Match report from the Tuesday evening home gameCarlisle did the ugly stuff in every area of the pitch and then played their football as they took the spoils on an excellent night of League Two football at Brunton Park.
United started on the front foot as they moved the ball from side to side with purpose and Liddle got forward well as he supported the movement on the right flank. United's pressing opened a gap and Liddle wasn't too far away as he drilled a long range effort just wide of the target.
The early possession belonged to the Blues and a high ball into the area caused more problems as Raynes nodded it down. O'Sullivan set himself but Blair was back to help out and he hooked it away before a shot could be taken.
Good tackles from Raynes and Brisley prevented Marquis from going through, as Rovers tried to gain some purchase, and they opened the home side up when Williams and Marquis carved a way past the back line with a quick exchange of passes. Marquis had the goal at his mercy as he burst into the box but he sent a poor shot high and over the bar.
United responded with an incisive move through midfield and O'Sullivan pulled wide to make room for a cross. A half clearance sat up for Jones to hit but he scuffed it and a touch from Wright took the sting out of the effort.
The teams cancelled each other out for a long spell but Williams got another sight of goal when Coppinger swung the ball into the mix. The late arriving striker was frustrated when he miscued his volley right at Gillespie.
The scare woke the hosts up and they struck in style when O’Sullivan ghosted off his marker and screamed for the ball. He took a touch and sent a long delivery to the back stick where Nicky Adams had been left completely unmarked. The nippy midfielder reshaped his body and bagged his second goal of the campaign with a superbly executed volley.
Doncaster were close to an equaliser immediately after the game restarted when Marquis got on the end of a clipped pass from Coppinger. His header had power but he was left with explaining to do as he somehow guided it past the post from very close range.
It was suddenly end to end and clever play from Proctor released Lambe as he ran from deep. He got there first but Lawlor had set himself to make a two-handed save as he raced off his line.
The Cumbrians kept things calm after the break as they worked their way back on top and it needed an excellent save from Lawlor to prevent Brisley from doubling the lead when he got on the end of an outswinging corner from Adams. It was going in until the stopper somehow clawed it off the line with an acrobatic jump.
Carlisle stayed forward and Adams went close again when he hung back to meet a half clearance from a high ball into the area. His connection was clean but it sailed just the wrong side of the post.
The Blues were on top but an error from Joyce almost let Marquis pick his spot as he lost control midway inside his own half. Left back Macaulay Gillesphey spotted the danger and closed the striker down before he could do any damage.
O'Sullivan flashed a shot into the side netting at one end, and Coppinger drilled one across the face of goal at the other, as both sides worked hard to make their possession count.
A lightning quick break from United saw Proctor chest a high ball down on the edge of the box and he quickly spotted Lambe coming up in support. A lay off was followed by a shot from the wide man but he couldn't keep it on target.
United should have scored with 15 minutes left to play when Joyce rattled an excellent cross into the area. Raynes was up to meet it but he somehow sent his header over the target from right beneath the bar.
Persistence paid off late in the day when substitute Jabo Ibehre was left to run clear after a smooth piece of approach play from Devitt and Jones. The big man thundered a low ball across the face of goal and Mason could do nothing as it stuck between his heels and then rolled over the line to give Carlisle their well deserved second.
Bailey had a shot blocked in time added on as United kept their visitors at arms length, but Gillespie was needed to palm a stinging shot away from the post as Rovers threw men forward late in the day.
And the gung-ho approached brought a consolation for the visitors as a late set piece was rifled into the area. Rowe got enough on it to rob Gillespie of his clean sheet.
Carlisle United - Adams (34), Mason (og 84)
Doncaster Rovers - Rowe (90+5)
Carlisle United - Joyce (18), Gillesphey (55)
Doncaster Rovers - Blair (55), Lawlor (82)
Carlisle United - Gillespie, Liddle, Raynes, Brisley, Gillesphey, Lambe, Joyce, Jones, O'Sullivan (Devitt 70), Proctor (Ibehre 76), Adams (Bailey 90). Subs - Bacon, S Miller, T Miller, Waring.
Doncaster Rovers - Lawlor, Alcock, Wright, Marquis, Rowe, Williams (May 72), Houghton, Blair, Mason, Grant, Coppinger. Subs - Etheridge, McSheffrey, Middleton, Keegan, Evina.
Referee - Mr Tony Harrington
Attendance - 4,527 (400 away fans)