United took a mix of youth and first team players to Oldham on Tuesday afternoon for a reserve game which gave the manager the opportunity to get some important game time for key players.
Both teams played their part in what was an excellent encounter to watch as a high tempo approach and good football kept the action moving on a cold, crisp day.
The Blues welcomed 19-year old trialist Kingsley Eshun into their ranks for the game, with the former-QPR and Brentford forward, who also had spells with St Albans and Dulwich Hamlet, playing on the right of a front three.
The hosts provided the first spark of the day when a run from deep brought a shot which angled just past the post.
United responded with an excellent move, triggered by a surging run from Brockbank, led to McCarron pulling wide with the ball at his feet. His cross on the run was met by midfielder Jason Kennedy and his firm volley flew into the back of the net with the keeper left to flap at thin air.
Confidence was high in the away ranks and Glendon found space to weave past his man and go for goal. He caught his shot well but the keeper was equal to the task.
Carlisle didn't have it all their own way though and captain Louis Gray had to be on his toes as the Latics fashioned a good move, with Benteke showing strength to shield the ball. The shot came through bodies but a smart save calmed things down.
Chances followed for Eshun and Cullen as the Blues looked to extend their lead, but good keeping kept them at bay, and another fine save denied Glendon his celebrations as he bore down on goal having found a yard of space on the edge of the box.
Gray was in action again for Carlisle just before the break as he completed an excellent one-handed save to deny Benteke what looked to be a certain net bulger, and that was enough to send the visitors into their half-time team talk with a one-goal advantage.
As temperatures dropped in the shadow of the mills at Oldham's training ground things really warmed up on the pitch as both teams battled hard to get on top.
A goal created by fine footwork and determined play from McCarron - finished by either Mark Cullen or Jason Kennedy (we really can't tell, even with video footage) - appeared to give the Cumbrians breathing space, and McCarron was an inch way from adding to the tally moments later when he burst through from deep. His dipper was going in until the stopper threw a hand up to divert it over the bar.
But it was the Latics who got themselves right back in it when pressure from Benteke saw him come away with the ball right in front of goal. He kept his cool and picked his spot to reduce the deficit.
The two-goal cushion was restored before an eye was blinked as Brockbank got forward on the left flank from the restart. His deep cross was met by a well-timed run from Eshun and the trialist couldn't hide his delight as his thumping header buried itself into the bottom corner.
But, just 46 seconds later, the hosts rocked the away side again when they sent men forward to support a patient build up. Benteke showed again at the vital moment to notch his second of the day.
The game became nip and tuck but a good spell of pressure for Oldham saw them force a corner as the Blues sat deep to protect their lead. A near post delivery saw Sonhy Sefil lose his marker before he glanced a wicked header past the stranded defence and over the line.
It was suddenly up for grabs and the best was saved for last as substitute Taylor Charters, a first year scholar with the Blues, stole the show with a stunning match winning strike that had both benches acknowledging the moment with a round of applause.
Trialist Kingsley Eshun is due to spend the rest of this week with United.
Oldham Athletic - Benteke (58 & 60), Sefil (70)
Carlisle United - Kennedy (8), Eshun (59), Charters (85) ... Kennedy OR Cullen (48)
Carlisle United - Gray (c), Kelly, Casson (Birch 64), Branthwaite, Brockbank, Glendon, Jones, Kennedy, Eshun, Cullen (Charters 62), McCarron. Subs - Ward, Lightfoot.