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History

Catching up: Martin Carruthers

10 June 2020

Martin Carruthers averaged a goal almost every two games for Scunthorpe United after signing for the Iron in 2001.

It took him some time to get off the mark but once he overcame the “psychological barrier”, he couldn’t stop scoring!

He was patient in waiting for his first goal in Scunthorpe colours, going four games without netting, but he was delighted to see Carlisle United next up in the Iron’s fixture schedule on Easter Monday 2001.

He said: “I thought I was playing okay when I first came into the side, I was feeding off Steve Torpey. I spoke with the manager Brian Laws during those initial games.

“It was frustrating because everything kept falling on my left hand side which is my weak side.

“Any striker knows getting that first goal is so important for your confidence, to get you up and running. Everyone wants to score on their debut.”

He added: “Over the years, Carlisle were a good side for me. Whichever team I played for, I always seemed to score against them,” he said.

“When that game came up, you have an instinct that you know it’s going to be your day and finally get off the mark. It’s like a psychological barrier.”

The striker netted 39 goals in all competitions for the Iron in a prolific spell, but none more important than his FA Cup strike at Brunton Park against the Cumbrians in December 2002.

He scored the only goal of the game and his 12th of the campaign to seal a passage into the third round of the competition, with a chance to host Premier League giants Leeds United the prize.

He commented: “I remember my goal against Carlisle in the FA Cup second round when we won 1-0 to get Leeds in the third round.”

The now-47-year-old’s only regret during his time with the club was failing to win promotion.

“The last game of the 2001/02 season, I scored in the 94th minute to win 1-0 against York and thought we’d scraped in the play-offs but we found out we just missed out after the game,” he said.

“I loved every minute of my time at Scunthorpe, but it was just disappointing not to be part of a team going to Wembley. I wasn’t part of one of those magical play-off promotions. It’s bittersweet.”

STAR SIX...

Martin selects six players, comprising of former Iron teammates he played alongside.

Tom Evans: The main goalkeeper I played alongside at Scunthorpe.

Andy Dawson: "Wand of a left foot. I always knew he’d go on and play higher up the ladder."

Lee Hodges: The midfielder made over 100 appearances for the Iron after signing for a five-figure fee.

Matty Sparrow: An Iron cult hero, has since emigrated to Australia but scored some important goals and played his part in several Scunthorpe promotion campaigns.

Peter Beagrie: Veteran midfield man in the middle of the park, another fan favourite with the Iron.

Alex Calvo-Garcia: "He was the ultimate professional and very modest considering the amount of goals he scored."

MOMENTS IN FOOTBALL..

Former Iron frontman Martin Carruthers reflects on his playing career.

My most memorable Iron game…
The Carlisle game in the FA Cup away. The draw had already been made and the winners were going to get Leeds at home so the incentive was there. That was when they had Harry Kewell, Alan Smith and were playing in the Champions League. To win and score the goal was my highlight. We probably should’ve won by two or three. It was a really special game when we played Leeds that day.

My favourite Scunthorpe goal…
It’s got to be York away. I remember getting the ball out wide, on the right, cutting inside and having a left-footed shot from 25 or 30 yards out and it went into the top corner. I don’t know where it came from – that’s my standing foot only! It was an unbelievable strike.

My Scunthorpe United debut…
It was away at Darlington; one of my former clubs. The first five minutes, I pressed and got the lads going and the crowd going. Brian Laws said at half time that’s what he wanted. In the second half, I had a good chance. It was a cross-shot and just went past the far post. It could’ve been a debut to remember.

My best moment in football…
Scoring two live on television for Stoke City against West Brom. I was a foot away from getting a hat-trick. There was a scramble and the ball was going over the line and Paul Peschisolido nicked it on the line. I got man of the match as well. All my friends and family were watching it and I still have the VHS tape in the loft somewhere!

My worst moment in football…
After just signing for Aston Villa, breaking my leg and being told I’d never play professional football again. That gave me the drive to bounce back from adversity. Getting relegated with Peterborough United was a bad moment too.

My appearances in football…
When I look back and think I’ve been a professional footballer I’ve scored about 147 career goals, playing over 500 games and playing in all the divisions, it’s a proud achievement.


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