Carlisle United youngster Max Kilsby reflects on promotion to League One with Annan Athletic

Max Kilsby scored two goals in the play-off final first leg for Annan Athletic. Credit: JS Sports and Events

Carlisle United youngster Max Kilsby has hailed a season long loan spell at Annan Athletic where he achieved promotion.

The 19-year-old scored two goals in the play-off final first leg as Annan Athletic defeated Clyde to make it to Scottish League One for the first time in their history.

The defender came through Carlisle United's youth set-up and was full of praise for the time he spent on loan at the Scottish side.

Speaking to Carlisle United's website, Kilsby said: "I couldn’t wish for a better ending. Obviously we had a tough start in the league, we didn’t win many games, but once we got going and started playing as a team it was good, and it was a perfect way for it to end.

"I think we peaked at the right time. We went into the play-offs with some good wins under our belts and good momentum. I’m really pleased that we managed to get promoted."

Kilsby spent much of the early part of the campaign on the bench and revealed that former Carlisle player and Annan Athletic manager Peter Murphy offered him some words of wisdom.

He said: "It was good for me to sit on the bench for some of those games and watch what it was all about. It’s been my first season in men’s football and it was so different compared to last season in the youth team.

“It was good for me to learn from the other players there. There are people like Swings [Steve Swinglehurst], who was here about 10 years ago, he’s just a great role model.

“Willie Gibson came in back in January and he was another ideal role model. I enjoyed watching and learning from them then, when I got my chance, I took it."

The 19-year-old believes the experience of playing with Annan Athletic will help him with the rest of his career.

Max Kilsby helped Annan Athletic to promotion to League One. Credit: JS Sports and Events

He said: “It’s done loads for me because when you’re playing every week, and you know you’re confident, you just feel so much better. I feel like it’s really brought my game on, and it’s been good to know that the manager believes in me and that he’ll play me.

“Murph [Peter Murphy] didn’t say too much, really, when I was a sub, but he was encouraging me and letting me know that he did still believe in me, and that all I had to do was keep working hard.

“He even said that it wasn’t a bad thing that I was sitting on the bench. He told me to take my time and that I had to earn my place, just like everybody else. You’re never guaranteed anything and he was really helpful. He’s just a really good manager to have and to go on loan to."

Kilsby's strong season was rounded off by his two goals against Clyde in the play-off final.

He said: "For the first one I just saw the ball come out to me and straight away I thought, you know what, I’m just going to smash this."

"When I saw it hit the back of the net - words can’t really describe it. I was absolutely delighted.

“Then the second one came along as well. When that went in it was just, look, it wasn’t a shock, but again, I can’t even put it into words for how it felt to help the team get promoted."

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