Quickfire goals sink the Blues
A much better performance wasn't enough to bring United the home victory they are currently striving to achieve as Doncaster struck twice in the first half to give themselves a two-goal cushion and ultimately an impressive seventh away victory of the campaign.
An early attack from Carlisle showed promise when a free kick from Berrett was only half cleared. Symington sent it to the back post but Matt Robson could only stab it wide as he came under pressure.
The Cumbrians kept pushing forward as they disrupted the Rovers midfield play but the evening started to unravel with less than 15 minutes on the clock when determined work from Hume brought a corner. Cotterill whipped it in and Rob Jones did the rest as he shrugged off the attentions of Danny Livesey to power the ball into the back of the net.
A slip from Chantler moments later allowed Hume to bear down on goal and he twisted on the edge of the box to create some space. His grass cutter had Collin beaten but it bounced back off the base of the post and away to safety.
The lead was doubled with the very next attack though when the imaginative Hume made space for Cotterill. He took two paces before curling an unstoppable beauty into the top corner with the Carlisle defence looking for someone to blame.
A free kick from Cotterill flew straight at Collin as Doncaster tried to push home their advantage but the home side regrouped as they went in search of a route back into the game.
Keeper Gary Woods was almost caught out when a lofted cross from Symington dipped dramatically and it needed quick feet for him to be able to readjust and tip it over the bar.
Mark Beck then opted to try and cushion a header into the path of the onrushing Joe Garner, only to see a defender scoop it away, and he had the best home chance of the half when he rose highest to meet a Symington cross from the right flank. His downward header had power but Gary Woods shifted his feet and dropped onto it in comfort.
The lively Dave Symington was left with his head in his hands when he tried one from distance. It deflected off Jones and hit the woodwork on its way to bouncing to safety behind the goal.
Carlisle showed flashes after the break without quite managing to build up a real head of steam, and Symington came to the fore as he tried a shot at almost every opportunity.
Chris Chantler almost notched a goal from nothing when he smashed the ball clear from inside his own half. It bounced just in front of Woods and had to retreat quickly to prevent it from creeping in beneath his crossbar.
Joe Garner rifled the ball into the side netting as he latched onto a lobbed header from Beck, and the pressure was made to tell when Dave Symington unleashed a wonderful strike. He took charge of a 35-yard free kick and left the keeper with no chance as he crunched it into the roof of the net with an extremely sweet right-footed strike.
But the wind was whipped out of the sails of the Cumbrian fight back when a free kick from deep caused confusion as it entered the box. It took a touch of Symington to wrong-foot Collin and Tommy Spurr stole in to find the empty net.
Doncaster relaxed with their two-goal cushion restored and picked up their fourth consecutive away win to leave Carlisle feeling frustrated, but with plenty to work with as they head towards an important game at the weekend.
“We were better tonight and we have to thank the fans for the way they supported us,” manager Greg Abbott said.
“They were behind us all the way and we’re just so disappointed that we didn’t get anything for them. We showed spirit but we’ve conceded two goals within the space of five minutes, and we’ve made it hard for ourselves again.
"I know we can turn this round and I’m going to keep doing the things I believe in to get us out of this. We will work hard and we will turn it round because we know we have the squad to do this for us. We just need a little bit of luck or something to go for us and the confidence will come.”
United - Symington (66)
Donny - Jones (14), Cotterill (18), Spurr (76)
United - Garner (33)
Rovers - Cotterill (44)
Carlisle United - Collin, Simek, Livesey, Edwards, Chantler, Symington, Potts, Berrett, Robson, Beck, Garner (Higginbotham 81). Subs - Gillespie, McGovern, Welsh, Noble, Todd, McGinty.
Doncaster Rovers - Gary Woods, Husband, Jones (Martis 46), Martin Woods, Paynter (Syres 75), Cotterrill, Spurr, Hume (Brown 69), Griffin, Harper, Keegan. Subs - Blake, Michael Woods, Maxted, Ball.
Referee - Mark Brown
Attendance - 3,229 (188 away fans)