In Carlisle United’s very first game as a Football League club – Accrington Stanley away, August 25, 1928 – they scored three goals.

By and large, since then, it’s something they’ve managed to do at fair intervals.

Except this season, that is.

With five games left in 2021/22, the Cumbrians are in sight of a strange but also, in the context of this campaign, rather telling piece of Blues history.

If they can’t manage three goals in a game against either Walsall, Mansfield Town, Harrogate Town, Stevenage or Bradford City, it will be the first time they’ve completed a league season without doing so at all.

In each campaign, from 1928/9 onwards, they’ve scored three in a match at least once, often a number of times.

Even the truly barren seasons – and there have been a few – have supplied fans with the occasional high-scoring afternoon.

News and Star: United's last three-goal league game was at Leyton Orient last season (photo: Richard Parkes)United's last three-goal league game was at Leyton Orient last season (photo: Richard Parkes)

Not this one, yet. The last time United scored three in the league remains the penultimate weekend of last season, when George Tanner scored at the death in a 3-2 win at Leyton Orient.

In 42 League Two games since then – 41 of them this campaign – it’s been two at the most.

In other words: Carlisle have never quite managed to put their supporters in a state of total comfort when it comes even to those games when they’ve been in firm command.

Now, needless to say nobody will be complaining if Paul Simpson’s side chisel out a 1-0 victory at the Banks’s Stadium tomorrow.

Indeed, if they narrow-win their way to survival in the coming weeks, then very much job done. EFL beaks won’t be poring over the goals-for column to find a way to relegate them.

News and Star: Even United's lowest-scoring team of 1986/7 managed three goals in a gameEven United's lowest-scoring team of 1986/7 managed three goals in a game

Points mean prizes, and Simpson’s six victories – 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 2-1, 2-1, 1-0 – have been just the ticket, likewise that 2-2 draw at Tranmere which tacked another point onto the total.

When we look back on the campaign in the round, though, maybe this little stat, should United attain it, will tell us a little more about the misadventure which led them to the situation that required Simmo’s emergency help.

It’s remarkable enough to think that the most goal-shy of all Carlisle’s teams have still  mustered a few three-goal league afternoons. Even in 1986/7, when they got only 39 league goals all term, they had three of them.

Didn’t keep them in Division Three, alas. But still.

In 1999/2000, another paltry campaign for scoring, they had three three-goal days. Again, their form remained rancid, and the Blues survived on goal difference.

So no - it’s not everything. All the same, when you’re going beyond those sides (and other stragglers like the 1991/2 mob) in at least one bad respect, it points to something having not been quite right over the course of a campaign.

News and Star: Paul Simpson has brought about crucial improvement at United, whatever their goals return (photo: Barbara Abbott)Paul Simpson has brought about crucial improvement at United, whatever their goals return (photo: Barbara Abbott)

That, it’s safe to say, goes back to an extremely faulty summer of attacking recruitment, which led the Blues to those sorely-needed January deals, followed by the general improvements Simpson has overseen.

United’s ability to win games from a position of no form renders the manager’s work remarkable to date. With eight goals since January, Omari Patrick can’t be said to have let the side down in terms of scoring. Jordan Gibson’s eight from midfield is respectable too.

So we’ll not get bogged down too deeply in this, not least if safety is indeed sewn up in the very near future.

Would still be nice, though, to be treated to just one prolific day before this latest adventure is over – just to remember what it feels like.

READ MORE: CUOSC: How Carlisle United board and fans can pull out the stops to convince Simmo to stay