Carlisle beat Bradford in extra-time thriller to reach play-off final
Carlisle United will face Stockport County in the Sky Bet League Two play-off final at Wembley after Ben Barclay’s dramatic extra-time winner earned a 3-1 semi-final victory over Bradford which saw them progress with a 3-2 aggregate win.
Bradford travelled to Brunton Park with a slender 1-0 advantage from Sunday’s first leg, but it was erased midway through the first half when Brad Halliday put into his own goal amid a spell of relentless Carlisle pressure.
Both sides readily exchanged attacks but, with neither able to land a telling blow in normal time for the second successive League Two play-off semi-final, an additional 30 minutes were required.
Callum Guy looked to have sent Carlisle to Wembley when he volleyed home in the first period of extra-time but Matt Derbyshire hauled Bradford level within 29 seconds of the restart as the drama continued to unfold at a spellbound Brunton Park.
With penalties looming, on-loan striker Barclay glanced home the winner to set up a play-off final reunion with his parent-club Stockport, which he will miss due to ineligibility, as Carlisle sealed a first Wembley appearance since 2011, when they beat Brentford to win the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final.
More to follow…
While Carlisle/Bradford will remain in Sky Bet League One for the 2023/24 campaign, Carlisle/Bradford will play Stockport in the play-off final at Wembley Stadium at 1.30pm on Sunday May 28 for a place in Sky Bet League One.