Football: On-loan keeper scores in 95th minute of final game to save Carlisle

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IN THE fifth minute of injury time, at the end of the final half of the final match of the Third Division season, Carlisle United were yesterday saved from banishment out of the Football League by a goal from, of all unlikely heroes, their on-loan goalkeeper, Jimmy Glass (above), who promptly had to make a quick getaway from delighted fans, writes Rupert Metcalf.

With Scarborough, the other team in danger of the drop into the Conference, having drawn at home to Peterborough, Carlisle had to beat Plymouth Argyle to stay up. All chances - and time - had nearly expired when the Cumbrians won a corner deep into injury time. Scott Dobie's header from Graham Anthony's kick was parried by the Plymouth goalkeeper, and there, in his red keeper's jersey and gloves, was Glass to drive the ball into the net from close range for an unlikely 2-1 victory. "It fell to me, wallop, goal, thank you very much," a beaming Glass said afterwards.

Ecstatic home fans invaded the pitch to mob Glass after he scored and, following a delay of three minutes while the field was cleared, the referee blew his whistle to end the game as soon as play re-started. Scarborough, rather than Carlisle, had lost their place in the League.

"If that script had been written by anyone, they would have been laughed at," Michael Knighton, Carlisle's controversial chairman, said. Knighton was the recipient of abuse throughout the game - he has taken all the blame from the fans for the club's poor season - but he was in typically ebullient form after the match. "I'm so grateful to those supporters who can control themselves," he said. "They can shout as much as they like but they turned up. That's what matters."

As for the real hero of the day, Glass was playing only his third game for Carlisle - and probably his last. He joined the Cumbrians on loan from Swindon Town last month when the club found themselves without a goalkeeper and, as it took place after the transfer deadline, the Football League had to give special permission.

"When I was asked to come here I didn't know the position they were in," said Glass, who played up front in his youth. "When I found out I nearly turned round and went home again."

The final word, though, went to Knighton. "I believe in the hand of God," he said. "He had a little wink at me in the 90th minute, and I thank him very much."

Full reports, page 6