Wigan Athletic 2 Carlisle United 1: A brilliant Jayden Harris goal was Carlisle’s consolation in a Central League Cup defeat at Wigan.

The midfielder caught the eye with a stunning left-footed strike from outside the box in the 75th minute.

It was not, though, enough for the Blues to find a way back in the reserve game at Wigan’s Christopher Park training ground.

United – who gave fit-again Dylan McGeouch 73 minutes but lost Ben Barclay to a second-half knock – were level at the break but conceded twice in quick succession after the break to Chris Sze and Josh Magennis.

Harris halved the deficit but the Cumbrians were unable to complete their comeback in the Group C game.

Carlisle used the game to give game time to a host of first-team squad members including Ryan Edmondson, Dan Butterworth, Corey Whelan, Taylor Charters, Jack Robinson, Gabe Breeze and Kai Nugent.

Among those not involved were strikers Terry Ablade and Joe Garner, while Wigan fielded a strong XI which included Northern Ireland international forward Magennis and ex-Carlisle loan keeper Ben Amos.

United, with assistant manager Gavin Skelton in charge, forced the better early openings with Cumbrian midfielders Charters and Nugent off target with attempts in the first 15 minutes.

At the other end Barcley did well to intercept a dangerous Latics cross as Whelan then stepped in to deny the dangerous Jonny Smith.

News and Star: Gavin Skelton speaks to Carlisle's players after the gameGavin Skelton speaks to Carlisle's players after the game (Image: Jon Colman)

Carlisle, in a 4-3-3 system, were competitive but clear-cut chances were scarce at both ends, while the Blues’ high defensive line caught Stephen Crainey’s Wigan side offside on a number of occasions.

Late in the first half keeper Breeze denied Sze and Smith, with Magennis also rifling wide and Robinson impressively thwarting a Smith run, whilst Nugent, for Carlisle, fired over the bar when a corner reached him.

Harris was walking a tightrope after a 28th-minute booking for a foul while Carlisle, early in the second half, went close through Butterworth before Barclay went off hurt on 54 minutes.

Youth team defender Jake Allan took his place and went to right-back as captain Ellis moved to the centre of defence.

Sze came close for Wigan when his powerful shot hit the underside of the bar, but the 19-year-old’s finish then saw the hosts open the scoring on 59 minutes.

Charters tested Amos from a free-kick before Magennis, in the 71st minute, swept home Wigan’s second after Breeze had parried Sze’s effort.

McGeouch was replaced by Romeo Park two minutes later, before Carlisle hit back in some style.

First, a Robinson cross from the left went over a backpedalling Amos and struck the crossbar, but Carlisle kept it alive and eventually fed Harris outside the box.

The former Aldershot Town and Fulham man let rip with a shot that crashed into the top left corner of the net via the woodwork.

United, though, could not make the most of their fightback and were grateful to Robinson for blocking a goalbound Josh Stones shot before a diving Breeze denied Sze late on.

Among the Blues contingent at Wigan was head of recruitment Greg Abbott, who fielded a number of calls during the game at a time United are still in the market for a striker. The transfer window is set to close at 11pm on Friday.

United: Breeze, Ellis, Robinson, Whelan, Barclay (Allan 54), McGeouch (Park 73), Charters, Harris, Nugent, Butterworth, Edmondson.

Wigan: Amos, McHugh, Mitchell, Payne, Reilly, Shaw, Balagzi, Jones, Sze, Smith (Stones 46), Magennis (Chentouf 80). Subs: Watson, Lloyd, Adams.