Carlisle City 1 Carlisle United 1 (2-4 pens): Carlisle United needed a penalty shoot-out to squeeze past Carlisle City in the Fred Conway Cumberland Cup first round.

Jayden Harris sealed a 4-2 shoot-out win in a game watched by United’s prospective new owners, the Piatak family, at Gillford Park.

But they were pushed the distance by a spirited City, who were well worth the draw in normal time after Tom Mahone cancelled out Terry Ablade’s opener.

In the shoot-out that followed, Alfie McCalmont and Jordan Little had their opening efforts saved before Ablade, Rob McCartney and Ryan Edmondson scored for their respective sides.

City’s Kieron Olsen then missed, as Jack Robinson converted for United and, after Jordan Palmer kept the hosts in it, Harris made sure of the visitors’ progress.

It earns United a second round place but it was a far from impressive night from the League One side against their Northern League Division One hosts.

And there was an injury blow for the Blues as Taylor Charters limped off in the first half.

United fielded a host of senior players but they struggled to impose themselves on Jim Nichols’ well-drilled team.

It all unfolded in front of the Piataks, who watched from the stands at a time they are aiming to complete a takeover of the Blues.

Tom Piatak spent time at the game chatting to Paul Simpson, the United boss watching from the stand as Gavin Skelton took charge of the visiting XI, while Piatak’s wife Patty also watched, as did son Tom II and wife Alice, and daughter Jenna and fiancé Nick.

United named a strong side with nine professionals in their starting line-up.

Senior players Edmondson, McCalmont, Harris, Dan Butterworth, Ablade, Charters, Robinson and Jack Ellis all started with young keeper Gabe Breeze also in the line-up.

The team was completed by youth team players Romeo Park and Will Maddison.

City, meanwhile, came into the game off the back of Saturday’s 1-0 FA Vase win at Newcastle Benfield with boss Nichols also naming a strong home line-up.

News and Star: Tom Piatak talks to BBC Radio Cumbria at the City-United gameTom Piatak talks to BBC Radio Cumbria at the City-United game (Image: News & Star)

Despite the visitors’ strong line-up it took United some time to exert any control, with City offering determined opposition.

Dan Kirkup blocked an early Robinson shot and Ablade finished waywardly from a decent position, before the hosts almost replied when Kirkup rose to meet a corner, Breeze smothering the header.

McCartney fired wide on the break for Nichols’ side and later Ellis had to step in to cut out a City through-ball.

McCartney came closer when his low shot was stopped by a diving Breeze, before a brighter United attack ended with Butterworth clearing the bar.

United then suffered the night’s major injury concern when Charters, who started at left wing-back, pulled up when running to reach a ball that had been spread to him on the left.

The west Cumbrian received treatment but did not continue, and was replaced by youth team player Aran Fitzpatrick.

United, having so far toiled for chances, ended the half in sharper form with Butterworth going close from a free-kick and then Ablade grabbing the 41st-minute opener.

They swept down the right and, when Edmondson drilled the ball low to the near post, City’s ex-United keeper Scott Simons could not hold on and Ablade was there to pounce from close range for his first goal in a United shirt.

There was almost a second for Ablade before the break but Simons this time showed good reflexes to turn his attempt around the post.

City, though, needed just seconds of the second half to get back on terms, and Mahone had already gone close before the hosts intercepted United’s play from the back, and the former Cleator Moor Celtic man drilled low past Breeze and beyond retreating defenders into the bottom corner.

This triggered more pressure from an emboldened City, Callum Birdsall getting behind the defence only to see his finish blocked by Ellis.

In lashing second-half rain, Butterworth went close at the other end and Robinson drilled across goal for United, before Sam Atkinson cleared the bar for City.

United grew back into things midway through the half with Harris to the fore, but their creativity was unimpressive as they struggled to find a way back in front, the tie remaining in the balance heading into the closing stages.

Edmondson should then have pounced to make it 2-1, fed by Park on the break but the striker, clean-through, couldn’t finish as his attempt was touched wide by Simons.

For City, Birdsall was a whisker away from converting when Kirkup flicked on a free-kick from home skipper Josh Simpson, nephew of United manager Paul.

Simons then excelled against his former club with a superb late save to tip a goalbound Robinson shot past the post.

An offside flag denied another ex-United man, sub Dan Hill, the chance to tee up an injury-time winner for City, but it remained 1-1 at the final whistle.

Simons saved McCalmont’s opening penalty before Breeze denied Little.

Ablade, McCartney and Edmondson were clinical with their efforts before Olsen’s attempt cleared the crossbar – almost striking the watching Tom Piatak in the stand behind the goal.

Robinson, Palmer and Harris then converted as things ended 2-4 in United’s favour at the Three Rivers Health & Safety Consultancy Stadium.

City: Simons, Little, Olsen, Dickinson, Kirkup, Mahone (Kelly 75), McCartney, Simpson, Atkinson (Palmer 65), Holt, Birdsall (Hill 82). Not used: Gordon, Steele.

Goal: Mahone 46.

United: Breeze, Maddison (Allan 62), Ellis, Robinson, Charters (Fitzpatrick 33), Park, Harris, McCalmont, Butterworth, Edmondson, Ablade. Not used: Barry, Hetherington, Swinburn.

Goal: Ablade 41.

Ref: Scott Henry.