A goal just before the break took the wind out of the Carlisle sails as Shrewsbury held onto their lead as the visitors continue to wait for their first league victory of the season.
A long ball out of the Salop defence left Grainger and Clark in a race for possession and the home man went free and clear when he got a toe to the ball. His cross found Akpa Akpro on the stretch but the big striker couldn't keep his volley down.
Shrewsbury attacked sporadically as United packed the midfield but they found a way through on 8 minutes when Collins controlled it with his back to goal. He found Grandison on the overlap and a neat pass through legs put Clark clean through. He tried to place his shot but Gillespie was equal to the task.
United went close when Danny Grainger took charge of a 30-yard free kick with only three men in the wall. He caught it well and Leutwiler was relieved to see it skip past his upright.
The Shrews went on an immediate counter attack and a Collins snapshot had Gillespie scrambling as it spun up off the surface. A free kick from a tight angle had Carlisle worried again when Brough nodded a half clearance into the air. Clark was there to meet it but his cleanly struck volley whisked just wide of the mark.
Collins and Akpa Akpro started to link well up front and a flick from the big number 9 put his lively strike partner into a good area. A back flick invited a cross and Collins was unlucky was his header on the run dropped over the bar.
More good home pressure followed and Wesolowski was on hand to take a Thirlwell clearance into his stride. He struck his volley well but it was always rising high. Wesolowski, Mangan and Collins all wasted chances as they shot into the stands from outside the area, and hesitancy from Collins allowed Thirlwell to get across and make a block when all the forward had to do was put his boot through the ball.
The Salop dominance was finally made to tell just before the break when a throw in routine brought a deep cross to the back stick. Jermaine Grandison was left all alone and he was able to pick his spot with a calm headed finish.
United looked up for it after the break but their bad luck was summed up when a Gillies cross was blocked on the line as Dicker tried to squeeze it. Paynter followed up but his stabbed effort struck a thigh and cannoned away to safety off the underside of the bar.
Andy Mangan showed skill when the ball dropped out of the air as the Shrews edged forward but his volley was squeezed away by strong work from Symington. Akpa Akpro took over but he lost balance and curled a weak attempt right at Gillespie.
The hosts went close again when Akpa Akpro sent a searching ball to the near post. Collins timed his run to meet it and it needed a good save from Gillespie to prevent it from going in.
Mark Ellis made the corner delivery his own and his downward header had the keeper beaten as it angled towards the bottom corner. Dave Symington did well to hold his nerve, and his position, before glancing it away.
The misery was compounded for Carlisle late in the day when captain Paul Thirlwell was shown a second yellow, and that was that as the home side saw the game out to claim their three points.
Shrewsbury - Grandison (43)
United - Dempsey (38), Thirlwell (84 & 89)
Shrewsbury Town - Leutwiler, Grandison, Woods, Ellis, Goldson, Collins (Vincent 76), Wesolowski, Mangan, Knight-Percival, Clark, Akpa Akpro. Subs - Halstead, Demetriou, Vernon, Lawrence, Griffith, Caton.
Carlisle United - Gillespie, Symington, Thirlwell, Grainger, Brough, Dicker (Beck 78), Gillies (Amoo 78), Potts, Sweeney, Paynter (Elliott 68), Dempsey. Subs - Hanford, Rigg, Marriott, Douglas.
Referee - Mr Graham Salisbury
Attendance - 3,833 (142 away fans)