Come along as we take a walk back eight years to a cup tie that, out of nowhere, became almost too toxic to touch; an FA Cup first round encounter that, whatever happens this weekend, will be somewhere near the top when it comes to the surreal and controversial at Carlisle United.

And to think it had all started so blandly. United, struggling in League One, were drawn away to Boreham Wood of the Conference South. A goalless contest in Hertfordshire brought the minnows up to Cumbria for a replay.

At which point…carnage. On a cold November night, in front of just 1,484 fans – Brunton Park’s second-lowest FA Cup crowd – Carlisle took supporters on one of those classic headscratching, maddening Blues journeys, only to emerge victorious; and that was only the start of the story.

It was a United team in a state of downward transition. Greg Abbott’s near five-year reign had ended early in 2013/14, with assistant Graham Kavanagh stepping up. An early burst of wins had levelled off into a more flawed set of results, and United’s hopes of cup progress were further hit when Mark Gillespie was injured in the first game at Boreham Wood.

Ben Amos, the loan keeper from Manchester United, was not allowed to play for the Blues in the cup, so in stepped Greg Fleming, the former Gretna No1. His part in the replay might be better remembered were it not for the aftermath.

United made unnecessarily hard work of things against a side fifth bottom in non-league’s second tier. Ian Allinson’s visitors surprised Carlisle with some bold early attacking, and the 29th minute brought them a golden opportunity.

It came when Pascal Chimbonda, once of the Premier League and the France national side, clumsily upended Austin Lipman. Luke Garrard, the Boreham Wood player-coach, sent the penalty past Fleming and the upset was on.

News and Star: Boreham Wood celebrate their goalBoreham Wood celebrate their goal

Two minutes later, the visitors attacked again and Conor Townsend was too slow in the challenge this time, bringing down David Moli. Another penalty, another Garrard attempt – but this time a crucial Fleming save.

It kept Carlisle in things, but their football was grim. After the half-time break, Kavanagh sent the players out two minutes before their opponents. When things resumed, Liam Noble saw an attempt cleared off the line, while the midfielder and Garrard were among the players appearing to trade sharp comments as things went on.

United were staring down the barrel of their worst cup humiliation for more than a decade, but Kavanagh’s changes and a latter period of pressure finally told in the 80th minute when Lee Miller got his head to a Dave Symington cross and the finish dipped in.

News and Star: United level through Lee MillerUnited level through Lee Miller

Ten minutes later, a James Berrett shot was parried into the path of Mark Beck, and the sub swept it in to win the tie for Carlisle and crush their guests and their 38 fans.

United celebrated with unusual vehemence in the face of their opponents, and it took ref Mark Heywood several minutes to calm things down. It finished 2-1, and it later emerged that “some personal comments” had been allegedly made by visiting players to the Carlisle team amid the exchanges.

Boreham Wood, for their part, expressed their annoyance at how Carlisle had reacted, and then things descended into even more lurid ground, for it was claimed that visiting players had urinated on the floor of the away dressing room, damaged a door and left a tea pot wedged in a urinal before departing. The away side denied this fiercely, claiming the offending liquid was in fact orange juice, and threatening the Blues with legal action.

It took a while for things to move on from the angry counter-claims. United eventually progressed to a second round tie with Brentford, which they won thanks to Miller and Berrett, and then Matty Robson scored in a valiant third round defeat at top-flight Sunderland.

News and Star: Players clash amid bad-tempered scenesPlayers clash amid bad-tempered scenes

Carlisle could not reproduce that spirit in a chaotic league campaign, which saw them flounder in the run-in, going down to the basement division for the first time in eight years. Boreham Wood, a year on, gained promotion to the Conference, and for the last six years they have been under the management of Garrard.

They host Eastleigh in the cup this weekend as United take on Horsham. Fate will no doubt throw them back together one day…at which time the reminiscing will be as much about orange juice – or the other stuff – as it will the football.

United: Fleming, McSweeney (Berrett), Townsend, O’Hanlon, Chimbonda, Thirlwell, Noble, Robson, Amoo (Symington), Guy (Beck), Miller. Not used: Brass, Chantler, Livesey, Potts.

Boreham Wood: Russell, Nunn, Jones, Cox, O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Montgomery, Garrard, Moli (Sterling-Parker), Lipman (Ball), Morgan. Not used: Whichelow, Moto, Courtnage, Lobjoit and Hastings.

Crowd: 1,484.