Report from the Saturday afternoon away gameCarlisle suffered back-to-back league defeats for the first time this season as a confident Colchester side extended their unbeaten run to eight games with four very well taken goals.
United started well and a huge free kick from Gillespie was flicked on by Brisley on the edge of the box. Kent had to hook it clear before Kennedy ccould get a touch.
The Cumbrians had some defending to do when Dickenson spread the play from left to right. Guthrie crossed early but Tom Miller was on hand to head it clear. Eastman was on to the loose pieces but his shot flew high and over the target.
Another Dickenson overlap left him with time to cross on the run but Ellis did well to intervene as Guthrie ghosted in from the opposite wing. Miller helped it behind to safety.
The U's saw a lot of the early ball and they made it count when Slater and Dickenson linked up to carve a way through the back line. A high cross was perfect for Chris Porter and he thundered a powerful header past Gillespie and into the bottom corner.
A long run from Slater appeared to have come to nothing as Colchester stayed on top but he took everyone by surprise when he unleashed a shot from distance. It moved wickedly in the air and Gillespie did well to parry it away.
Carlisle created their first real opening on 19 minutes when Adams rolled a free kick from wide into the box. Kennedy put his boot through it but he couldn't keep it down.
It was a better spell for the visitors and they could have pulled themselves level when Kennedy floated a deep cross to the back post. Ibehre met it with a downward header but it lacked power and Walker was able to save easily.
Another good Cumbrian move brought a double-block as Ibehre twice tried to find a way through with shots from the edge of the area. He trapped the second rebound on his toe and brought Wyke into play, but his angle was too tight for the shot. He bided his time and Kennedy was an inch away from applying a finishing touch to a lovely low delivery.
The deserved equaliser came when Shaun Brisley stayed forward for a throw. He was unmarked as a looping delivery came into the box and he guided his header over Walker and into the far corner to register his second goal for the club.
Hesitant defending against the run of play was to blame for Carlisle finding themselves behind for a second time as they struggled to clear a low delivery from Slater. Guthrie hovered on the edge of the area and he found the back of the net with a well struck shot.
It was end-to-end and Nicky Adams almost levelled when he ran onto a cushioned header from Wyke. His measured attempt beat Walker but it fell just the wrong side of the upright.
Kennedy had a goal chalked off for offside just before the break and Ibehre shaved the outside of the post when he swept a lay-off from Wyke past a full length dive from Walker as the Cumbrians continued to look the better side.
Carlisle started the second half as they had finished off the first, on the attack, and Kennedy wasn't too far away as he glanced a header wide from a dinked pass from Adams.
But the visitors were given a mountain to climb when Guthrie was left on his own on the edge of the area. The ball rolled into his path and he did the rest with a stunning first-time strike.
A shot from a tight angle from Wyke was millimetres away from bringing United back into the game, and they couldn't make the most of a run of corners as they continued to press forward in numbers.
Midfielder Jason Kennedy drilled a volley from a Wyke nod down over the bar from close range and Porter was wayward at the other end when he somehow missed with a header when Guthrie had spotted him in space.
That triggered a better spell for the home side and Porter was close again when a corner was flicked on at the near post. The forward was unmarked but he couldn't get there to tap the ball home as it bounced across the goal line.
Carlisle had to close ranks again when another Porter shot threatened the target, and Guthrie was denied his hat-trick by a wonder save from Gillespie as he crunched a close range shot at the roof of the net. Fingertips from the keeper sent it onto the bar.
Colchester edged on top as the clock ticked down and Gillespie had to rescue Brisley as his headed back pass brought interest from two Colchester forwards. The keeper was off his line quickly to stop what would have been a certain goal.
Gillespie and Wright combined to prevent Guthrie from finishing again in time added on, but the striker was to have the final say when he made the most of another mix-up to sweep a loose ball into the empty net.
Colchester United - Porter (11), Guthrie (33, 49, 90)
Carlisle United - Brisley (27)
Colchester United - Dickenson (38)
Carlisle United - Ibehre (55)
Colchester United - Walker, Brindley (Wright 90), Lapslie, Kent, Porter (Johnstone 87), Dickenson, Elokobi, Eastman, Garvan, Slater (Fosu 89), Guthrie. Subs - Barnes, Vincent-Young, Wynter, Doyley.
Carlisle United - Gillespie, T Miller (McQueen 57), Ellis, Brisley, Gillesphey (Wright 82), Kennedy, Joyce (S Miller 76), Devitt, Adams, Wyke, Ibehre. Subs - Crocombe, Asamoah, McKee, Lambe.
Referee - Mr Lee Swabey
Attendance - 3,525 (299 away fans)