United were back in cup action at Boundary Park on Saturday afternoon as they faced fellow League Two side Oldham Athletic in the first round of this season's Carabao Cup.
There were two changes to Tuesday's starting eleven, with Dean Furman and Callum Guy in to replace Gav Reilly and Danny Devine, and there were welcome returns to the bench for Jack Armer and Omari Patrick following their pre-season injury niggles.
If behind closed doors for a midweek game felt strange, it was even more weird for a Saturday afternoon fixture which would usually have seen somewhere in the region of 700 travelling Carlisle fans take their place in the stands.
But that was how it had to be, and United created an early half chance when fleet of foot from Alessandra saw him come away with the ball halfway inside the Oldham half. He fed it to Guy, and his clipped pass found Anderton in space. An outswinging delivery was just an inch in front of Alessandra as he tried to put his head on it.
Good defending from Hayden prevented McAleny from finding a way into the box as the Latics looked to create, but it was another slick move from the visitors which caught the eye as Tanner pulled wide. He bounced it off Guy, Alessandra got involved, and a lay-off for Furman invited him to shoot. It had power but it rose over the target.
A shot from nothing from Keillor-Dunn almost took the orange shirts by surprise when he bent his run from the left flank. He struck it well, and Farman had to readjust quickly to beat it to the floor and then gather it up.
Things remained tight between two teams who worked hard, and McAleny was busy again as he tried to find Grant at the back stick. His cross dipped late and the forward could do nothing with it.
The orange shirts were awarded a free kick on 19 minutes when Toure was pushed to the floor tight by the right hand touchline, and a superb delivery from Riley had to be dealt with. Piergianni got there in the nick of time before McDonald could pounce.
United had defending to do on 25 minutes when Tanner and then McDonald cleared as Keillor-Dunn and McAleny looked to open things up. Dean Furman and Hayden did the sweeping up from the corners that followed.
But the Blues were undone on 29 minutes when a Grant free kick found Ben Garrity, who had joined on loan from Blackpool just 48-hours earlier, completely unmarked at the back post. He had the time and space to pick his spot, and he left Farman with no chance.
A misplaced pass from Keillor-Dunn presented Alessandra with an unexpected opening just after the restart, but he got too much on it and Lawlor was able to watch it away. Carlisle came again with a neat pass from Guy and a cross from Riley, but it hit a defender and the keeper came off his line to claim it.
Midfielder Callum Guy was next to try his luck, after he spun on a quickly taken free kick on the edge of the box, but it was rushed and it flew into the stands.
An unforced error from an overhit pass from Anderton gifted Grant a clear run at goal from the halfway line and he drew the stopper before calmly doubling the home advantage.
There was a scare for the visitors on the stroke of half time when McAleny made it to the byeline before cutting it back. A deflection left Borthwick-Jackson with just the keeper to beat, but he was disappointed to see it crash down to safety off the underside of the bar.
A precautionary substitution saw Gav Reilly come on for Dean Furman at the start of the second half, and it was United who created the first chance when Tanner and Alessandra combined out wide. The cross came, and it spooned high as Mellish challenged. Lawlor closed the gap to make the block.
The resulting corner caused all kinds of problems with Hayden first to the ball. His header struck Jombati and the stopper pushed out a hand to tip it over the bar as it came off the defender's shoulder.
The visitors stayed forward and Riley was picked out by a fantastic pass from Guy. A low delivery hit Hamer on its way into the box and that was enough to take the sting out of it.
Another unforced error in midfield broke up what had been a good Carlisle spell, and Grant and McAleny were able to fashion a chance for Fage, who arrived late. His 22-yarder was on the up from the moment it left his foot.
Tanner worked hard to beat his man and get a cross in as the away side continued to probe, and a corner from Riley was glanced by McDonald as he tried to make it his own. He couldn't quite find the direction and the moment was gone.
Oldham survived a goalmouth scramble from a long throw from Alessandra which got the slightest of initial touches from Toure. The referee blew his whistle as a number of orange shirts tried to find the magic touch.
Skill from Toure saw him dump Hamer to the floor over by the corner flag as the Cumbrians pushed and pushed to get back into the game, but his cut back spun past Alessandra before Borthwick-Jackson hooked it clear.
It was all about the away side and crosses from Riley and Mellish earned corners, with United heads first to both of them without quite managing to make them count.
More good pressure from United saw Toure pull wide, take a touch and then surge into the area. Another disguised pull back was inviting, but angled behind the line of onrushing attackers.
The tricky Toure was suddenly a willing outlet and he dropped a shoulder and turned Hamer again before arrowing it through bodies. Alessandra stretched but it was a difficult header to make and Whelan helped it on its way.
Carlisle should have been back in it with 15 minutes left to play when a short corner routine brought a precise delivery from Guy. Substitute Gav Reilly was on his own, and just four yards out, but the ball somehow squirmed off his head and over the bar.
The United crosses kept coming, with Charters accurate as he sent one in with his left foot, but Jombati did enough to put Tanner off.
A snapshot from Alessandra from the edge of the area had Lawlor worried, but it grazed the roof of the net as it dropped just too late.
Jack Armer came on for Jon Mellish to make his debut late in the game, and Reilly went close again when he jumped highest to meet an Anderton delivery. Lawlor had to take care as it came his way at speed.
But it was Oldham who rounded things off with a killer goal in the 90th minute when a break from deep saw McAleny come at the target from a tight angle. He drilled his shot low as he bore down on the keeper and Farman appeared to be wrong-footed as it zipped into his net.
Oldham Athletic - Garrity (29), Grant (37), McAleny (90)
Oldham Athletic - Da Silva (90)
Carlisle United - Anderton (53), McDonald (67), Hayden (90)
Oldham Athletic - Lawlor, Borthwick-Jackson, Jombati, Piergianni (c), Garrity, Whelan, Keillor-Dunn (Barnett 81), Grant (Da Silva 90), Fage (Dearnley 73), McAleny, Hamer. Subs - Woods (gk), Rowe, Jameson, Hough.
Carlisle United - Farman, Tanner, Hayden, McDonald, Anderton (c), Furman (Reilly 46), Guy, Mellish (Armer 83), Alessandra, Toure, Riley (Charters 71). Subs - Dewhurst, Devine, Hunt, Patrick.
Referee - Mr Carl Boyeson
Attendance - behind closed doors