The game took a while to get going and it was Oldham who fashioned the first opening when Korey Smith dropped a shoulder and went past Noble in midfield. His cross was met on the volley by Adam Rooney but Gillespie was able to make the save low down to his left.
McSweeney and O’Hanlon made vital blocks as United protected their penalty area but it was Carlisle who almost grabbed the lead when David Amoo chased a Noble pass on the right. Grounds tried to shield it but the nippy wide man raced away with possession and arrowed into the box. Beck, Berrett and Robson screamed for the lay off but United’s top scorer showed a greedy streak as he tried to force it in from a wide angle. Oxley stood strong and beat the effort away.
Oldham substitute Kirk Millar came into the fray as Charlie MacDonald limped from the field with a suspected calf problem and his impact was immediate as he added bite to the Latics attack.
A tempting cross and a fierce shot were both thwarted by O’Hanlon but the new arrival earned his side a spot kick when he outstripped the United central defenders to run into the area. A tug from O’Hanlon brought a penalty which Adam Rooney crunched into the bottom corner via the frustrated keeper’s fingertip touch.
Carlisle had a good spell just after the goal with Robson and McSweeney testing the target with well-worked set pieces and it was all hands to the pumps in the Oldham defence as O’Hanlon, Beck and Amoo tried to finish off a perfect corner delivery from Berrett. They all got their head to the ball but the defence did enough to marshal it away.
Referee Mark Heywood waved away a second strong penalty appeal when Dayton was pulled over by an out-of-position Leon McSweeney and salt was almost rubbed into the wounds as Carlisle broke at pace. The Cumbrians were suddenly two against one in the home area but Amoo opted to shoot when Robson was much better placed.
And the Latics goal led a charmed life from the resulting corner when Chimbonda sat deep to recover the half clearance. His headed pass brought a clipped cross from Robson but the unmarked David Amoo couldn’t make up the ground to finish it off in front of the open net.
Oldham started the second period on the front foot and a slick build up full of one touch passes left Kirk Millar with a clear sight of the target. His curling shot had Gillespie beaten as it grazed the top of the bar.
Striker Mark Beck wheeled away in frustration as he nodded wide from nine yards at the other end as Carlisle enjoyed a good spell of pressure and both Berrett and Chimbonda sliced volleys wide as the ball rebounded in the area.
The home side settled into their lead and Gillespie was in action when Wesolowski found space on the edge of the area. He rattled a great shot towards the bottom corner but the keeper was equal to the task.
Dangerous set pieces caused problems for United as Dayton consistently found good deliveries and McSweeney was alert to make clearances at the far post. Grounds and Tarkowski almost converted when they were picked out from wide on the left. Their headers had purpose but flew over the bar.
The Cumbrians started to take a grip of possession and Eccleston and Robson battled their way into the box to leave the left winger with a brief opening to exploit. Kusunga jumped across to make another vital block.
Jonathan Grounds headed a corner wide as he arrived late for another inswinging corner but Carlisle reasserted themselves again when talisman striker Lee Miller made his first return in just under a month following a niggling injury.
And he almost marked his arrival with a goal as he made his presence felt in the box. His first effort, from a Townsend free kick, was always going wide but it needed a brave two-handed save from Oxley moments later when the big forward guided an Eccleston cross towards the bottom corner.
The visitors threw men forward and Oldham spilled into the gaps as they started to attack on the break. Gillespie had to backtrack and tip a cheeky Dayton lob over the bar as he tried to squeeze the ball under the woodwork from the edge oof the bax.
That was followed within seconds by a glaring miss from Kusunga as he sent a free header from just four yards high into the Boundary Park sky.
Keeper Mark Gillespie and defender Sean O’Hanlon ended the game as attackers for Carlisle as the visitors went in search of a point but it was a third win of the season on what was a frustrating day for the visiting side.
Oldham - Rooney (26 pen)
Oldham - Wesolowski (63), Kusunga (87), Tarkowski (89)
United - Beck (3), Berrett (80)
Oldham Athletic - Oxley, Grounds, Wesolowski, Kusunga, Tarkowski, Smith, Rooney (Clarke-Harris 90), MacDonald (Millar 15), Dayton, Mills, Philliskirk. Subs - Schmeltz, Montano, Winchester, Rodgers, Rachubka.
Carlisle United - Gillespie, McSweeney (Miller 74), O'Hanlon, Chimbonda, Townsend, Thirlwell, Berrett, Noble (Eccleston 46), Amoo, Robson, Beck (Symington 68). Subs - Fleming, Livesey, Potts, Guy.
Referee - Mr Mark Heywood
Attendance - 4,478 (603 away fans)