United saved their best to last at Gigg Lane with a late, late Joe Garner equaliser to earn a point from a tough encounter against a Bury side who went hell for leather in search of their first win of the campaign.
"That was an unbelievable first half from Bury and we have really had to earn a point tonight," manager Greg Abbott said. "There was some good football, some awful football and plenty of excitement and we have had to work very, very hard. I thought we defended much better as a team and we have shown a determination to keep going and to get our goal at the other end."
Balls into the box caused problems for United early in the game and a half clearance from Murphy sat nicely in front of Doherty. He stepped forward to shoot and Thirlwell did well to get his body in the way.
Schumacher arrived late to join a move which involved neat play between Hopper and Thompson and it was Murphy who stepped in to block his volley at source.
One touch football on the left flank opened Carlisle up again as Bury camped forward and Poleon was unlucky as he lost his balance and dragged a powerful shot wide.
Poleon was the danger man again when a Thompson cross eluded everyone inside the area. The Leeds loanee held his ground and crunched a fierce first time effort wide when he put his boot through the bouncing ball.
The home side grabbed the lead their play deserved when Doherty and Gillespie went head-to-head to get to a ball over the top. The keeper was out of position when Edwards swiped a half clearance into the path of Worrall, and he fed Thompson who set himself before drilling the ball into the back of the net.
Mark Hughes could have doubled the lead just before half time when he found space at a corner, but he couldn't direct his header on target as he left his markers for dead.
And Hopper missed another gilt-edged opening when a double flick from another set piece took the United defenders out of the game. The big striker waited for it but he couldn't connect as he opted for power over finesse.
A very tight second half had little in the way of clear cut chances with Liam Noble dragging the first long range effort well wide. Worrall crashed a 20-yard shot on the turn over the bar at the other end as the teams cancelled each other out.
United came into the game with wayward efforts from Berrett and Garner, and Bury remained a threat with Murphy needed to clear off the line as an inswinging corner was glanced on by Hopper.
The game sprang into life when Gillespie palmed a stinging Schumacher dipper over the bar, and Carlisle counter attacked with Bury pulling every man back to defend a corner.
They broke quickly as Edwards missed his header and Hopper found himself clean through on goal with a chance to seal the points. Mark Gillespie raced to the edge of his area and executed a perfect diving save to rob the ball as the marauding striker tried to make his way into a shooting position.
And the Cumbrians made Bury pay for the miss as they battled their way into the box. Joe Garner took control and he bided his time before stabbing the ball into the bottom corner to send the fans behind the goal wild.
Bury - Thompson (36)
United - Garner (90)
United - Noble (40), Thirlwell (90), Garner (90)
Bury - Carson, Skarz, Lockwood, Worrall, Schumacher, Bishop, Hughes, Hopper, Doherty, Thompson, Poleon (C Jones 86). Subs - Sweeney, Marshall, Carrington, Sodje, A Jones, Belford.
United - Gillespie, Simek, Edwards, Murphy, Chantler, Noble (Beck 72), Thirlwell, Berrett, Higginbotham (Symington 56), Robson (Welsh 80), Garner. Subs - Collin, Livesey, Potts, Bugno.
Referee - Mr Mark Brown
Attendance - 1,913 (304 away fans)