Reliving Jimmy Glass’s Goal & Carlisle’s Great Escape

Nigel Pearson

Jacob Walstow

Reliving Jimmy Glass’s Goal & Carlisle’s Great Escape

Carlisle United versus Scarborough at the end of the 1998/99 season was defining for both clubs.

The Conference (National League) is a league synonymous with swallowing Football League clubs and them never being seen again. Jimmy Glass may have only played three times for Carlisle, but his final appearance for the club ultimately saved the Cumbrians from Scarborough’s fate.

Jimmy Glass should never have even been a Carlisle player. The Swindon Town goalkeeper signed for the Blues on an emergency loan after the deadline when they sold Tony Caig to Blackpool and Richard Knight’s loan was cut short due to injury.

The Relegation Battle

Heading into the final day, Carlisle had it all to play for. United started the day on 46 points, one point behind Scarborough who had a home game against Peterborough United. Carlisle faced Plymouth at Brunton Park, who had lost to Scarborough in the penultimate game of the season.

The day started well for Carlisle United, as it took Peterborough seven minutes to take an early lead at the McCain Stadium. Scarborough equalised three minutes before half time in what proved to be the last goal of the game on the Yorkshire coast. At this moment, Scarborough were safe.

It was a tense first half at Brunton Park in comparison. Plymouth Argyle were confirmed to finish in mid-table and had nothing but pride to play for. A horrific leg break to Plymouth player Paul Gibbs meant the Carlisle game was now behind the Scarborough one.

Carlisle manager, Nigel Pearson, spoke about how this could have been a pivotal moment for his side. Speaking about his side’s great escape, the man who also pulled off the great Leicester City Premier League survival stated “that added break gave us the ability to not get wrapped up in what was happening elsewhere”.

As the referee blew the whistle at halftime, Carlisle knew that if there were no more goals on the North Sea coast, they would have to win. Four minutes into the second half, all hope seemed to have been lost.

Lee Philip's superb solo run from the halfway line was unstoppable from a Carlisle perspective. His shot from 25 yards out nestled in the bottom left corner to give the Green Army the lead.

Glass’s Rise to Fame

Despair swilled around Brunton Park. 71 years in the Football League looked to be all but over. Life outside of it was unthinkable for the club.

Hope was always there for the Blues and after 62 minutes, Dave Brightwell produced a bit of magic. A bobbling ball fell to the former Manchester City player and after producing a superb half volley, the Cumbrian side were level.

This was still not enough for Carlisle. With the full-time whistle blown in North Yorkshire, Scarborough were safe. The fans were on the pitch. They thought it was all over.

Football, however, time and time again has proven that it isn’t over until that final whistle blows.

One man stepped forward and his name was Jimmy Glass. The goalkeeper, who wasn’t even supposed to be at the club, was the quickest to respond after a Carlisle corner was saved by the Plymouth goalie. The initial save ricocheted into the path of Glass who hammered the ball into the bottom left corner with seconds to go in added time and the pandemonium started.

After the Carlisle fans eventually got off the pitch, the referee blew his whistle and the fans once again streamed onto the grass. Carlisle had done the unthinkable. They had survived in the Football League.

The Aftermath of Glass’s Goal

Speaking about it over 20 years later, Glass still finds it hard to comprehend the scenes at the final whistle. “It’s a very surreal moment. To be carried off surrounded by thousands of people, it’s very hard to explain”.

For Scarborough, the relegation from the Football League was one that the Yorkshire club never recovered from. eight years of being in the Conference was followed by liquidation in 2007.

A phoenix club, Scarborough Athletic, rose from the ashes of Scarborough FC’s demise. The 2021/22 season has been the best so far for Athletic, with Boro having a genuine chance of winning the play-offs and promotion to the National League North.

Carlisle United survived however to fight another day. Nigel Pearson and Jimmy Glass would leave after this glorious May day in Cumbria. The work, especially that of Glass, will never be forgotten by the people of Carlisle. It was the day Carlisle United were saved.


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