Morecambe 3 Carlisle United 1: Great achievement, shame about the result - and the competition. Carlisle United history was made in the unloved Trophy last night when, in the 28th minute of a Northern Group G game against Morecambe, Jarrad Branthwaite stepped forward to intercept a pass.

He did so with the timing of a 34-year-old centre-half, never mind a boy half that age – and, as he strode forward, the tall teenager from Wigton found nobody in a red shirt willing or able to block his path.

He waved aside the offer of a simple pass as if affronted by the very idea. When his smooth run took him close enough to the home penalty area to shoot, that’s exactly what he did.

Mark Halstead, the Morecambe goalkeeper, could not reach his accurate low effort and, at that moment, Branthwaite wrote himself into United’s annals as their youngest-ever goalscorer.

The temptation is to say Branthwaite could scarcely believe it, but the most remarkable thing about this highly able young player is that he probably could. This was only his eighth first-team appearance yet rarely has the defender given the impression he does not feel ready for any of this.

Quite the opposite, in fact. There are various reasons why bigger clubs have had their sights locked onto Branthwaite for some time – his poise, his two-footedness, his comfort in possession, other qualities that are not supposed to be this developed, this early – and now they have another.

It has taken Branthwaite this short time to obliterate a 29-year-old record, and one imagines Rob Edwards, Carlisle’s previous youngest (and another defender) does not mind handing the achievement on to a fellow Cumbrian. Edwards was 112 days older than Branthwaite when he scored a penalty against Maidstone in September 1990.

The younger man, 17 years and 138 days old yesterday, must wait until next June before he can even legally drink. Will he still be a United player by then? That may be a matter of hope over expectation, the way things are progressing.

So let us, as Chris Lumsdon said recently, enjoy him while we can. And that leads us swiftly back to the dear old Trophy. More people deserved to witness this moment than were in Morecambe’s Globe Arena, and more surely would have done, had football’s big brains not pitted fans against their clubs thanks to the extremely divisive introduction of Premier League under-21 teams.

None of those hoarded sides were on show last night, but many folk turned their backs regardless. As is often seen in the Trophy, all the supporters were included in one side of the stadium’s four, and although Morecambe had a new manager in the dugout (Derek Adams), still only 802 people rocked up.

The Shrimps do not draw League Two’s biggest audiences but are still a proud club who reach a certain level. United routinely take impressively plenty away; 500 to Dulwich Hamlet on a Friday night, and on all previous visits to this fairly nearby town, a substantial travelling army.

Here we had 169 who felt it worth their while. Carlisle, who went out of the competition as a result of a 3-1 defeat which saw a dismaying collapse from the hour mark, play here again in the reserve cup next week and the atmosphere will be scarcely less electric.

Here, needing victory to progress, they fielded a team with seven changes and, against a Morecambe side with none, took time to create anything in pursuit of their goal. The home side, more experienced, saw more of the ball early on and John O’Sullivan, one of three ex-Carlisle players in the home ranks, almost sprinted onto a fifth-minute chance. Elias Sorensen nearly did the same for the Blues while Ryan Loft got himself in front of a Mo Sagaf cross.

It was competitive without, in the opening stages, great creativity. United almost unlocked the door when Sorensen’s good run was met with a Loft pass, but Halstead saved. Moments later, Morecambe’s Cole Stockton glanced a Luke Conlan cross wide.

Branthwaite then stepped up in every sense and, after his moment in time, the teams traded more chances. Morecambe could have levelled through Lewis Alessandra but Louis Gray pulled off an athletic save. Carlisle then preyed on some Morecambe unease and created more opportunities, the closest a Jack Bridge cross that fell behind Sorensen and the Newcastle loanee hitting the post with an overhead kick.

Before half-time, Mo Sagaf tested Halstead from the edge of the box and Carlisle, at the start of the second half, were left to curse their failure to make the most of breaks forward in order to seal the tie, the final ball or moment eluding the likes of the fit-again Christie Elliott and Bridge after positive runs.

This cost them deeply when, on the hour, United could not deal well enough with the ball defensively, and neither Elliott nor Bridge could take command when it remained in their territory. The former was penalised for a foul on Aaron Wildig, and Andrew Tutte crashed the spot-kick high past Gray.

Carlisle now looked greener and looser than they had, and truthfully it was a harder second half for Branthwaite and others as Morecambe buzzed forward with better ideas. On 66 minutes, substitute Ajay Leitch-Smith found space behind the defence and Wildig got in front of Elliott to slide his cross home.

Sagaf then went off, his head bandaged and later stitched after a nasty collision, and his replacement Olufela Olomola had a shot blocked at close range. Gray denied Stockton a Morecambe third and another sub, Harry McKirdy, went close, Carlisle now needing two goals to reach the second round.

They would not come, and in the final minutes Conlan crashed in a third for the hosts, giving boss Adams a debut win - Morecambe's first home victory against United in 12 attempts, remarkably - and sending Carlisle convincingly out of a competition that, for the large part, continues to dismay.

Not every game does matter, contrary to the League’s tagline, when big money has warped this cup so much. For history boy Branthwaite, though, this one certainly did.

Morecambe: Halstead, Conlan, Old, Lavelle, Brewitt, Tanner, Tutte (Kenyon 75), Wildig, O'Sullivan (Leitch-Smith 55), Alessandra (Sutton 55), Stockton. Not used: Roche, Ellison, Miller, Cranston.

Goals: Tutte 61pen, Wildig 66, Conlan 90

United: Gray, Knight-Percival (McKirdy 69), Branthwaite, Mellish, Elliott (G Jones 83), Iredale, Carroll, Sagaf (Olomola 71), Bridge, Loft, Sorensen. Not used: Robinson, Hayden, G Jones, Charters, Walton.

Goal: Branthwaite 28

Ref: Graham Salisbury

Crowd: 802 (169 United fans)