Away day specialists York City leapfrogged Carlisle United in the table as they hit their hosts at crucial stages of the game to suck the wind out of the sails of what had been an uplifting festive campaign.
United started well and they won the first corner of the day when Amoo tangled with Ilesanmi on the right wing. The delivery from Dempsey screamed for a touch but it was just too high for Beck.
Amoo was the catalyst for the next attack as he went past one in midfield and his cut back for Brown brought a neat first time cross. Beck got there but Cisak was alert and he claimed the looping header just beneath the bar.
York calmed things down in midfield and a patient build up put Hyde in space. He went for a shot on the turn which was always heading wide.
The visitors started to look dangerous and Hyde found unexpected space when a dipping corner was only half cleared. He went for the bottom corner and it needed a touch from Hanford to send it into the side netting.
The Minstermen grew in confidence and McCoy found Fletcher with a near post ball as he burst into the box. It was a good connection but Hanford was able to gather.
Another wicked cross from the right had Fletcher on the move and Meppen-Walter got a vital touch to send the glanced header over the bar.
It was all about defending for the hosts and Hanford was relieved when he got under the flight of a whipped set piece. His touch was just enough to take it away from the advancing strikers.
The Cumbrians showed in flashes as crosses from Potts and Amoo tested Lowe, but Coulson reasserted some York authority when he wound his way into the box. Meppen-Walter watched him all the way and his block prevented Hyde from finishing it off.
Penn sent a warning when he pulled another shot wide from distance but the Minstermen grabbed the lead their play deserved when Carson was left unmarked during another incisive period of play. A deflection from a cross-shot took the ball into his path and he controlled his downward volley to rifle it back across the face of goal and into the bottom corner.
Fletcher could have doubled the lead in time added on as York worked a path to the edge of the box. The striker rattled his shot well but it rose just too high and fizzed over the angle of post and bar.
Manager Keith Curle went for a double substitution at the break, as Hammell and Rigg replaced Potts and Amoo, but it was York who picked up where they had left off when Summerfield found Fletcher with a near post delivery. He bent low to get to the header but he curled it over the bar.
Carson was wild with a poor shot when he cut in from the right, but York settled into a pattern of sitting deep as they stifled the play to keep United at arm's length.
Beck sent a downward header at Cisak as Carlisle tried to get their game going but Meppen-Walter had to block from Fletcher, and then again from Coulson, as York started to turn the screw.
And the away work was rewarded when Luke Summerfield bided his time before stepping onto a loose ball which had bobbled out of the area. His accurate 25-yard strike left Hanford with no chance as it rattled off the woodwork and over the line.
York added their third from absolutely nowhere on 81 minutes when Coulson was allowed to reach another loose ball as it ran free at a tight angle. The determined wide man shrugged his way past Symington and appeared to surprise Hanford with a blistering shot which flew into the top corner.
York - Carson (44), Summerfield (68), Coulson (81)
United - Dempsey (80)
Carlisle United - Hanford, Brown, Anderson, Meppen-Walter, Grainger, Amoo (Hammell 46), Potts (Rigg 46), Sweeney (Symington 79), Dempsey, Beck, Asamoah. Subs - Eccles, Thirlwell, Brough, O'Hanlon.
York City - Cisak, McCoy, Ilesanmi, Coulson, Summerfield, Fletcher (Morris 76), Penn (Montrose 86), Lowe, Carson (Meikle 84), Zubar, Hyde. Subs - Mooney, McCombe, Platt.
Referee - Mr Geoff Eltringham
Attendance - 5,716 (592 away fans)