The Blues played host to Stevenage on Tuesday night in their latest Sky Bet League Two fixture.
Two mistakes from keeper Shamal George cost United dear as Stevenage took all three points from Brunton Park on a disappointing night.
United were on the front foot early when Adams found Lambe with a reverse pass wide on the left flank. Lambe returned the favour but an early cross was just too high for Miller. The clearance was gobbled up by Lambe and he was tripped as he tried to make his way into the box. Adams sent the set piece at the centre of the target but the whistle blew for an infringement as Parkes challenged.
Another foul on Miller allowed Grainger to sweep a deep free kick into the mix but it evaded everyone and Fryer was able to gather it in. Stevenage showed that they could be a real threat at the other end on 11 minutes when they sent men forward in numbers. A quick exchange of passes left Kennedy with space and he chose to shoot low from 12 yards out. His effort took a deflection and rattled onto the outside of the post.
The Cumbrians fashioned a move from back to front as Clint Hill started an attack deep inside his own half. One-touch passing from Joyce, Etuhu and Grainger eventually brought Miller into play and he opened things up with a flick of his heel. Lambe checked his run and went for a shot with his instep but it bent high over the bar.
Nicky Adams was next to try his luck as Grainger and Miller kept the ball moving to send him on an overlap. The wide man stepped inside and unleashed a firm shot but Franks stayed big and headed it away.
More excellent approach play involving Jones, Grainger and Etuhu earned the Blues a corner and a short routine eventually brought a cross from Adams. Hill was up to meet it but it hit a defender and looped onto the roof of the net. Lambe zipped the next delivery to the back post but Parkes was underneath it and his header went high.
Carlisle went close from a route one kick when George pumped a huge ball forward for Hill to challenge for. The big defender got there but his 10-yard header zipped into the side netting. The home side stayed forward and Parkes did well to keep the ball alive on the edge of the box when he came under real pressure. He kept three Boro men at bay, fed it to Adams, and watched as his team mate bent a beauty of a shot just over the crossbar.
Pett and Kennedy had shots blocked as Stevenage tried to find some forward momentum, but things tigthened up markedly ahead of the break as the sides cancelled each other out with some determined midfield play.
Carlisle ended the half with two good chances, both of which fell to Lambe from a half cleared Adams cross. His first drive came back at him from a Stevenage boot and his second whipped past the angle of post and bar.
Stevenage had some good early second half pressure without managing to find a way through the back line, and United were made to pay when a flat corner from Adams was cleared into their half. Boro won a corner of their own and George was horrified as he appeared to catch the delivery, only to then spill it. Ben Kennedy was delighted to be able to stab the loose ball home.
Disaster struck again for United's young loan keeper when Pett looped a header back into the mix. The big stopper tried to push it over the bar but succeeded only in clawing it into his own net.
Manager Keith Curle made quick changes and sent Hope and Bennett on in support of Miller but it was frustrating stuff for the Blues as Stevenage slowed things down and managed the game. A long range shot from Jones bent away to safety and a high cross from Parkes was nodded down only for Fryer to claim easily as it bounced in his favour.
Miller smashed a volley an inch over as Parkes and Devitt made him a chance late in the day, and Adams had a shot blocked as he got onto the end of a scuffed clearance from a Devitt inswinger.
Carlisle kept knocking on the door but their night was summed up when Devitt lifted a late free kick over the bar. And Joyce was denied with the last kick of the game when he latched onto an awkward bounce just eight yards out. He got it on target but Fryer flung himself at it and beat it away.
Stevenage - Kennedy (51), Pett (60)
Carlisle United - Joyce (53), Grainger (76), Bennett (90)
Stevenage - Godden (24)
Carlisle United - George, Brown (Hope 70), Hill, Parkes, Grainger, Joyce, Jones, Etuhu (Bennett 60), Lambe (Devitt 66), S Miller, Adams. Subs - Bonham, T Miller, Liddle, Ellis.
Stevenage - Fryer, Smith, Martin, Franks (Wilkinson 74), Kennedy, Pett (Conlon 82), Gorman, Newton (Wootton 57), Vancooten, Godden, Henry. Subs - Day, Whelpdale, Toner, Gray.
Referee - Michael Salisbury
Attendance - 3,701 (34 away fans)