United were back at Boundary Park for the second time this season, having faced the Latics in the Carabao Cup at the beginning of September.
And there was shock news ahead of kick off as Oldham boss Harry Kewell was diagnosed with Covid-19, leaving assistant manager Alan Maybury in charge of the team.
United boss Chris Beech went with an unchanged starting eleven from the home win over Colchester, with Jack Armer and Magnus Norman back on the bench.
Carlisle's recent excellent performances had seen them take their winning run to three in a row on Saturday, and Oldham were buoyant following their first league win at Bolton the same afternoon.
The first test for either defence came on two minutes when Tanner overlapped on the right wing. He sprinted forward and delivered an excellent cross, which Kayode jumped to meet. Lawlor had to take three spaces backwards before he tipped the dipping ball over the bar.
United were the width of the woodwork away from taking the lead three minutes later when strength in midfield from Mellish saw Kayode peel away. Alessandra helped out, and Toure arrived on the scene to stroke a firm effort at the target from just outside the box. The diving stopper was relieved to see it scrape off the top of his bar.
Carlisle came again when Kayode held the ball up on the edge of the area. Mellish was running from deep but the ball got stuck under his boot as he stretched to take the pass under his control with just Lawlor to navigate. That brought a stumble and the moment was gone.
A 25-yard free kick from Tanner earned the orange shirts a corner, and Guy's delivery brought a diving header from Toure. Barnett was positioned by the upright and he gratefully hooked it away before it crossed the line.
Farman had work to do at the other end when McCalmont found himself in unexpected space. He drilled it low but the keeper was comfortable as he gathered it up.
It was still Carlisle asking the main questions and a huge throw from Kayode was flicked on by Toure. Anderton was ready to pounce but the clearance was made.
Another outswinging set piece from Guy was met on the full by Mellish, but he couldn't keep his connection down as he came under pressure and it sailed over the bar.
Oldham were better on the quarter hour when they got down the flanks, with McAleny at the heart of it. His cross found Barnett, but the header hung high and Farman ran out to grasp it.
The Kayode long throws were a real threat and another flick from Mellish took the ball across the face of goal. Toure spun on it but his contact was skewed and his volley was dragged well wide.
It was head in the hands time for the away side again on 24 minutes when Tanner went on a run, unguarded, as he latched onto a second ball. His cross picked out Alessandra, and Lawlor was beaten as the volley skipped off the surface and wide of the post. It looked from the stand viewpoint that it was going in.
A 24-yard thumped free kick from Guy had Lawlor palming it away as it angled at his near post, but Anderton was on hand to crunch another superb delivery into the mix when he recovered it quickly. Toure and Kayode were there but they couldn't quite make it happen in their favour at the front stick.
Hearts were in the mouth at the United end when Barnett curled a free kick from wide at Grant. His header was weak, and Farman and Hayden converged to deal with the loose pieces.
There was a huge chance for Toure when Jameson went sprawling on the floor, leaving the marauding striker with a clear run through. With just the keeper to beat he appeared to have done everything right until his measured attempt smacked the outside of the post.
Oldham almost nicked the lead on the stroke of half time when Garrity quickly fed the ball forward to Dearnley. He took a touch and dropped a shoulder but his snapshot had bowler's off spin on it, and that took it away from the bottom corner.
It took just 20 seconds of the second half for Carlisle to show their intent as the ball was worked forward to Toure. He had his back to goal, but Lawlor was needed to make another diving save as a fierce shot arrowed at his nets.
The Latics responded with an attack in decent numbers but Hayden watched the cross closely, and he got across to head it away. Farman had to punch the inswinging corner off his line, and the defence closed ranks as a high ball was clipped towards the penalty spot.
That sparked a good spell of away pressure with Alessandra and Kayode pressing, and it was a shot from the latter which earned the visitors a corner as it deflected off a defender. Guy whipped the set piece in at shoulder height and Aaron Hayden notched his second goal of the season with a thundering accurate header.
Orange shirts continued to press after the advantage had been gained, giving Oldham no time to regroup, but a Barnett cross midway through the half had to be guided behind by Anderton as it bounced awkwardly.
The corner was taken short and quickly, and it was Barnett again who find himself in space. He beat his man and sent it low, but McDonald stood tall to swipe it clear.
There was frustration for Garrity as a quality free kick from Barnett found a way through. The midfielder was just two yards out but it was a poor header and he sent it wide.
More quick thinking from Hayden saw him fizz a free kick to Reilly as Carlisle looked to reassert their authority, and the cross from the striker begged to be knocked in. Piergianni got there first, but the visitors came again as Alessandra controlled a deflected pass. His cruncher was parried and Mellish was flagged offside on the follow up.
An equaliser came against the run of play on 80 minutes when Danny Rowe squeezed a pass through to Dearnley. He steadied himself and picked his spot from just outside the area.
Gav Reilly was trying to make things happen and he ripped another delivery in from deep when he worked himself away from a challenge. It was just too far in front of Kayode and Lawlor took it into his chest.
A long ball forward was then flicked by Kayode, and that put Reilly beyond the back line. He was forced wide and a touch off McCalmont made it easy for the stopper.
More fantastic football followed as Alessandra and Kayode combined to bring Tanner into the equation. The right back rattled his cross into the six-yard box but Mellish just couldn't quite get there.
Hayden then went on a run from just inside the opposition half which took him into the box. His cross/shot was too close to the keeper.
There was danger at the other end when a Hamer run ended as he overstretched, but there was hesitation as the ball rolled towards the penalty spot. Hayden eventually put his boot on it.
Back at the other end and Reilly surged on, with two in support. The pass was picked up by Alessandra, but the Latics had regrouped.
Added time ticked away without further incident, and it was a frustrated Carlisle outfit who had to contemplate their missed chances as they left with just a point to show for another good performance.
Oldham Athletic - Dearnley (80)
Carlisle United - Hayden (54)
Oldham Athletic - Barnett (61)
Oldham Athletic - Lawlor, Piergianni (c), Garrity, Grant (Rowe 62), Jameson (Clarke 85), Ntambwe (Bahamboula 46), Barnett, McAleny, Dearnley, McCalmont, Hamer. Subs - Bilboe (gk), Jombati, Whelan, Keillorr-Dunn.
Carlisle United - Farman, Tanner, Hayden, McDonald, Anderton (c), Guy (Furman 74), Mellish, Riley (Malley 85), Alessandra, Toure (Reilly 71), Kayode. Subs - Norman (gk), Hunt, Charters, Armer.
Referee - Matthew Donohue
Assistant Referee 1 - Robert Merchant
Assistant Referee 2 - Steven Meredith
Fourth Official - James Wilson
Attendance - behind closed doors