By Gerry Prewett.
Looking at the history of games between these teams the overall scoresheet reads 36 games, 14 Rovers wins, 13 United wins and 9 draws. In Bristol and Bath there have been 18 games with 8 Rovers wins, 6 draws and 4 wins for the Cumbrians.
The very first game between Rovers and Carlisle was played as recently as 1962/63 season when the Cumbrians visited Eastville and went away with a point from a 1-1 draw.
On 5th September 1964 the teams met in a top of the table match. Rovers were top of the table before the game, coming off a mid-week 5-3 thrashing of Grimsby. They repeated the dose against Carlisle with a 5-2 score line. Hugh McIlmoyle (later to play for our City rivals) had given Carlisle an 18th minute lead but two goals just before half-time sent Rovers in with a 2-1 lead. An opportunist goal by Alfie Biggs, as keeper Alan Ross had gone down injured after a Harold Jarman shot thumped down off the crossbar, gave Rovers a 3-1 lead. Eventually the 12,580 Eastville crowd were sent home happy as goals by Alfie Biggs (2), Ian Hamilton, Harold Jarman and a Terry Caldwell (own goal) gave Rovers that 5-2 victory. After the end of January Rovers lost their top spot and fell away to eventually finish sixth, five points behind Champions Carlisle United!
The teams didn’t meet again until 1975/76 season when the Cumbrians took all four points on offer with a 4-2 win at Brunton Park and a 1-0 victory at Eastville. The following season the roles were reversed as Rovers won the Eastville game 2-1 and snatched a very late and unlikely 3-2 win on 7th May.
Since then Rovers have had some memorable victories against United. A 4-0 win on 22 April 1987 in front of a 2,435 Twerton Park crowd helped to keep Rovers afloat in a season that very nearly saw them go out of existence.
In 2004/05 the teams met in the FA Cup and after a 1-1 draw at the Mem, United went through with a 1-0 victory at Brunton Park.
Rovers’ 3-1 victory at Carlisle on 1st October 2005 was significant in the history of the club as the first goal in that game was Rovers 5,000th in the League.
The game on 14 November 2009 was a real topsy turvy affair. Late goals from Jeff Hughes and Chris Lines completed a stirring Gas fightback as they ran out 3-2 winners to bring an end to a run of six straight defeats. Lines bundled home the winner from an injury-time corner after Hughes had equalised with a measured left-footed chip on 83 minutes. The visitors took a 20th-minute lead when Ian Harte volleyed in Graham Kavanagh's corner but Jo Kuffour fired home a 34th minute equaliser from close range. Rovers looked to be heading for a seventh successive defeat when Richard Keogh headed in on 71 minutes. The Gas were indebted to goalkeeper Mikkel Andersen for two early saves from Vincent Pericard and the Carlisle striker will feel he should have scored on both occasions.
The last time the teams met at the Mem was on 14 November 2015 and a Matty Taylor double sealed a valuable home win. He had an early shot saved while Jermaine Easter also went close. Taylor broke the deadlock with a close-range shot at the far post after Chris Lines had crossed into the box. Carlisle's David Atkinson had a free-kick deflected just wide by teammate Mark Ellis before Taylor sealed the win with a low left-footed shot. The victory, only the second at home in the league for the Gas at that point, lifted them up to eighth in League Two, one place above Carlisle on goal difference.