Carlisle United 0 Oldham Athletic 0: Carlisle United crept out of the relegation zone but are now winless in eight after a stalemate with fellow strugglers Oldham.

The managerless Blues kept a rare clean sheet but failed to threaten at the other end against Keith Curle's visitors.

They had keeper Mark Howard to thank for vital saves late in the first half while Oldham had a goal controversially ruled out for offside.

Brennan Dickenson saw United's best attempt saved but Carlisle were sorely short of chances as they failed to impress in front of a 4,274 crowd.

Caretaker boss Gavin Skelton made two changes to his side for his third game in interim charge, recalling Corey Whelan and Jack Armer at the expense of Morgan Feeney and Taylor Charters.

Tristan Abrahams and Lewis Bell were added to the bench, while Oldham's three changes included a recall for captain Carl Piergianni and the former Blues frontman Hallam Hope.

Oldham's Jamie Bowden failed to make the most of an early headed chance before Dylan Bahamboula whipped a shot into the side-netting.

At the other end, Zach Clough and Dickenson had attempts blocked before Clough volleyed over.

News and Star: Keith Curle (photo: Barbara Abbott)Keith Curle (photo: Barbara Abbott)

United played some decent football as they advanced into Oldham territory but lacked devil in the penalty area, Jordan Gibson glancing a Dickenson cross wide midway through the half.

Armer made a vital interception when Oldham sent a dangerous free-kick into the United box, while a Clough set-piece was tipped away by visiting keeper Jayson Leutwiler.

Carlisle couldn't make a series of first-half corners count, while their best chance, via Joe Riley's cross to Dickenson, saw a defender block the latter's finish.

Oldham then could have gone ahead late in the half, after Hope had miskicked a cross to the left of goal.

United keeper Mark Howard got his fingers to a David Keillor-Dunn shot, tipping it onto the inside of the post, with Bowden debatably flagged offside as he netted the follow-up.

And moments later he made a superb close-range stop as Hope met a far-post delivery with a powerful shot.

Bahamboula saw a shot blocked after the break before Skelton made a change early in the second half, sending on Brad Young for Alessandra.

Charters then replaced Mellish on the hour with United short of chances amid a tactical change that saw Clough move to the left.

The young Cumbrian released Gibson down the right more than once but nobody was there to attack the cross.

Oldham almost caught United out through Keillor-Dunn, who spotted Howard off his line and aimed for goal from halfway, but Carlisle's keeper recovered.

Skelton then sent on Abrahams for Clough for the closing stages, Charters tackled on the edge of the box as the sub found him.

Neither side looked capable of winning it, with some United fans in the Warwick Road End singing "sack the board" during the closing stages.

Young couldn't reach a Riley cross in front of goal as the stalemate came to an end and United, although keeping a first clean sheet in 11 league games, ended the day third bottom, moving up a place thanks Mansfield's defeat to Exeter.

Attention will return now to the manager hunt with the Blues expected to get closer to a decision in the coming week.

United: Howard, Riley, Armer, McDonald, Corey Whelan, Guy, Mellish (Charters 60), Dickenson, Gibson, Clough (Abrahams 77), Alessandra (Young 55). Not used: Jensen, Devine, Feeney, Bell.

Oldham: Leutwiler, Clarke, McGahey, Piergianni, Callum Whelan (Bettache 87), Couto, Bowden, Keillor-Dunn, Bahamboula, Hope, Vaughan (Da Silva 62). Not used: Danielewicz, Dearnley, Fage, Diarra, Edwards.

Booked: Couto

Ref: Benjamin Speedie.

Crowd: 4,274 (420 Oldham fans)