Jack Muldoon’s early strike was cancelled out by Mark Beck's own goal with 15 minutes remaining as Town were forced to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw this afternoon at Brunton Park.
It was a Town performance full of energy and attacking intent and the result must have left Simon Weaver scratching his head as to how his side failed to come with all three points.
There was just one change to the Town line-up with Dan Jones returning from the injury that kept him out of the side that went down to a 3-0 defeat at home to Oldham in midweek.
The hosts made two changes to their starting eleven with skipper Nick Anderton and Offrande Zanzala coming in for Rod McDonald and Omari Patrick.
It was Town who made the early running when Jon Stead won a free-kick after getting the better of his market. The delivery from George Thomson was met by the head of Will Smith but his effort was narrowly over the bar.
Stead then had the ball in the net on eight minutes when he latched onto Muldoon’s flick and rounded the keeper to slot home. However, following a lengthy discussion between referee Sarginson and assistant the goal was ruled out for an infraction, much to the chagrin over the Town players and coaching staff.
Town quickly put the frustration to one side though when Muldoon chased an apparent lost cause down the Carlisle left, muscled the defence to one side and coolly slotted home from the narrowest of angles.
With their tails up, Town were now in rampaging from and a wonderful move between Josh McPake and Thomson saw the winger deliver a menacing low cross to the near post that only a last gasp effort from the home defence prevented it reaching the onrushing Stead.
Carlisle’s game plan was clear, get the ball forward early and very direct but the Town defence was solid in its response, although a Warren Burrell under hit back pass almost left Joe Cracknell short but the Town keeper recovered the danger to maintain the advantage.
Callum Guy went into the book for the hosts for pulling back Josh Falkingham and less than a minute later Jack Armer found himself in similar trouble for denying Stead.
On the stroke of half-time McPake’s surging run took him deep into the home box with his effort cleared for a corner, the move emblematic of the style and substance to Town’s play in the opening half.
Such was Town’s dominance that Chris Beech made a triple change at half-time in order to turn things around. Off game Armer, Joe Riley and Lewis Alessandra with trio replaced by Omari Patrick, Rhys Bennett and Ethan Walker.
Town continued where they had left off though with Stead heavily involved in a move that saw Lloyd Kerry’s cross to the far post scrambled clear.
Having shook things up at half-time there was a shift in the home sides approach. Substitute Walker was proving to be a threat down the left-hand side and his dangerous cross had to be headed behind by Warren Burrell.
Town the responded with a Stead shot from the edge of the area but his strike lacked the pace to test Farman in the home goal. It was the forward’s final act of the game as he was replaced by Mark Beck on 65 minutes.
McPake then had a penalty claim waved away after he went down under a challenge from Aaron Hayden.
Muldoon then whipped in a powerful cross that Beck wonderfully controlled, but he couldn’t force his way past his marker t get a shot away.
With 15 minutes remaining though the hosts pulled level. Beck inadvertently heading home Guy’s free-kick past Cracknell to see up a tense finale with the hosts sensing the chance to fire themselves back into the playoff shake-up.
Cracknell put his body on the line to punch away the danger following another spell of Carlisle pressure and with the ninety minutes almost up Town had a huge stroke of luck when Burrell sliced a clearance on to his own crossbar.
It would have been harsh on Town though had they been on the losing side following the performance over the 90 minutes and both sides were left to settle for a point apiece.
Carlisle United: Farman, Tanner, Anderton, Hayden, Riley (Walker, 45), Guy, Alessandra (Patrick, 45), Zanzala (Scott, 87), Mellish, Kayode, Armer (Bennett, 45).
Subs not used: Norman, Devine, Toure.
Booked: Guy (39), Armer (40)
Goal: Beck OG (74)
Harrogate Town: Cracknell, Burrell, Jones, Smith, Hall, Thomson, Falkingham, Kerry, McPake, Stead (Beck, 65), Muldoon.
Subs not used: Belshaw, Fallowfield, Kiernan, Francis, Williams.
Goal: Muldoon (11)
Referee: Christpher Sarginson.