Report from the Saturday afternoon home gameCarlisle were ruthless in the first half on Saturday afternoon as three perfectly timed goals - one of them an early contender for Goal of the Season - took the wind out of the sails of a Crawley side who had previously been difficult to beat.
Both sides were on their game from the off, as crosses looped in to both boxes, and a surging run from stand-in left back Ellis opened things up for the Cumbrians as they stayed tight and disciplined in their approach. He cut inside his man and found Kennedy just inside the area, and a touch from him invited Wyke to spin and shoot. He caught it well but a block sent it out for a throw.
Tom Miller stepped up to take that and it was celebrations all round as Jabo Ibehre stayed strong to nod it in from close range.
Crawley tried to bite back early and a good run from Boldewijn took him past Ellis after a tussle for dominance between the pair. Raynes had raced back to cover and he chopped the ball behind as it skipped across the face of the box.
A well-worked corner routine followed but Smith was disappointed as his 20-yarder smashed into a defender and bounced free. The red shirts stayed alive and Smith was once more played into a good area by a through ball from Blackman. Gillespie had to dive full length to tip it wide of his upright.
United opened the visitors up when Raynes picked Adams out with a neat pass in midfield. He shifted it quickly for Wyke to chase but a timely sliding tackle prevented him from releasing his shot.
Loose play from Brisley allowed Crawley to go four against three as they tried to up their game, but Connolly dithered when it looked like all he had to do was shoot.
Carlisle started to look confident again and they showed the importance of set pieces once more when Mike Jones dinked a deep one to the back post. Raynes met it with a downward header and Jason Kennedy continued his rich vein of form with goal number seven of the season - a toe poke from just three yards out.
Gillespie was tested again when Yussuf twisted and turned with his back to goal. He got his shot away but the keeper stayed tall to beat it away with his chest.
Carlisle broke and a cross on the sprint from Adams was flicked by a defender for Tom Miller to chase. He returned it first time and it had to be popped behind before Wyke could finish it. The corner went long and the unmarked Mark Ellis did well to send it back into the mix. The keeper had to come out as Wyke and Miller converged to get a touch.
An excellent half of football was rounded off in the perfect way when Luke Joyce scored his first goal since his summer 2015 return to the club to bring the whole of the stadium to its feet. An early contender for goal of the season - he took control of a half clearance 23-yards out and he left the keeper with no chance as he swept an absolute beauty into the back of the net via the underside of the bar.
United almost extended their lead just 40 seconds after the restart when Ibehre controlled a ball over the top with his heel. His touch took him wide but his reverse pass for Wyke invited an acrobatic volley. Morris was relieved to see that edge past his upright.
Crawley had spells of good possession but their frustration was summed up when Yussuf was put clean through by a neat passing move. The angle was tight but his shot was poor and always heading well wide.
United pushed again when Ibehre and Adams combined for the latter to cross. Wyke flicked it but Davey hooked it clear before Kennedy could add anything to his account.
Carlisle were in control and substitute Jamie Devitt forced a parried save from Morris when he picked up on good play from Ellis and Adams from 25-yards. His volley dipped late but the keeper got there.
Shaun Miller went close with a flick from a crunching Adams free kick, and Collins had his best chance of the day when a cut-back sat up nicely just 16 yards out. He hit it well but Brisley lunged across to stop it.
A harsh decision against keeper Morris gave United a free kick inside the box, when the referee blew for a pass back when the defender cut the ball out on the stretch, but the wall stood strong as Shaun Miller rifled it from the Nicky Adams lay-off.
The Blues regrouped and ticked the clock down, despite a late strike from Connolly, and they added another thoroughly deserved three points to their unbeaten tally.
Carlisle United - Ibehre (5), Kennedy (28), Joyce (45)
Crawley Town - Connolly (90)
Carlisle United - Ellis (79)
Crawley Town - Davey (66)
Carlisle United - Gillespie, Raynes, Brisley, Ellis, T Miller (Brough 57), Joyce, Jones, Kennedy, Adams, Ibehre (Devitt 64), Wyke (S Miller 74). Subs - Crocombe, Asamoah, McKee, Lambe.
Crawley Town - Morris, Young, Davey, Connolly, Boldewijn, Smith, Blackman, Collins, Tajbakhsh (Bawling 63), Yussuf (Banton 85), Djalo (Clifford 54). Subs - Beeney, Arthur, Pappoe.
Referee - Mr Graham Salisbury
Attendance - 5,619 (66 away fans)