Carlisle United 3-1 Bradford City (agg 3-2): Home side books spot in League Two play-off final
Carlisle United 3-1 Bradford City (agg 3-2): Ben Barclay’s extra-time header seals Wembley date with Stockport for Paul Simpson’s side in the League Two play-off final
- An own goal from Brad Halliday started Carlisle United’s charge in the game
- Goals from Anthony Guy and Matt Derbyshire kept the tie level until late goal
- Re-live the action as Stockport see off Salford City on penalties to reach the final
There’s a flag at Brunton Park which reads, ‘Simmo is our king,’ alongside a cartoon of manager Paul Simpson balancing a trophy on his head.
Sixteen years on from guiding Carlisle from the Conference to League One with back-to-back promotions as player-manager, Simpson is one game from writing another remarkable chapter in a love story with his local club.
In front of 15,401 jubilant fans, Carlisle overturned a first-leg deficit to beat Mark Hughes’ Bradford and book their place at Wembley next Sunday.
Brad Halliday’s early own goal levelled the tie before three goals in extra-time – two for United – capped off another ding-dong play-off.
Ben Barclay scored the winner in the 112th minute, though he cannot play against Stockport next week due to being on loan from County.
Ben Barclay (centre left) may have been Carlisle United’s hero of the hour, but he will be unable to repeat the feat in the final
Owen Moxon (left) and Taylor Charters were raised aloft by fans after the home side booked their final against Stockport
Bradford City led the first-leg tie 1-0 but were unable to find the necessary equaliser to send the second-leg clash to penalties
Callum Guy will also get plaudits for his extra-time goal, though it was cancelled out by veteran striker Matt Derbyshire, 37, on a poor day for Bradford.
Carlisle-born manager Simpson is the true hero, though. He said: ‘Wow, they’ve gone and performed today.
‘I’m sweating buckets here because I’ve gone through it myself!
‘This is what I came back for. The city and club has pulled together to produce a day like that and set us up for next week.’
Callum Guy was the first Carlisle player on the scoresheet for the side after breaking the deadlock in the first half of extra-time
But Matt Derbyshire (in focus) kept the visitors in the hunt with his own goal 10 minutes later
CARLISLE UNITED 3-1 BRADFORD CITY (AGG 3-2): MATCH FACTS
Carlisle United (3-4-1-2): Holy, Barclay, Huntingdon, Whelan (Robinson 120+4′), Senior (Gibson 91′), Guy, Moxon, Armer, McCalmont (Patrick 70′), Garner (Edmonson 65′), Gordon (Charters 70′)
Subs not used: Kelly, Dennis
Booked: Armer, Garner, Guy
Goals: Guy, Barclay
Bradford City (4-3-1-2): Lewis, Halliday, Stubbs, Crichlow, Ridehalgh, Gilliead (East 69′), Clayton (Osadebe 69′), Smallwood, Walker (Derbshire 100′), Cook, Banks (Platt 108′)
Subs not used: Doyle, Nevers, Pereira
Goals: Halliday (OG), Derbyshire