Not often in recent times – and certainly not at second-tier level – have Carlisle United boasted a frontman who could get four goals in a game not once but twice in fairly quick succession.

Such a feat, though, was well within the capabilities of 1980s marksman Mally Poskett, whose scoring attributes were a major feature at United in that particular decade.

Poskett joined the Cumbrians in the summer of 1982, bolstering Bob Stokoe’s team after the previous campaign’s Third Division promotion. The Teessider returned back to the north after spells with Brighton and Watford and immediately became a key part of Stokoe’s assault on the higher division.

United began the ‘82/3 season in mixed fashion, Poskett and Alan Shoulder accounting for Derby County on the opening day before the Blues slumped to three consecutive defeats, the latter a 6-0 annihilation at Leicester.

News and Star: Poskett, right, and Alan Shoulder with their eyes on the ball in the Palace boxPoskett, right, and Alan Shoulder with their eyes on the ball in the Palace box

By that stage it threatened to become a tentative return indeed to life one rung down from the top flight. But there was nothing hesitant about United or Poskett in their next game: the visit of Crystal Palace on September 18.

It was simply a case of an expert finisher doing what he does best. The 29-year-old had an extra incentive against Palace, as a former favourite with their rivals Brighton, and was inspired against the Eagles at Brunton Park.

His movement and deadly striking drew glowing praise in the Evening News & Star from the great Ivor Broadis, and Palace simply had no answer.

It took United 29 minutes to get in front against Alan Mullery’s visitors, but the foundation was there in a good defensive showing from the recalled Bobby Parker and Tony Larkin – and the floodgates opened once Tommy Craig’s corner had been headed back by Larkin for Poskett to nod it home.

At the other end, Blues keeper Trevor Swinburne excelled to deny Henry Hughton and Kevin Mabbutt, and then Carlisle and Poskett swept forward to score a second.

News and Star: Poskett weaves his way in from the right for his second goalPoskett weaves his way in from the right for his second goal

This one was particularly pleasing on the eye, as Gordon Staniforth, enjoying a midfield role, sent Poskett charging down the right before the frontman stepped past Hughton and rifled a left-footed shot past keeper Paul Barron.

It sent Stokoe’s side in at half-time in buoyant spirits – and back out again keen to get the job done.

That they did in effective and ultimately stylish fashion. Jack Ashurst was narrowly denied a third by Barron’s save early in the second half, but soon afterwards Carlisle did extend their lead, Bannon seeing a shot parried into the path of Poskett who pounced ruthlessly for his hat-trick.

Palace had little reply and it was little surprise when United, come the 64th minute, had added a fourth. It came through a moment of high and instinctive class from a player whose every touch that day was destined to come off: Poskett, having exchanged passes with Alan Shoulder, meeting the latter’s cross with a brilliant, backheeled finish which flew high past Barron.

News and Star: Poskett backheels goal number four past Palace keeper Paul BarronPoskett backheels goal number four past Palace keeper Paul Barron

“A goal that would have graced the First Division’s top levels,” reckoned Broadis, and a late Paul Hinshelwood consolation for the south Londoners barely took the shine off theconsummate afternoon.

Carlisle’s 4,390 crowd also enjoyed the show. Player-coach Craig said after the 4-1 win: “The crowd were great. After the results we’ve had, they came down willing us to win from the start.”

Four-goal Poskett was rewarded with a day off, which he spent completing arrangements to move his family up from Watford, while manager Stokoe was in a happier state of mind after United’s recent defeats.

“The team performance, with [Poskett’s] individual show the highlight, was all I could have asked for,” the boss said. “Players helped each other to get the best out of each other.”

Poskett hit 14 league goals that season as United achieved a 14th-placed finish, and he went on to strike another 17 in 1983/4 – including a further four-goal haul against Derby County – as Carlisle looked set for a First Division return, before a late-season winless slide.

The frontman later moved on to Darlington and Stockport before returning for a second Blues spell, by which time United’s bright early-80s spell had faded into a much lesser fourth-tier time.

Poskett departed a second time, later playing for Morecambe, and he remained in Carlisle after retirement, working as a car salesman before settling into a long stint at Pirelli, where he worked alongside a number of Blues fans who never let him forget his swashbuckling, goal-grabbing days at the front of a fine United side.

United: Swinburne, Parker, Ashurst, Larkin, Rushbury, Staniforth, Coughlin, Craig, Bannon, Poskett, Shoulder. Sub: Lee.

Palace: Barron, Hinshelwood, Cannon, Gilbert, Williams, Hughton, Giles, Lovell, Mabbutt, Edwards, Hilaire. Sub: Langley.