Carlisle United 0 Grimsby Town 0: Carlisle United failed to break down fellow strugglers Grimsby in a goalless stalemate at Brunton Park.

Both sides hit the woodwork but neither could find a way to goal in a frustrating spectacle.

United inched slightly further away from the relegation place with Chris Beech's side now six points above bottom spot in 21st.

It was a third straight home clean sheet - but also an opportunity missed to land a blow against a rival at the wrong end of League Two.

Carlisle's Hallam Hope hit the crossbar while Grimsby also struck the woodwork twice in a haphazard first half.

Hope went closest for the Cumbrians in the 21st minute when he ran onto a fine Mike Jones pass and his effort flew past keeper James McKeown but came off the underside of the bar.

Either side of that, Grimsby also went very close, James Hanson seeing a header hit the left-hand upright in the seventh minute.

And on 27 minutes Ethan Robson saw a free-kick deflect against the United bar.

Carlisle - with Harry McKirdy recalled in a 4-2-3-1 system, and Byron Webster sidelined through concussion protocols - gave themselves some problems with some sloppy defensive work, Canice Carroll struggling in a right-back role.

Harry Davis had an early Grimsby goal disallowed for offside before Hope twice went close for United.

Later, Mike Jones swept a shot close before Adam Collin denied Jake Hessenthaler at close range after the latter had sneaked behind Stefan Scougall.

Carlisle, late in the half, were offering little and though Grimsby lost Hanson to injury on 43 minutes, they still almost went ahead before the break.

Their chance came from a weak Carroll backpass, putting sub Charles Vernam in on goal, but his heavy touch to the left of goal saw the ball run behind for a goal-kick.

Beech brought on Christie Elliott for Carroll at the break but a poor Collin kick gave Jake Hessenthaler a chance which he fired across goal.

Thomas couldn't make the most of a United attack before Vernam shot wide and Matt Green sent a free header straight at Collin.

Carlisle struggled to create clear-cut chances, Vernam again going close for the Mariners before Ryan Loft had a late shot blocked.

The Cumbrians' centre-half pairing of Aaron Hayden and Jarrad Branthwaite were solid and, at the other end, the Blues applied pressure in the closing stages - but failed to make the breakthrough.

United: Collin, Carroll (Elliott 46), G Jones, Branthwaite, Hayden, M Jones, Scougall (Olomola 79), Thomas, McKirdy (Sagaf 65), Hope, Loft. Not used: Gray, Knight-Percival, Birch, Sorensen.

Grimsby: McKeown, Hendrie, Gibson, Davis, Waterfall, Hessenthaler, Wright (Whitehouse 84), Clifton, Robson, Hanson (Vernam 43), Green (Rose 76). Not used: Russell, Ohman, Cardwell, Pollock.

Ref: Marc Edwards.

Crowd: 3,653 (217 Grimsby fans)