United completed their pre-season fixture schedule with a home game against Bradford City on Saturday afternoon with manager John Sheridan taking charge of his first home game at Brunton Park.
United fashioned the first chance of the afternoon with just two minutes on the clock when new arrival Jerry Yates was dragged off the ball 23-yards from the target. Grainger placed it and drilled it round the wall, but O’Donnell was well-placed to drop low and gather it in.
There was drama at the other end when Gary Miller misheard a shout and played the ball back to Fryer. George Miller skipped in to try to nick it, but the stopper was off his line quickly to sweep it away. Liddle recovered to complete the mopping up operation.
“I got a call from Gary [Liddle] and I thought he’d said ‘keeper’ so I turned to play it back,” Gary Miller explained. “He’d actually shouted ‘keep it’ but it was entirely my fault. I was the one to blame, but fortunately I got away with it.”
Carlisle were quickly back on the front foot when Yates used his pace to intercept a loose pass and race down the right flank. His cross was whipped wickedly but it was just too high for Hope.
A moment of skill from Jones brought a round of applause from the crowd when he took control on the edge of his own box. He looked up and spotted Yates on the move, and a pinpoint 40-yard pass sent the wide man on a run. He shaped to shoot but a toe-end from Chicksen took the moment away.
The Blues enjoyed most of the meaningful possession but Payne broke clear just before the half hour to have a go at the target. Liddle made the block and it spun away harmlessly for a corner, which was well defended by the hosts.
There was a scare for United moments later when Robinson fed a ball through from midfield. It took a deflection and that allowed George Miller to nip round the back and go for the target. He got his bearings wrong and dragged it well wide of the upright.
That sparked a good spell for the hosts and one-touch passing between Hope and Devitt took them to the edge of the area. O’Connor got in the way and Wright was able to hook it to safety.
A foul on Glendon brought a quick free kick after Yates was tripped yet again. Hope jumped highest to meet the delivery but his header went straight at O’Donnell.
United ended the half on top and Yates earned a corner when he thumped a grasscutter through bodies. Grainger took the set piece but O’Donnell was off his line before Bennett could pounce.
Hope and Gillesphey had early crosses as Carlisle continued to hold the upper hand and they went close when Bennett tussled for a ball inside the area. Etuhu picked it up and fed it to his left, where Hope arrived at pace. His crisp shot had the stopper beaten but it rattled into the side netting.
A moment of individual brilliance from Yates brought more appreciation from the crowd when the young forward left two defenders in his wake. He unleashed a thunderbolt which smashed into the post and bounced away to safety.
The best moment of the half for the Bantams came with just five minutes left to play when Knight-Percival overlapped on the right. He got behind the back line and fizzed the ball low but it flew untroubled across the face of the target.
And that left it open for Carlisle to grab the bragging rights when Hope took matters into his own hands in time added on. His shot from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection and Richie Bennett kept his eye on it before picking his spot with a neatly guided header.
Carlisle United - Bennett (90)
Carlisle United - Fryer (Collin 74), Miller, Liddle, Parkes, Grainger (Gillesphey 46), Devitt (Slater 46), Glendon, Jones (Etuhu 46), Yates (Egan 71), Hope, Bennett. Subs - Olsen, Adewusi, Holt, Brown, Stockton.
Bradford City - O'Donnell, Riley, Chicksen, Wright, O'Connor, Knight-Percival, Scannell, Colville (McGowan 80), Miller, Payne, Robinson (Seedorf 46). Subs - Wilson, Staunton, Hudson, Gibson, Kilgallon, Isherwood, Wood, Goldthorp, Bruenter.
Referee - Anthony Backhouse
Attendance - 1,384 (194 away fans)