André Villas-Boas's heart probably sank when he learnt about this trip to Cumbria but it turned into a minor triumph for Tottenham Hotspur's head coach.
With a visit to Manchester United looming on Saturday he managed both to rest a raft of key players and to avoid the sort of embarrassing League Cup exit which could have placed his still fledgling regime on the back foot.
Even better, Villas-Boas's understudies did enough to give him a few future selection dilemmas and none more so than Andros Townsend, who capped an eye-catching performance with a fine goal. "He's very good with the ball at his feet," said Villas-Boas's assistant, Steffen Freund, afterwards, adding: "It's nice to see the young players doing so well."
One of the older ones also took his opportunity. Tom Huddlestone's authority, control and incisive interceptions may have got his manager wondering if his lack of pace is the end of the world after all.
Besides this overhaul Villas-Boas also opted for delegation. Dressed down in a tracksuit, he opted to spend much of the first half quietly in the dug-out, leaving most of the technical area arm-waving and finger-pointing to Freund.
If Danny Livesey's clearance off the line from Clint Dempsey denied Freund the chance to punch the air in celebration, Greg Abbott's League One side were showing that they, too, can play a bit.
Abbott's entire squad was assembled for £60,000 but he has recruited cleverly and the attacking combination of Danny Cadamarteri, once of Everton, and Kallum Higginbotham, borrowed from Huddersfield, sporadically stretched Michael Dawson and his defensive colleagues to the limit. On more than one occasion Huddlestone was required to drop back from midfield and make last-ditch interventions.
With Townsend showing glimpses of promise on the right wing Tottenham took such scares in their stride. Yet, even though they moved the ball slickly and smoothly across a pitch which ranks as one of England's finest, there was clear relief among the away contingent when Jan Vertonghen, the visiting left-back for the night, headed Gylfi Sigurdsson's floated delivery beyond Mark Gillespie. Abbott's players had paid the price for Paul Thirlwell's foul on Dempsey and the resulting free-kick which enabled Sigurdsson to show off his dead-ball skills.
Gillespie had been stranded when Vertonghen headed the opener and Carlisle's 20-year-old goalkeeper found himself similarly powerless early in the second half when Townsend's superb low left-foot shot into the bottom corner from just outside the area eluded him.
Abbott responded with a triple substition. It was a big moment for two of the newcomers, Mark Beck and David Symington, a pair fast-tracked from the youth team who earn only £150 a week each.
Creditably Carlisle never gave up but their diligent pressing was ultimately no match for their guests who scored a deserved third when Sigurdsson headed the substitute Kyle Walker's cross past Gillespie to score his first Spurs goal.
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