Oldham Athletic 1 Carlisle United 1: Carlisle United are now four points above the League Two relegation place after Byron Webster's first Blues goal was cancelled out by Jonny Smith at Oldham.

Webster headed United into the lead on 24 minutes at Boundary Park.

But the Latics hit back before the break when Smith's shot took a deflection past the wrongfooted Adam Collin.

Neither of the strugglers could find a winner after the break despite some good chances.

It means things are tighter at the foot of the division, Stevenage's 4-0 win at Cambridge closing the gap.

Oldham had the better of the opening exchanges with Christian N'Guessan having a shot blocked and new signing Danny Rowe shooting just wide.

Desire Azankpo then went through to score but was denied by the offside flag.

United, who included debutant centre-half Max Hunt and the recalled Aaron Hayden, remained on the defensive with Christopher Missilou testing Collin from the left and Mohammad Maouche also drawing a save from the Blues keeper.

Nathan Thomas, though, was at the heart of a better Carlisle spell, forcing mistakes and then set-pieces from the home defence.

Centre-half Webster duly headed the Blues in front, finishing clinically after Thomas had linked well with Mike Jones and crossed from the right of the box.

Webster had remained forward from a United corner with the Cumbrians finally making some attacking inroads.

As Oldham fought back, Carl Piergianni beat Collin to a free-kick but couldn't direct his header on target.

Home boss Dino Maamria made a change on the half-hour, sending on Scott Wilson for fellow frontman Azankpo.

United had two further chances on the break, Harry McKirdy denied by a block and seeing a handball appeal waved away, and then Stefan Scougall pouncing on another Latics error but McKirdy opting to shoot instead of square it to team-mates, and keeper Zeus De La Paz easily saving.

Oldham then broke and Smith picked up a deep cross and fired wide. But a minute later the tricky winger got on the scoresheet, when Gethin Jones failed to intercept a ball to the right and Smith's shot deflected off Hunt past Collin.

Oldham then almost grabbed another seconds before the break, when Hayden's interception was cut out by Maouche, but the close-range chance ran through to Collin.

Hallam Hope was denied by a flying De La Paz save early in the second half with Hunt intercepting a Wilson chance as an end-to-end affair unfolded.

Blues debutant sub Joshua Kayode, on for Elliot Watt, put himself about but could not get a sight of goal, though Thomas remained a danger and he threatened Oldham with a series of runs from the right.

One elusive dribble saw him set up McKirdy, but United's top scorer blazed over.

McKirdy then headed over the bar when De La Paz parried a Stefan Scougall shot into his path.

Oldham sub Zak Dearnley added threat for the hosts and he prodded wide when fellow sub Mo Sylla did well down the left.

Rowe saw another shot smash into the face of Hunt, Carlisle unable to respond with any clear late chances as it ended in stalemate.

Kayode's fellow new boy Nick Anderton, who also joined this week, was an unused sub, while there was no place in the squad for striker Olufela Olomola and midfielder Jack Bridge, along with Christie Elliott, Nathaniel Knight-Percival and Canice Carroll.

Jon Mellish was ruled out with injury.

Oldham: De La Paz, Mills, Hamer, Piergianni, Wheater, Smith, Maouche, Missilou (Sylla 67), N'Guessan, Azankpo (Wilson 30, Dearnley 72), Rowe. Not used: Allen, Iacovitti, Nepomuceno, Branger-Engone.

United: Collin, Hayden, G Jones, Hunt, Webster, Watt (Kayode 53), M Jones, Scougall, McKirdy (Charters 86), Thomas (Loft 90), Hope. Not used: Gray, Iredale, Sagaf, Anderton.

Ref: Rob Lewis.

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