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HEAD TO HEAD: A brief history of Town's trips to Carlisle
6:00am Friday 14th September 2012 in Sport
ON 13 consecutive occasions, over the course of 38 years, Swindon Town made the 546-mile return trip to Brunton Park without celebrating victory.
From the Robins’ first visit to Cumbria - a 1949 FA Cup second-round tie which the hosts won 2-0 - right the way through to Town’s breakthrough success in the north east in 1987, as goals from Tim Parkin, Bryan Wade and Mark Jones from the penalty spot secured a 3-0 victory, Town endured an unlucky 13 treks to Carlisle.
Seven defeats and six draws meant the prospect of the long drive up the M6 became less and less tantalising, but the tide changed drastically 25 years ago.
Since that 3-0 success, the Robins have won three and drawn two of their seven visits to Brunton Park.
A stunning Eddie Murray strike, his only goal in five seasons in Wiltshire, helped Swindon’s charge to the Division Two title in 1995/96, claiming all three points at Carlisle in the first month of the campaign.
Though the next trip to Brunton Park was instantly forgettable, a 3-0 defeat in howling gales on a cold Tuesday night in December 2007, Town then embarked on a three-game unbeaten run in the north west.
The second match of that streak was notable for the introduction of one Charlie Austin onto the professional football stage.
The former Poole Town striker, who would go on to net 37 times in 65 games for the club before being sold to Burnley, had previously made his debut in a League One clash at Norwich but was handed his first start by manager Danny Wilson at Brunton Park.
It took him less than three minutes to fire past Cumbrians keeper Lenny Pidgeley - the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win in November 2009.
“Hopefully I will go on to have a successful career, but when I look back I will never forget this moment,” the forward told the Advertiser after the game.
“If someone asks me when I scored my first goal, I will be able to tell them instantly – away to Carlisle and we won 1-0.
“Pictures of that will be in my head for a long time.”