United returned to league action on Saturday afternoon as they hosted Oldham Athletic at Brunton Park.
Manager Steven Pressley was forced to make one change, with midfielder Jack Bridge serving a one-match suspension, and that brought Christie Elliott back into the mix as Mo Sagaf moved into a more advanced midfield position.
And it was Sagaf who earned his side an early corner when he went for a shot from distance as Gary Woods scampered across his line. The keeper seemed to lose his bearings and he went for safety first as he tipped the bouncing ball round the post.
United stayed forward and strong work from Thomas as the corner was cleared saw him steal possession inside the centre circle. Oldham asked for a free kick, but the referee waved play on, and Thomas bounced the ball off McKirdy before sending the nippy winger on a run. McKirdy then showed good feet as he rolled the ball back towards Olomola and the hitman stayed calm to make space before slotting an excellent finish into the bottom corner at the Waterworks End.
Carlisle had to deal with a cross that bent away from Collin from the restart, but they were quickly on the attack again when a through ball from Jones found Olomola beyond his man. He shrugged off the challenge and dropped a shoulder but his shot was blocked by the diving Woods. Sagaf stepped in to take over as the rebound came his way but he sent a high one over the bar.
United had defending to do, with Missilou willing to get forward, but blocks from Webster and quick reactions to low crosses from Gethin Jones kept the chances at bay. A curler from Azankpo was the closest the visitors came in the opening 15 minutes, but Collin was able to watch that wide.
Another long range attempt from Sagaf had more in the way of power and accuracy following a patient home build up but Woods timed his dive so that he could gather it into his body.
The Latics continued to look dangerous as they stuck with a forward front three but Missilou was wasteful when he skipped into space in the 18-yard box. He put his laces through the ball but it was always angling high.
A training ground corner routine from Carlisle saw Sagaf peel away from his marker at the back post as McKirdy delivered low to the front stick. It was a perfect ball but Sagaf leaned back and it spooned high into the sky.
The Latics should have done better as they finally created a meaningful moment with 28 minutes on the clock. Missilou sent a looped cross over, Collin misjudged it, and Branger-Engone was left with his head in his hands as he guided a weak header into the side netting.
Azankpo headed wide when he got on the end of another decent cross, during what was another good spell for the visitors, but the Cumbrians settled things down as they got their foot on the ball in important areas, albeit without managing to clean it all up in the opposition final third.
Oldham showed first after the break and it was a worrying two minute spell as a deep corner was met by the unmarked Filipe Morais. He flashed it back across the face of goal but it evaded everybody as it bent away to safety behind the target.
A lapse of concentration as Collin sent the goal kick short left the Blues exposed and they were almost made to pay as Maouche found himself with just the keeper to beat. He lost his footing as he took the shot and he was disappointed to see it skim past the upright.
A 25-yard free kick from McKirdy thundered straight at a defender at the other end, with Woods mightily relieved that it had done so, and United were close again when an incisive move brought a cross for McKirdy to shield. He popped a perfect pass to substitute Hallam Hope and he was a matter of inches away as he drilled a first time volley the wrong side of the post.
The game became a midfield tussle, with neither side really knocking on the door, until a through ball on 75 minutes from Knight-Percival caught the Oldham back line napping. Loft was onto it as he used his strength to muscle his way through, but it was a tight angle and Woods was able to spread himself to make the save.
It lifted the home crowd and Carlisle came again as Iredale spread a fantastic pass to Loft. He played it on to Olomola but his sweeping low effort was too close to Woods.
An inswinging free kick from Wheater caused problems as it skipped across the face of goal, and Collin had to be on his game when Missilou twisted to volley a long throw at the top corner. It was on target but the big keeper got there.
United managed the game well through time added on and their reward was a first home win since the opening day of the season as the final whistle blew.
Carlisle United - Olomola (3)
Oldham Athletic - Missilou (41)
Carlisle United - Collin (gk) (c), G Jones, Webster, Knight-Percival, Elliott, Sagaf, M Jones, Iredale, Thomas (Hope 46), Olomola, McKirdy (Loft 70). Subs - Gray (gk), Carroll, Mellish, Branthwaite, Sorensen.
Oldham Athletic - Woods (gk), Mills, Iacovitti, Branger-Engone (Fage 73), Morais (Eagles 64), Mauoche, Missilou, Azankpo (Wilson 64), Sylla, Wheater (c), Hamer. Subs - de la Paz (gk), Stott, Smith, Egert.
Referee - Marc Edwards
Assistant Referee 1 - Graeme Fyvie
Assistant Referee 2 - Conor Brown
Fourth Official - Natalie Aspinall
Attendance - 4,321 (516 away fans)