Carlisle kept themselves right in the hunt with a vital victory at Whaddon Road courtesy of a spot-kick finish from Jamie Devitt.
It's still all to play for as United head into their Monday home fixture with an eight game unbeaten run to protect against Lincoln, but they were made to work for their spoils against an eye-catching Cheltenham outfit.
The Blues went with a diamond formation, with Liddle sat in front of the back four and Devitt at the spearhead, and they set about the game in determined mood with some neat passing exchanges.
But it was the Robins who had the first chance of the day when Dawson skipped through midfield then crossed from wide on the left. Eisa took it under control at the back stick but his shot was half blocked by Hill and easy for Bonham to save.
Carlisle got forward quickly from the clearance and a delivery from Jones whipped just past Stockton. Cheltenham struggled to clear and Devitt was able to rob possession as Grimes hesitated. A good recovery tackle stopped the shot at source.
An inswinging free kick from deep from Brown had Hill interested as he jumped high with Moore, but it skimmed past both men as Bennett lurked in the shadows. The ball came awkwardly off the surface and Grimes was able to help it on its way.
Cheltenham enjoyed a good attacking spell as the game settled into a steady pace and they almost edged in front when Sellars went past Brown to cross low from the left flank. Dawson was onto it in a flash but he could only stab his close-range volley wide of the upright.
Dawson used the space well once more moments later when he cut inside before finding Sellars on the overlap. He tried a shot on the run but Bonham was down well to deal with it.
A direct run from Morrell left him with options and he went for a defence splitting pass to send Eisa clean through. He was pushed wide but Bonham still had to palm it away as it flashed at his bottom corner.
More good work from Dawson saw him test Bonham again with a top corner bound attempt from out at an angle, but the keeper had covered his near post and he plucked it out of the air.
Carlisle were unlucky when Bennett earned them a corner with some tenacious work. Devitt sent it over, Hill nodded it down, but it hit a defender on the shin and was swept away quickly to safety.
A long range raking shot from Moore was of more concern to the United fans behind the goal than it was to their stopper, and the Blues worked their way forward well from the resulting goal kick.
Liddle was set up nicely by Brown for a cross, and a follow up from Joyce had to be headed behind before Devitt could connect. Another good delivery from him was deflected away from Ellis as he shaped to go for glory.
The flow of chances ceased in the run-up to the break with Hill doing well to stifle the best of them when Eisa was played through by Dawson. Good hold up play by Stockton in time added on for the half allowed him to roll his man and find Jones. The cross was dealt with as blue shirts flooded the area in hope of finding some loose scraps.
A shot from Winchester rattled into the side netting as Cheltenham came out for the second half looking to assert some authority, and Dawson brought a parry from Bonham when his scissor kick bounced just in front of the big keeper. It needed a scramble and a strong hand to get the ball completely under control.
Carlisle showed as a force when a touch from Bennett invited Devitt to stride forward. It opened up in front of him and his fierce shot bent late and smashed into the advertising hoardings. The same player put a free kick from almost the exact same spot into the same place when Stockton was dragged down by Moore.
A set piece at the other end almost paid dividend when Boyle beat Bonham to the dipping ball. His header looped high but fell onto the roof of the net. United broke and Devitt weaved his way into the area with Atangana snapping at his heels. He got the shot off but it was too close to the keeper.
Parkes slashed a first time effort wide when he was picked out by Devitt, and Hill had to block from Eisa as he tried to capitalise on a lofted headed clearance from the left back.
Loud appeals for handball were waved away by the officials as Devitt felt he had the ball taken away from him by an arm, and even louder appeals were ignored as Bennett was wrestled to the floor having trapped it with his back to goal.
But they weren't to be ignored a third time when Nadesan touched Hope into space with a lovely pass. Boyle clumsily clashed with Hope and Devitt did the honours with a firmly struck spot kick.
The Cumbrians thought they'd doubled their lead when Devitt sparked another attack with a floated 40-yard pass to Nadesan. He fed it to Bennett, and the big striker beat his man with ease before shooting for the bottom corner. Flinders was relieved to see it come back off the inside of his post.
Carlisle started to boss things and Nadesan was disappointed with himself when he sliced a cross from Brown wide as he arrived late. Hope forced a fantastic save from the stopper in the next push forward when he went for a cracking shot as he came from deep. The fingertip touch was just enough to take it away.
There were skirmishes at both ends as the clock ticked down, and Hope had a one-on-one situation thwarted by Flinders, but it was United who took another step closer to the top seven as they managed the game out to its successful conclusion.
Carlisle United - Devitt (74 pen)
Cheltenham Town - Sellars (24), Boyle (73)
Carlisle United - Devitt (29), Ellis (33), Bennett (45), Joyce (60)
Cheltenham Town - Flinders, Grimes, Atangana, Dawson, Winchester, Boyle, Sellars (Graham 65), Eisa, Morrell, Moore (Pell 75), Chatzitheodoridis. Subs - Lovett, Cranston, Rodon, Onariase, Lloyd.
Carlisle United - Bonham, Brown, Liddle, Hill, Ellis, Parkes, Devitt (Lambe 90), Joyce (Hope 64), Jones, Stockton (Nadesan 64), Bennett. Subs - Gray, Grainger, O'Sullivan, Twardek.
Referee - Mr Nicholas Kinseley
Attendance - 3,107 (309 away fans)