Report from the Tuesday night fixture
The winning feeling returned to Brunton Park a week before the start of the Cheltenham festival thanks to a fifth goal of the season for Charlie Wyke.
Manager Keith Curle made two changes going into the fixture, with the Blues looking to bounce back from Saturday’s 1-0 loss to promotion chasing Southend United. It was also a big night for local lad Kyle Dempsey as he was handed the captain's armband for the first time.
Keeper Dan Hanford took his place between the sticks and Anthony Griffith came back into the starting 11 in place of Paul Thirlwell. Billy Paynter was also back in the squad, looking to make his first appearance since November.
An energetic start from Carlisle led to the first opening of the game. A good piece of play down the right by Amoo and Dempsey found Wyke with his back to goal. His ball in to Rigg was returned instantly but he couldn’t quite stretch enough and it rolled harmlessly out of play.
Cheltenham responded with a strong run down the right from Wes Burns, but his one-two in the box with Harrad was well read by Archibald-Henville as he came across to deal with the danger.
Carlisle were straight back on the attack and a long ball forward by Hanford caused all sorts of confusion. Steven Rigg was the most alert player and his looping header from just inside the box had Carson backpedaling to tip it over the bar.
A Matt Richards freekick from the left gave the Robins their first real sight of goal when his whipped cross into the area was met by the head of Troy Brown. He connected well but he saw it late and sent it straight at Hanford.
A good piece of skill by Braham-Barrett brought another free kick but Hanford was quickly off his line to punch it away. The clearance was picked up in midfield and a good ball from Dempsey sent Rigg into a good position. He went for an early shot which sailed wide of the upright.
United were denied a penalty when Wyke was manhandled as he tried to make a Dempsey free kick his own but the officials ignored the appeals and stubbornly waved play on. A set piece was the source of the next bout of goalmouth action at the other end as Matt Richards clipped it into the mix. Archibald-Henville nodded it clear and Pablo Mills received a chorus of catcalls as he chested it down before volleying it high into the Warwick Road stand.
Carlisle started to look the more likely and Wyke was nearly through when he found the ball at his feet. Carson raced out to make a vital block but Dempsey was on hand to pick up the momentum. He jinked and twisted, but he couldn't find a way through, and Taylor stepped in to clear before Sweeney arrived on the scene. Captain Kyle Dempsey led by example as he recovered to run the full length of the field and stop Richards in his tracks.
United took the lead when a foul by Eliot Richards gave Brough the chance to deliver from wide. He sent it to the back post and Sweeney did well to head it back across goal just as it appeared to be going out. Charlie Wyke was in the right place at the right time and he steamed in ahead of his marker to slam home his fifth goal of the campaign.
The game settled as the weather conditions worsened but United picked things up again after the break when a strong run from Sweeney brought a corner. Dempsey played it short to Brough and his delivery brought a flick from Wyke which Carson had to drop low to save.
A lengthy stoppage in play gave the players a chance for a breather after a frantic start to the second half. Carlisle continued to control the pace of the game and some persistent work from Sweeney brought a quick exchange of passes with Rigg. Things opened up until Brown stepped across to make a fantastic challenge which brought the move to a close.
Cheltenham were denied an equaliser moments later when a collision in the box left the ball at Harrad's feet. The on-loan striker’s shot was blocked on the line as Sean O'Hanlon retreated to provide vital cover.
The Robins started to throw men forward and former-Blue Mathieu Manset ghosted into the box when he went past Archibald-Henville. Harrad called for it but he scuffed his shot and it rolled harmlessly past the far post.
United defended as a team as Cheltenham committed more and more men to the attack and they earned their luck, and their deserved victory, in time added on when Taylor somehow sent a free header wide, from just 8 yards out, when he had the width of the goal to aim at.