Match report from the Notts County gameCarlisle made it four points from two away games over the festive period as they came from behind to win a vital game which opened up a healthy seven point gap from the play-off places as they moved up to second spot with a determined performance against Notts County.
Notts County mounted a decent attack following a slow start to the game when Laing went on a run down the right flank. He beat two but his cross was put behind for a corner.
County came again, with another foray along the same route, and their set piece was better on this occasion as a low corner flew into the mix. It came off Thompson as he stopped it with his chest and the follow up from Stead was easily cleared.
Carlisle responded with a good attack of their own and Kennedy missed his kick as he tried to finish off an Ibehre nod down on the spin. The half clearance was picked up by Joyce and he spotted Brisley in acres of space at the back post. Loach had to tip his looping header over the bar.
Nicky Adams put the ball down for the corner and Wyke did the rest from the cruel delivery with a thumping header which went over the line as Loach tried in vain to stop it.
It was all about Carlisle and Raynes forced Loach into a save when he got on the end of another excellent corner from Adams. It bounced up off the floor and the keeper had to react quickly to put it over.
Kennedy was next to go close when he sent a flick from Brisley goalwards, and Ibehre had a volley from the edge of the box smothered as the away pressure grew.
United should have doubled the lead on 25 minutes when Adams found Raynes with a training ground set piece routine. His touch back across the face of goal was perfect for the tap-in but Wyke had to stretch to get any kind of connection. He was left in despair on the floor as he somehow put it over from just four yards out.
Wyke nodded a Miller cross wide from distance as United continued to control the game, but they were made to pay for their missed chances when Stead was given time and space from a deep free kick. Gillespie could do nothing about the header as it dropped into his bottom corner.
The Magpies took confidence from the goal and they tested the target again when Forte got on the end of a pull back on the edge of the area. He struck it well but a deflection made it easy for Gillespie to gather.
United broke quickly as they used their width on the left wing with Adams calling for the ball. He sent a beauty of a cross to the far post but Wyke could only put it wide as he arrived late for the header.
Disaster struck on 40 minutes when Raynes misjudged a ball over the top. He tried to nod it back to his keeper but Forte nipped it in to finish it off via the inside of the upright.
The Cumbrians struck back on the stroke of half time when Nicky Adams beat his man and put it into the box. Jabo Ibehre kept his eye on it and he left Loach with no chance as he guided his header expertly past the dive.
The sides exchanged corners to no avail at the start of the second half as the defenders soaked up and dealt with the high deliveries at both ends.
Carlisle wasted another gilt-edged opportunity to take the lead on 55 minutes when Ibehre headed a poor clearance from Loach into space. Adams was onto it, and he drew the keeper before putting the ball across the face of goal. It was too far in front of the strikers and they couldn't tuck it away. Devitt recovered it and his cross fell nicely for Adams to volley. Hewitt stood tall to make the block.
Loach was in action again moments later as Ibehre was sent clear with a neat ball over the top. He went for an early shot which the keeper tipped over the bar.
The Cumbrians regained the lead when Kennedy notched his eleventh of the season with a lovely header from a huge Tom Miller throw, and the visitors held their shape to keep County at arm's length for much of the half that followed.
Nicky Adams almost wrapped it up with with a volley which had to be cleared off the line, and Loach reacted late to save from a thundering Kennedy volley as Carlisle pushed the hosts deeper and deeper.
Carlisle showed excellent game management as they saw the game through to a very well deserved three points - all be it that Gillespie had to save at full stretch deep into time added on as County mounted a rare attack.
Notts County - Stead (30), Forte (39)
Carlisle United - Wyke (10), Ibehre (45), Kennedy (64)
Carlisle United - Devitt (6), Joyce (56), S Miller (90)
Notts County - Loach, Dickinson, Duffy (Hollis 61), O'Connor, Forte, Milsom, Laing, Thompson (Campbell 74), Hewitt, Rodman, Stead (Oliver 74). Subs - Collin, Smith, Richards, Collins.
Carlisle United - Gillespie, T Miller, Raynes, Brisley, Gillesphey, Kennedy, Joyce, Adams, Devitt (Lambe 61), Wyke (S Miller 75), Ibehre (Asamoah 88). Subs - Crocombe, Ellis, Wright, McQueen.
Referee - Mr Robert Jones
Attendance - 3,825 (520 away fans)