Carlisle United 0 Dundee United 2: Carlisle produced a lacklustre display as they were well beaten in their final pre-season friendly at Brunton Park.

Dundee United were stronger and sharper than Paul Simpson's side throughout and deserved their victory thanks to first-half goals from Louis Moult and Glenn Middleton.

Carlisle created very little and looked sorely in need of the extra attacking threat which new signing Sean Maguire will hopefully provide.

It was an underwhelming end to their pre-season programme with the new League One season just a week away.

Moult scored from close range in the 32nd minute with Middleton pouncing for a second in the 43rd minute as Jim Goodwin's visitors had much the better of things.

Carlisle came close with an Owen Moxon free-kick but otherwise did very little to trouble the Terrors' back line.

Simpson included Fin Back in his side for the first time since the wing-back's loan return from Nottingham Forest.

It was his first Brunton Park outing since last November, while Sam Lavelle got his home debut in a strong-looking Carlisle XI.

There was no place in the squad, though, for new striker signing Maguire - he watched the game from the stand hours after completing his move on a one-year deal - while Jack Robinson and Dan Butterworth were not in the squad - and nor was trialist keeper Dan Langley, whose time with the Blues appears to have come to an end.

Goodwin's side included debutant defender Declan Gallagher as they faced the Blues a week before the start of their own league campaign, the Terrors having already been in competitive action in the Viaplay Cup this month.

News and Star: Sean Maguire watches from the standSean Maguire watches from the stand (Image: Barbara Abbott)

And it was the visitors who made much the brighter start, testing Carlisle early on and having particular joy down the left.

Mathew Cudjoe saw an early attempt saved by Tomas Holy before a corner fell to Scott McMann, whose shot on the turn was blocked.

Carlisle looked to respond on the counter-attack, Jordan Gibson - starting in attack alongside Ryan Edmondson - seeing an effort blocked, but Dundee United should have scored when Cudjoe's shot deflected to the far post, but the arriving Moult could only hit the upright, the ball ricocheting off Owen Moxon and behind.

Goodwin's side broke at United again on 16 minutes when Moult drove through, the striker going down under Mellish's slide but referee Anthony Backhouse declining to penalise the challenge as the ball drifted to Cudjoe.

Middleton was a regular outlet for the Terrors on the left but Carlisle had a better spell midway through the half, Back to the fore down the attacking right.

He ran onto an Alfie McCalmont pass in a good position but miscued his cross, before Ryan Edmondson failed to head a Gibson cross on target.

More neat work by Back opened up further opportunities with crosses that Dundee United just about survived.

But the improvement was short-lived as the visitors hit back to open the scoring.

Another attack saw the ball break between Back and McMann and, after the visiting player got the better of a 50-50 challenge, he fired the ball across the box and Moult was behind the defence and in acres to tap home at the right-hand post.

News and Star: Fin Back on his comeback appearanceFin Back on his comeback appearance (Image: Barbara Abbott)

It was a deserved lead and challenged Carlisle to offer more firepower than they had so far shown.

An equaliser almost came via a Moxon free-kick, but his 30-yard curler in the 41st minute was tipped behind by an athletic Jack Walton save.

And the visitors then struck again shortly before half-time, Cudjoe breaking down the right, a cross headed airborne by McCalmont and, when Holy spilled the ball after trying to claim it against a visiting player, it broke for Middleton to drill home.

Carlisle appealed for a foul against their keeper but Backhouse let the goal stand and the Blues reached half-time in need of much more attacking threat, as well as plugging those gaps which the visitors exposed with their goals.

For the second half, Simpson sent on Joe Garner for McCalmont and moved Jon Mellish up from defence into midfield, while an early change in the half for the visitors saw Ross Graham replace Kevin Holt.

They almost added a third when, after more dangerous work by Cudjoe, McMann took aim outside the box, but Holy got behind the shot.

Craig Sibbald then drilled a shot against the post before the offside flag went up, Dundee United continuing to impress with the diminutive Cudjoe a regular danger, Middleton and Moult having further half-chances as they got behind Carlisle's defence.

The hosts' own threat remained largely non-existent, the Blues' attacking efforts sorely lacking pace and presence. After a triple visiting substitution, Simpson made four changes, Dylan McGeouch getting a home debut as Taylor Charters, Jayden Harris and Jack Ellis also came on.

But it was Dundee United who continued to threaten, a Holy save from Tony Watt denying them a third after Sibbald had threaded the frontman into space in the box.

Six visiting substitutions then came ahead of the last 15 minutes, Harris almost forcing a chance and Gibson seeing a late shot blocked from a rare Blues opening, as they signed off in low-key fashion ahead of the big kick-off against Fleetwood Town next Saturday.

Carlisle: Holy, Lavelle, Huntington, Mellish (Harris 65), Back (Ellis 65), Armer, Guy (McGeouch 65), Moxon, McCalmont (Garner 46), Gibson, Edmondson (Charters 65). Not used: Breeze, Whelan, Kilsby, Barclay.

Dundee United: Walton (Newman 64), Holt (Graham 47), McMann (Denham 72), Grimshaw (MacLeod 72), Sibbald (Glass 72), Middleton, Docherty (Freeman 64), Cudjoe (Thomson 72), Gallagher (Duffy 72), Watt (O’Donnell 72), Moult (Meekison 64).

Goals: Moult 32, Middleton 43.

Ref: Anthony Backhouse.

Crowd: 2,853 (738 Dundee United fans).