United were in Kent on Saturday afternoon as they faced League One Gillingham in Emirates FA Cup second round action.
Two teams who have become very difficult to beat came head-to-head in an entertaining encounter, and it was no surprise to anyone as the game played its way to a draw and a replay at Brunton Park in ten days' time.
United kept the ball well from the kick off but Gillingham fashioned the first chance when a shot from Eaves ricocheted off Hill and fell nicely for Wagstaff. He had a snapshot blocked, and the ball spun behind for a corner when Clare snatched at the loose pieces to also find that Hill was in the way.
The delivery from that was cleared by Jones, but the hosts were awarded a free kick when Parkes tussled with Wilkinson just outside the box. It proved to be a big call as Luke O’Neill bent the 25-yard set piece over the wall and into the top corner.
Carlisle got forward from the restart and Bennett did well to nod a high ball forward into the path of Kelvin Etuhu. The midfielder set himself for the volley and was unfortunate to see a clean strike fly just past the post.
Blues defender Gary Liddle then took matters into his own hands when he surged out of his own half to turn defence into attack. He had options but it opened up in front of him and he was disappointed to see his low shot curl away from the target.
The Gills looked happy to play on the break and a neat touch from Eaves caught United on the hop as Wilkinson was allowed to run clear. His first shot was blocked but he was quick to return the bouncing ball via the uneven ground and Bonham did well to readjust and tip it over the bar.
Carlisle got the reward for their enterprising approach when Parkes got forward to fizz a thumping pass at Lambe. The winger returned the favour and Mark Byrne was undone as he stuck a leg out and chopped the marauding defender to the floor. Danny Grainger stepped up and he made no mistake as he found the bottom corner with his spot kick.
More excellent United play saw Jones send Grainger on the overlap on the left flank. Lambe reacted first with a touch with his toe from the cross but his shot was well blocked as Ehmer lunged across to get in the way.
The teams started to spar with each other through a tight phase of the game, with chances suddenly difficult to come by, but a lovely ball from O’Neill moments before the break had to be dealt with by Liddle as it flashed across the face of goal.
A poor shot from Wagstaff summed up what had been a flat half from the home side when he dragged a long-range effort into the advertising hoardings in time added on.
Wagstaff was the first man to have a go after the break when he let fly from distance from a half clearance from Jones. Bonham watched it all the way and gathered it into his hands. The Gills came again when O'Neill flighted a free kick beyond the back line. Ehmer hooked it back but Hill was there to head it behind.
The Blues then survived huge appeals for a penalty when Wagstaff fell to the floor under pressure from Jones and Grainger. The officials looked at each other but settled for a corner decision.
Eaves twisted and turned but shot wide in what was a good spell for the hosts, and Ogilvie leaned back on a volley when an excellent Liddle header had just stopped Eaves from finishing things off from very close range.
Bennett thumped a speculative attempt well wide at the other end, and a winding run from Wilkinson brought a shot from a tight angle as the game remained in the balance.
James Brown suddenly found himself with half a sight of the target when his cross was charged down by Zakuani. He had just a moment to think and his punt bent away from the watchful Tomas Holy.
Defences edged on top and that forced Reggie Lambe to try to take things into his own hands when Bennett slid the ball inside from out wide. The shot had power but it was always too high.
A ball over the top took Etuhu through but he was pushed wide and the save was easy for Holy to make.
The sides closed each other down effectively through the tense closing minutes, and it ended all-square with it all to do again when the replay date comes around.
Gillingham - O'Neill (5)
Carlisle United - Grainger (18 pen)
Gillingham - Clare (40)
Gillingham - Holy, O'Neill, Ehmer, Zakuani, Wagstaff, Hessenthaler, Eaves (Parker 73), Wilkinson, Ogilvie, Clare (Martin 46), Byrne. Subs - Nelson, Nugent, Oldaker, Simpson, Cundle.
Carlisle United - Bonham, Brown, Liddle, Hill, Parkes, Grainger (T Miller 71), Etuhu, Joyce, Jones, Lambe (Hope 88), Bennett (O'Sullivan 82). Subs - George, Devitt, Cosgrove, S Miller.
Referee - Andy Woolmer
Attendance - 3,178 (321 away fans)