratic league campaign.

However, the Blues did kick on as the season progressed with just the one league defeat in the remaining fourteen fixtures of the league season.

Most recent meetings

Exeter City 3-1 Carlisle United (League Two- August 4, 2018)

The Grecians got their season off to the perfect start with a dominant 3-1 win against Carlisle.

Nicky Law and Jonathan Forte gave the hosts the lead in the first half an hour, but Richie Bennett gave the Blues a lifeline with half-time fast approaching.

Despite the visitors growing into the second half, Tristan Abrahams put the seal on the victory deep into injury time to put the gloss on Matt Taylor’s managerial debut at St James Park.

Exeter City 1-1 Carlisle United (League Two - March 10, 2018)

Exeter were disrupted in their promotion-battle exploits after Ashley Nadesan’s equaliser in the second half.

Dean Moxey had provided the breakthrough for the hosts with his 42nd minute opener, but Nadesan restored parity to preserve his side’s five game unbeaten run.

Carlisle United 0-1 Exeter City (League Two - October 7, 2017)

Pierce Sweeney proved to be the difference between the two sides as his second half header saw Exeter return to the summit above Notts County.

The defeat for the hosts continued their wretched home form, with the Blues languishing in 16th place at the end of play.

Ticket news

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