Wanderers missed out on a hat-trick of League One wins as Carlisle came from behind to take the points back north on an afternoon of frustration at the Toughsheet Community Stadium, writes Pete Oliver.
The Whites had led through a Jon Mellish own-goal but couldn’t press home their advantage as their recent exertions with an injury-hit squad appeared to take their toll.
Carlisle levelled by the break with their second penalty of the afternoon and then after going ahead with a deflected strike 20 minutes from time bravely made the most of their good fortune to secure a first away win of the season as Jordan Gibson completed his hat-trick in injury time.
Wanderers dominated possession as they looked for a late leveller but never really found top gear and even the chance of snatching a late point was denied them when Carlisle broke away to confirm a second home defeat of the campaign who still head into their international break in the top six.
The Whites had the fit-again Victor Adeboyejo back on starting duty and the striker caused one of two early problems for the visitors, with Carlisle captain Sam Lavelle picking up an early booking for pulling back the Wanderers’ frontman.
The first real threat, though, came from the Cumbrians as full-back Fin Back cut in to let fly with a long-range effort which brought out a fine save from Nathan Baxter after a quarter of an hour.
Backed by an excellent away following, Carlisle were never going to come and lie down but short of the half-hour mark they were picked off for the first time as Wanderers went in front.
Will Forrester unlocked the defence with a lovely through-ball for Josh Dacres-Cogley to fire over the perfect low cross which Mellish – with birthday boy Dion Charles waiting behind him to pounce – thundered into his own net.
Wanderers sensed the chance to go for the kill and immediately had the chance of a second goal as George Thomason broke superbly from midfield but then missed his kick as he met a return pass from Randell Williams.
And Carlisle should have made the most of that let-off with a chance to equalise with their first penalty 10 minutes before the break.
Wanderers were disappointed to see Kyle Dempsey penalised after seemingly winning the ball in a challenge on Sean Maguire but Baxter again stood firm as he held his ground just long enough to make a fine save with his legs to deny Joe Garner.
Baxter was needed again with a sharp stop at his near post from Maguire before the rampaging Dacres-Cogley combined with Josh Sheehan before lashing a shot just over the top as Wanderers tried to take control by the break.
Instead, it was Carlisle who struck next to take the sides in level as they made the most of a second spot-kick.
Eoin Toal mis-judged the flight of the ball into the penalty area but certainly didn’t appear to handle deliberately as it dropped onto an arm.
Carlisle weren’t complaining, though, and Gibson this time took responsibility as he drilled the ball past Baxter to make it 1-1 and leave Wanderers to do it all again.
But with the Whites struggling to find their zip, it was the Blues who also had the next chance as Baxter again came to Wanderers’ rescue, spreading himself to make an excellent block from Maguire after he had raced clear.
Wanderers needed a response and it came as Forrester threatened from a corner and then Charles just failed to squeeze the ball in after Dempsey had done well deliver a cross spilled by United keeper Tomas Holy.
But it was far from one-way traffic as the better openings continued to come Carlisle’s way as Maguire was again denied by Baxter, who this time flung himself to his right to make another top-class save.
The Cumbrians were then happy to drop deep, soak up growing pressure and try to strike on the break and with 20 minutes to go they went in front.
Gibson was again the goalscorer with an effort that took a deflection before looping high and beyond Baxter, who was this time powerless to keep the ball out.
Evatt was preparing to make a further change and it proved to be a double switch as Dan Nlundulu and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson were both introduced to try and add to the goal threat.
And there was almost an instant impact from Bodvarsson as Zac Ashworth helped the ball into the path of the striker who steered a chance from a tight angle across the face of goal.
Wanderers camped themselves in the Carlisle half but against a wall of blue shirts there were no obvious routes to an equaliser.
Such was their desperation to try and turn possession into a goal Baxter went up for a corner with a couple of minutes to go which Carlisle cleared for Gibson to break away and complete an afternoon he won’t forget.
Wanderers: Baxter; Forrester, Toal, Iredale; Thomason (Morley 55); Dacres-Cogley, Sheehan, Dempsey (Nlundulu 74), Williams (Ashworth, 63); Charles, Adeboyejo (Bodvarsson 74). Substitutes: Coleman, Jerome, Matheson.
Carlisle United: Holy; Back, Lavelle, Mellish, Armer; Guy, Moxon (Harris 89); Maguire (Ablade 69), McCalmont, Gibson; Garner (Plange 89). Substitutes: Andresson, Edmondson, Whelan, Robinson.
Booked: Lavelle, McCalmont
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge
Attendance: 23,187 (4,407 away)