It certainly felt like a return to the good old days – a packed Brunton Park, and Carlisle United winning amid dramatic scenes.

The biggest crowd of the season, 8,514, cheered the Blues to victory over Northampton on Saturday.

The upturn in mood around the Cumbrians has been remarkable in a short space of time under Paul Simpson.

The thought of such scenes playing out in a relegation battle seemed very far-fetched less than a month ago, when things seemed gloomy indeed.

Yet the weekend just gone was comfortably the most buoyant Saturday at the ground for some time.

It also, says assistant manager Gavin Skelton, gave some of the Blues players the precious chance to experience the stadium like that for the first time.

As a Cumbrian and lifelong fan, it brought back memories for the coach.

“The positivity around the ground has such an impact that a team can totally change tack,” Skelton said.

“I’m pleased at the moment, touching wood…I’m pleased for the players that they’ve experienced that.

“Your mind plays tricks but you go back to the 1994/95 season, when [Carlisle] got promoted, that’s how you remember the Warwick, the Paddock, the Main Stand, etc.

News and Star: A packed Paddock at the final game of the 1994/5 title-winning seasonA packed Paddock at the final game of the 1994/5 title-winning season

“It’s been like that now and I’m pleased they’re experiencing that.”

United, it goes without saying, have much to do in order to emulate the successes of 94/5 and other great seasons – such as those overseen by Simpson in his first spell in charge.

That this four-game run has seen a climb to 17th place indicates how low things were when Simpson was summoned on this rescue mission.

All we can hope is that these positive steps are the first of many, on and off the field, on a journey back to sustained better times at a club which has been short of success for too long.

In the short-term, it’s been a stunning transformation in the public mood, and Skelton says that has a knock-on effect.

“That feeling when you’re coming off…it’s not nice when you’re going around at the end of the game and being booed having got beat,” he says.

“You accept that, no complaints. But that feeling [on Saturday] must help the players. It must give them that massive lift.

“It’s good, for the ones that haven’t been here long, to experience it and feel that positivity when they speak to other people.

“The last two away games have been brilliant, the last two home games it’s felt alive, like the Brunton Park we all remember.”

United take on Newport tonight having risen to the occasion against Northampton.

The Blues have, at times over the years, been notorious under-performers when big crowds have flocked to Brunton Park.

Another reason, then, why Saturday’s finale was so loudly welcomed.

“That was something I was conscious of,” says Skelton, referring to that historic stage-fright.

“I never mentioned it to Simmo or the players but historically you know what we’re like, and you did have that at the back of your mind.

“But if we keep working hard we’ll get those extra bits of luck.

“The positivity around the place has an impact on everyone. You can’t beat that feeling. It would be nice to be 3-0 or 4-0 up at times and comfortable but that adrenaline rush of a last-minute winner…you can’t beat it.”

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