Football: Glass breaks Scarborough hearts

Keeper awake to the improbable
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The Independent Online
IT WAS the fourth minute of injury time. Carlisle United needed a winner to preserve their 71-year-old Football League status. Enter the hero.

The home side won a corner. Up came their goalkeeper, Jimmy Glass. The flag-kick from Graham Anthony found Scott Dobie, whose header was parried by James Dungey, Plymouth's keeper. The rebound was driven into the net by a gleeful Glass to give the Cumbrians victory and send Scarborough, who could only draw at home to Peterborough, down into the Conference.

It was Scarborough's 3-0 home win over Plymouth on Wednesday which had sent Carlisle to the bottom of the table for the first time since August. Such a depressing season has been hard to bear for fans of a club which briefly led the old First Division just 25 years ago, and it was clear who they blamed for their team's plight in recent years.

The arrival in the directors' box of the Carlisle chairman, Michael Knighton, was greeted by vehement abuse from the crowd. He had rashly promised to make the Cumbrians a power when he arrived at Brunton Park seven years ago. Instead, his policy of selling promising young players and hiring inadequate replacements sent the club on a downward spiral.

Within five minutes of the start the fans were turning their backs on the pitch to shout "fat greedy bastard" at Knighton. Events elsewhere produced the first cheer of the day - a Peterborough goal at Scarborough.

In the eighth minute a Richard Tracey header hit the bar to bring the crowd to their feet again. However, Carlisle's play was punctuated with errors and further chances were hard to come by until the 25th minute, when Scott Dobie's header sent the ball into the Argyle net but was ruled out because of a pushing offence.

Two Graham Anthony corners almost produced goals. From the first a Dobie header was just too high, from the second a David Brightwell header was blocked on the line by Jon Beswetherick.

Carlisle were made to pay for those missed chances in the third minute of the second half when Plymouth took the lead. The 18-year-old midfielder Lee Phillips sent finished a good run by sending a low left-foot shot into the corner of the net from 20 yards.

That setback, plus the news that Scarborough had equalised, turned the home fans' mood ugly again, and Knighton came in for some more fearful stick. The mood changed in the 61st minute, though, when Brightwell thumped a 30-yard drive past Dungey to equalise.

Carlisle needed another goal to have a chance of staying up and their attacks became desperate. Salvation was on its way, however, from a most unlikely source.

"Football is a game of highs and lows," Nigel Pearson, Carlisle's director of football, said, "and that was the highest high I've ever experienced."


1 Jimmy Glass, 25, made his debut for Carlisle on 24 April, having been uniquely loaned from Swindon after the March transfer deadline - the Cumbrians were given FA dispensation after being left with no fit keepers.

2 Yesterday was only Jimmy's third appearance for the Carlisle, and probably his last.

3 Jimmy joined Crystal Palace in 1991 as an 18-year-old and left to become first-choice goalkeeper for AFC Bournemouth in 1996 without ever making a first-team appearance.

4 A Swindon fan ran a poll on his website to see if Jimmy should be given a chance ahead of the inconsistent Frank Talia - 100 per cent of respondents said no.

5 Jimmy has scored before. In May 1997 he played for AFC Bournemouth in a friendly against Dorset Combination side Bournemouth Sports and bagged a hat-trick in a rare appearance at centre-forward.

6 At Bournemouth Jimmy once had his kit sponsored for a season by Specsavers.

7 While at Crystal Palace he was out injured for two years after breaking both wrists.

8 Jimmy is not averse to forays upfield. Once at Bournemouth he went on a mazy run towards the half-way line prompting manager Mel Machin to say: "If he'd have come past the dug-out I'd have tripped him."

9 Jimmy is also renowned for his booming goal-kicks which have often had his opposing No 1 scampering to make a save.

10 Jimmy made his only appearance at Wembley in last season's Auto Windscreens Shield final, when Bournemouth lost 2-1 to a Grimsby golden goal.

11 He has three years left on his Robins contract.

Compiled by Danny Hicks