For all the assumptions that experience is the best way to get a team out of trouble, it’s remarkable how often it’s a younger player who does the heavy lifting.

And no, we’re not just talking about 25-year-old on-loan goalkeepers from Swindon here. Think of other examples from Carlisle United’s history.

When they went to Shrewsbury in 2003, needing victory to assure safety and send their opponents down, was it one of their older heads who kept his cool above all others on such a taut and anxious evening?

No. It was a kid from Tow Law Town in his first season of professional football.

That was Brian Wake and his hat-trick; there have been others. In a ludicrously tense and awful relegation six-pointer at Chester in 2000, which player cut through to score the winner for nine-man United?

Again: one of the younger chaps, a 21-year-old Cumbrian, Scott Dobie. A couple of seasons on, it was a 21-year-old Richie Foran whose goal achieved survival at Halifax.

Now, if you look hard enough it’s not difficult to find opposite examples. Carl Heggs, whose goal saved Carlisle in 2001, was an older journeyman, while Paul Simpson's regeneration of United in the 2003/4 season was carried out predominantly by experienced additions.

Not exclusively, though. At least a small part of the change of tone was a 17-year-old rookie on loan from Walsall. Matty Fryatt was an energetic foil for the seasoned qualities of Andy Preece and co; despite his tender years, he did not look out of place or weighed by United’s predicament.

Similarly, 2014/15 is remembered for the poetic day that Gary Dicker and Billy Paynter, having been controversially sidelined by Keith Curle, both scored against Plymouth to safeguard the club's Football League position. It’s true they came up with the crucial acts in the end? Who really saved United that season, though?

News and Star: Teenager Kyle Dempsey was Carlisle's best player across the troubled season of 2014/15 (photo: Barbara Abbott)Teenager Kyle Dempsey was Carlisle's best player across the troubled season of 2014/15 (photo: Barbara Abbott)

A teenager from Maryport. Kyle Dempsey. By far and away Carlisle’s best player, comfortably their Mr Consistency despite a summer and other, later periods spent signing older heads.

At United’s worst in 2014/15, Dempsey did more than anyone else to keep their heads above water. So, despite occasional criticism, did Brad Potts, another from the academy.

Ideally, there will be a blend. The side that finished the latter season also had the late-season input of Jason Kennedy and Charlie Wyke, and a good thing that was too.

The admirable, experienced Kennedy wouldn’t have been able to do his part, though, had Dempsey not already over-performed in a bad team until then.

It’s apparent enough that not every young player is a Dempsey. But a Wake, or a Fryatt? What if a little opportunity like that is waiting to be gambled upon from this current Carlisle United squad?

Experience is often aligned with reliability in a coach’s eye. Going with what they know, though, has led the Blues into their present predicament.

So how about, instead of consolidating with those who offer familiarity, they gave uncertainty a spin? ‘Playing the kids’ need not just be a knee-jerk wish voiced by those sick of what they’re seeing.

It can refresh a present, overhanging mood. It can tilt a fan’s thoughts towards forgiveness. It can, in certain circumstances, make things better.

Keith Millen, speaking after last weekend’s FA Cup win over Horsham, was keen to praise the industry of Lewis Alessandra and Tristan Abrahams, who started the game before going off at the hour mark.

News and Star: Brad Young, left, scored the vital opening goal against Horsham last weekend. Is it time for the teenager to start in the league? (photo: Barbara Abbott)Brad Young, left, scored the vital opening goal against Horsham last weekend. Is it time for the teenager to start in the league? (photo: Barbara Abbott)

Their replacements, Brad Young and Sam Fishburn, were widely credited by fans with getting victory in the can. Fishburn, 17, put himself about eagerly while Young, 18, supplied the opening goal and laid on the second for Zach Clough.

Millen felt that the older pair, through their effort and commitment to instruction, had tired the Horsham defence and set the stage for the young bucks to win it.

Maybe so. Maybe he was also giving a couple of players extra kindness at a time criticism is biting and at a stage he needs to be as constructive as possible with a fragile group.

But the facts are still plain: it was the kids (with Taylor Charters a third positive young sub) who got things done at the time United were contemplating a replay in Sussex and another few days of supporter reproach.

Millen, afterwards, spoke of the balancing task needed when exposing young players to the heat of a predicament like United’s. “These lads have got great futures in the game,” he said. “I have to be careful to protect them a little bit, because we are in a sensitive situation at the moment. But sometimes young players haven’t got that fear; they’re not carrying that burden of responsibility and they can just go out there and play.”

And if, when they play, they play better than those who were imagined to be safer bets, then Millen will know that the protecting will need to be reconsidered, at least to a degree.

Young, with a smartly-taken goal, did what others could not. Fishburn, by all accounts, is one of the club’s better finishers in training and is a maturing figure after his recent loan at Lancaster.

Carlisle, this far in, have tried other options and combinations without any sort of success. Gambling on youth in a dogfight might feel like a risk. But not doing so could be riskier still.