Danny Grainger – Left Foot Danger

A last-minute winner from Carlisle’s returning captain gained a vital victory, a first at home in six games.

There were scenes of ecstasy on Saturday as home fans finally had to cheer, not just one needed goal but three! Nonetheless, hard work was made of the victory failing to take advantage of 2-0 lead until the dying embers.

The 3-2 victory against Newport was Grainger’s first appearance since late August because of injury, and despite some doubters, it’s safe to say the captain has been missed.

As a talismanic figure, Grainger has been an ever-present figure since the Blues’ unfortunate relegation into League Two over four years ago.

Since then, Danny has arguably been one of the highest scoring defenders at this level, especially in the last few seasons, scoring over five goals in the previous three.

Most of this success is down to his impeccable accuracy in his left-foot, making him more renowned by some for his sheer quality rather than his defensive expertise.

Saturday’s goal means he is one of a select few to win Sky Sports ” goal of the day” twice and it is unsurprising with some of the scorchers he has produced over the years.

He made his name in Scotland, especially for Hearts, where all his goals came from outside of the box apart from a penalty in the Scottish Cup final.

Here are just some of my favourites from his time at Carlisle in a list of many…

Morecambe 0-3 Carlisle (October 2016)

In one of Carlisle’s most memorable League Two away days, fine goals were the order of the day.

A Jason Kennedy over head kick took the game out of sight, though the engine was put into motion with Grainger’s early strike.

The ball dropped on the edge of the box and a low sweet half volley of his laces/ in step, to lash it into the bottom right hand corner.

Carlisle 3-2 Hartlepool (October 2016)

A week of two phenomenal strikes from the captain meant two local wins with entertainment of the highest quality.

A 68th minute strike from Grainger cancelled out a Hartlepool equaliser just moments earlier.

This time the goal was an inquisitive and intelligent finish, receiving a short free-kick from 25 yards from Nicky Adams to drill into the corner past a bewildered Pools’ defence.

Carlisle 3-2 Newport ( November 2018)

The latest in Danny’s collection, and the only match winner which sent the home fans into raptures.

in the 92nd minute Newport’s keeper punched wayward out of the area, for the ball to land at the left-backs feet. In clinical style he swerved a volley into the top right hand corner avoiding every flying body trying to get in the way of it.

Exceptional is an understatement.

Carlisle 2-2 Portsmouth (November 2015)

The presence of the captain was felt most in 2015, against a dominant Portsmouth side who would have expected to take all three points.

This was not to be as in added time the left foot wonder scored arguably his best goal yet… because it was in fact with his weaker left foot.

After cutting inside he fired the ball into the top corner, and being right behind the goal the elation of the fans in the moment is something that will never be matched for me, no feeling beats a last-minute goal.

Picture Credit: Carlisle United

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