Carlisle came away from Whaddon Road with much to be pleased about following a determined performance which earned them a thoroughly deserved first point of the season.
Ipswich loanee Jack Marriott was handed a starting place just 24 hours after joining the team at its pre-match training venue and first year defender Matt Douglas was drafted onto the bench as the Cumbrians added Meppen-Walter and Robson to an injury list which already included Archibald-Henville, Amoo and Beck.
Good work from Marriott earned United an early corner and Cheltenham had to work hard to clear it as Dicker and O'Hanlon kept the deep cross alive. The clearance brought a foul on Harrison 25 yards from goal and Hanks went close with a dipping effort which dropped just over the bar.
Marriott showed more potential at the other end when he took the ball on his chest and turned his man. He wriggled clear but his shot from the edge of the box was blocked.
Carlisle looked bright and neat control from Paynter left Potts with half an opening. He went for the volley but Carson was well placed to gather.
United continued to play the better football, with Paynter a constant outlet, and they almost got the goal their play deserved when Potts released Brough on the left. His first cross was blocked but he reacted quickly to poke the loose ball back into the mix. It eventually fell for Marriott and his powerful drive brought a wonderful one-handed save from Carson.
Potts was next to try his luck when he carried the ball forward from midfield. The defender sat deep but he couldn't keep the shot down and it sailed into the stands.
The Robins got forward with purpose on the half hour and Vaughan cut back to create space from the left hand side. Gillespie set himself and pulled the curling shot into his chest.
Confusion at the back from the hosts brought another snapshot from Potts, which Carson comfortably dealt with, and Grainger was disappointed when he smashed a 22 yard free kick just wide of the upright.
Cheltenham came into the game just ahead of the break and Richards tested the stopper with an inswinging free kick which had to be carefully handled. Two corner deliveries followed but United held their shape and saw the spell through.
And they almost took a lead into half time when Marriott shielded it with his back to goal. He used strength to spin his man but Braham-Barrett raced across to get his leg in the way.
Carlisle were first on the attack again after the break and a misplaced Harrison pass allowed Brough to beat his man. He picked out Marriott but a deflection sent his side footed shot away for a corner.
Cheltenham got forward in numbers as they tried to get their game going and Gornell arrived late to head an Elliott cross at the top corner. Gillespie readjusted and plucked it from beneath the bar.
Carlisle edged on top in terms of possession and chances created and Sweeney was unlucky when a Paynter dummy left him in space. Brown scurried over to block and Taylor helped it away.
Gary Dicker was the target when he camped forward during another good spell for the visitors and he went close with a glancing header which whipped across the face of goal.
Another long range Potts effort whisked over the bar as United kept asking questions but the visitors should have taken the lead on 68 minutes when a massive clearance left Marriott one on one with Carson. The keeper won the battle as he spread himself to make the save.
Carlisle were almost made to pay for the miss immediately when Elliott found himself unmarked for an intricate set piece routine. He got the slightest of touches but it dropped just the wrong side of the upright.
Gornell swept a wild shot wide as Cheltenham enjoyed a better spell but United regained the upper hand to keep their hosts penned back. But they were almost undone when Arthur burst through with just minutes left on the clock. He had the width of the goal to aim but he pulled his effort wide when he had men in support.
Arthur had another effort blocked, but it was heartbreak for United when they had a Paynter goal ruled out for offside with almost the last kick of the game.
Cheltenham - Arthur (86)
United - Brough (38), O'Hanlon (71), Dicker (75), Grainger (90)
Cheltenham Town - Carson, Brown, M Taylor, Elliott, Vaughan, J Taylor, Richards, Hanks (Arthur 76), Braham-Barrett, Harrison, Gornell. Subs - Reynolds, Black, Deaman, Haworth, Sterling-James, Dale.
Carlisle United - Gillespie, O'Hanlon, Thirlwell, Grainger, Symington, Sweeney, Dicker, Potts, Brough, Paynter, Marriott (Elliott 82). Subs - Hanford, Kearns, Gillies, Rigg, Dempsey, Douglas.
Referee - Mr Darren Deadman
Attendance - 2,341 (218 away fans)