Fleetwood Town 0 Carlisle United 1: A last-minute goal from striker Sam Fishburn got Carlisle United’s Central League Cup campaign off to a winning start.

The teenager, on as a substitute in the second half, turned home a Jack Stretton cross to hand the Blues’ reserves victory.

Fishburn, who has been on loan with Blyth Spartans in recent weeks, was involved in the United squad and struck after coming off the bench in the 53rd minute.

It was the 18-year-old’s first goal of the campaign and came on a day United gave game time to the likes of Duncan Idehen, Taylor Charters, Sonny Hilton and Jack Ellis.

Teenage goalkeeper Gabe Breeze impressed with a series of good saves, while Stretton had a host of chances to open his Blues account.

United also fielded a number of youth players with Ryan Carr, Kai Nugent, Nic Bollado, Will Maddison and Mason Hardy in the starting XI and others including Sam Hetherington impressing off the bench.

The game at Fleetwood’s Poolfoot Farm training complex was watched by the home club’s first-team manager, former Celtic and Scotland star Scott Brown.

United assistant manager Gavin Skelton was at the helm for the visitors against the home side’s Under-23s, coached by Stephen Crainey.

Carlisle, captained by Ellis, lined up in a 4-3-3 system which saw Charters at left-back, Idehen and Ellis in the centre and Maddison at right-back, in front of a midfield of Hilton, Carr and Nugent, with Hardy, Bollado and Stretton in attack.

Fleetwood had the better of the opening stages as the Blues took time to settle, with former Colchester United midfielder Brendan Wiredu influential early on.

He almost chipped a team-mate through in the sixth minute but Breeze was alert in coming off his line.

After Hardy had tested home keeper Tom Donaghy, Wiredu was then denied by a goalline Ellis clearance.

The game had its feisty moments and Fleetwood defender Connor Teale appeared fortunate to escape with a yellow card when he seemed to strike United frontman Stretton.

Wiredu then caught Charters with a late challenge.

The home side had the lion’s share of first-half possession and Danny Edwards fired just wide from the left of goal.

Breeze then excelled with a smart reaction save to deny Will Russ, before keeping out another attempt by Kyle White.

United then fashioned some good chances late in the half, firstly when Charters spotted Stretton’s run to the left of goal, but the Derby County loan man steered his shot across goal and wide.

Minutes later Stretton broke clear of the Fleetwood defence but failed to beat Donaghy, Nugent’s follow-up attempt denied by a defensive block.

The early stages of the second half then saw both sides hit the woodwork – first when Breeze tipped a Russ finished against the post, and then when Bollado headed a Nugent cross against the upright.

Fishburn and Matty Bell then replaced Hardy and Nugent for the Blues, with Fleetwood’s combative Wiredu finally into the book for a foul on Hilton.

Carlisle used the width of the pitch well as the game went on, a Charters cross finding its way to Hilton at the back post and the Fulham loanee forcing a save from the home keeper.

Danny Edwards fired wide for the home side and Carr did well to prevent Russ finishing another chance.

Stretton then passed up his third good chance of the game, put through by an excellent Hilton pass ten minutes from time but the striker again denied by Donaghy.

Breeze kept United level when he parried a Josh Edwards cross and, after sub Pharrell Brown shot over from a good position for Fleetwood, Carlisle broke to win it late on.

Hetherington, on at right-back for the closing stages, did well before Stretton went past his man and, when his low cross evaded defenders, Fishburn poached it home.

Carlisle could even have had a second in added time but Bollado was denied by the keeper.

United will also face Accrington Stanley and Blackpool in their Central League Cup group.

United: Breeze, Maddison (Hetherington 76), Charters (Hill 73), Idehen, Ellis, Carr, Nugent (M Bell 53), Hilton, Hardy (Fishburn 53), Bollado, Stretton. Not used: Kelly.