An early goal set the tone at Fratton Park as Portsmouth continued their run of good home form at the expense of a Carlisle side which left itself with a mountain to climb.
Portsmouth gave themselves a dream start when good work from Storey took him into the box early in the game. His exchange with Hollands brought a well hit shot and Craig Westcarr reacted quickly to pounce on a parry from Hanford. The keeper was stranded as the ball smashed into the back of his net.
Carlisle tried to respond when they moved the ball forward quickly and Brough found space when he went on the overlap. He struck a powerful effort but a touch from the defender took it just wide of the upright.
United had good spells but the home side peppered the box with crosses as they asserted some authority in the final third. Westcarr was a thorn and he created space for himself when he trapped the ball with his back to goal. A spin brought a snapshot which Hanford was grateful to receive.
Holmes tried his luck from 30 yards when he went past Potts in midfield but Anderson got in the way with a header which momentarily took the danger away. The set piece delivery was a good one and Grainger had to block as Wallace went for a toe poke.
Portsmouth went close again on 19 minutes when a ball over the top put them four against two on the left hand side. Hollands nodded the deep cross back into the mix and Wallace was frustrated as his follow up efforts were twice blocked by Meppen-Walter.
A free kick gave United an opportunity to get men forward and Grainger spotted Potts in space. His first touch was superb but his hurried volley rose high over the bar. Another cross from the left flank had Beck interested but Devera had tracked back to make a vital touch just before the big striker could make his mark.
The hosts broke quickly from the resulting corner and Westcarr used pace to turn defence into attack. His pass to Storey was inch perfect and a deft first touch was followed by a crunching volley which whistled into the roof of the net.
Portsmouth utilised breaks from their own half to good effect and they almost notched another when Westcarr ran away from White. The ball eventually came to Hollands but his effort was stopped at source by Grainger. Anderson did the same as Holmes stretched to make it his.
More pace from Wallace got him to the byline as United struggled to slow things down but he was disappointed when his cross sailed high.
Sloppy defending brought yet another corner for the hosts and Hollands was ready to celebrate as his header flew past Hanford. Anderson stopped it with his chest and it was relief all round when White got enough on the Devera volley to divert it away.
The home side finished the half on the attack and a lobbed Robinson header dropped just over when he bustled his way onto a Shorey delivery. And Miles Storey went close to bagging his second of the day when he found the ball at his feet at close range. He lost his balance and United were able to hook it clear as Wallace tried to get in on the action.
The second half lacked the goal mouth action seen before the break but a cross from Amoo had fellow substitute Derek Asamoah interested as he adjusted his body and went for an overhead kick. He didn't quite meet the flight of the ball and it bobbled harmlessly away.
Persistence in the box was made to pay for Portsmouth on 75 minutes when Anderson twice blocked from thundering volleys from Storey and Wallace. The bodies stayed forward and captain Danny Hollands sat deep before sweeping an unstoppable crunching drive past Hanford.
A misunderstanding in the United box had Hanford and his back line scrambling but a recovery and a quick clearance put Beck in a good position. He got his shot away but a half block made it easy for Jones.
A late strong challenge from White earned him a straight red card as the afternoon went from bad to worse for Carlisle and a set piece failed to raised spirits as Portsmouth closed ranks to hold onto their prize.
Portsmouth - Westcarr (2), Storey (26), Hollands (74)
Portsmouth - Hollands (45), Tarbuck (90)
United - Grainger (62), Potts (81), Marrow (90)
Sent off - White (90)
Portsmouth - Jones, Wynter, Robinson, Devera, Shorey, Wallace (Close 88), Dunne, Hollands, Holmes, Storey (Tarbuck 81), Westcarr (Taylor 79). Subs - Poke, Ertl, Butler, Atangana.
Carlisle United - Hanford, White, Meppen-Walter (Robson 46), Anderson, Grainger, Potts, Marrow, Dempsey, Brough (Amoo 63), Beck, Iliev (Asamoah 46). Subs - Eccles, Sweeney, Dicker, Symington.
Referee - Mr Chris Sarginson
Attendance - 15,533 (347 away fans)