The Blues were on the road again on Tuesday as they faced high-flying Lincoln City at Sincil Bank.
With Tom Parkes [hamstring] added to the injury list, United looked light at the back, and on the bench, as they went to the home of the league leaders with a vastly depleted squad.
Richie Bennett dropped back to play as a centre back to cover for the missing defenders, and Jack Sowerby filled in at right back as Gary Miller took a place on the bench.
A run from McCartan had the home crowd interested early in the game as he took the ball past two challenges. He set himself but it was taken off his toe just as he shaped to shoot.
Carlisle responded with a good attack which saw Campbell slow things down deep inside the opposition half to allow Sowerby to get forward. One-touch passing followed, with Yates and Jones involved, but Etuhu was quickly closed down as he went for the volley.
The Blues came again moments later and they took the lead in style as Nadesan combined with Campbell on the edge of the centre circle. A lovely pass set Nadesan free, and he beat the offside trap to go one-on-one with Vickers. The keeper got a touch to the shot but he could do nothing to prevent it from going in as it spooned off his arm and into the back of the net.
United had to defend deliveries into the area as LIncoln sent men forward, but Gerrard, Bennett and Gillesphey coped with everything that came their way through a tense spell.
But the back line was undone on 13 minutes when O'Connor showed determination to first win the ball and then bully his way into a shooting position. He made no mistake as he rattled a thundering volley past Collin and into the bottom corner.
Home tails were up and a neat pass from Rhead eventually released Anderson inside the area. He shifted the ball with the outside of his boot but he could only find the side netting with his stinging drive.
Kelvin Etuhu survived loud appeals for handball when he stopped a cross from McCartan just inside the box. The referee waved play on as the crowd increased the decibel levels.
Carlisle regained the lead when Gillesphey sent a massive clearance forward from his own half with his right boot. It skipped off the surface, but Nadesan was there in a flash as he used his pace to close things down and to put the defenders under pressure. Bostwick and Wharton were there, and they tried to guide it back to Vickers, but the touch was weak and Nadesan doubled his tally for the night - taking his season's total to seven - as he stretched out a toe to guide it past the advancing stopper and into the waiting net.
Lincoln saw plenty of the ball, without quite making any inroads, but they went close when Rhead got on the end of a dipping corner delivery. His header was going in until Gillesphey moved off his position on the post to head it to safety.
It was back to all-square just before the break when a free kick from wide was whipped into the box. It somehow got past everybody, and keeper Adam Collin was disappointed to see it nestle in his bottom corner as Andrade wheeled away to claim the goal.
United had a huge appeal for a penalty of their own turned down as Campbell tried to spin his man inisde the area just after the break. The assistant referee had a look but quickly turned away.
The ball was fizzed across the box by Sowerby moments later, with Campbell a whisker away from getting on the end of it, and Yates also had a swipe as he tried to make something of it.
Lincoln countered and sub John Akinde showed skill to get past his man and cut the ball back. Campbell had tracked back to carry out defensive duties and he gratefully swept it to safety.
Collin had to go full length to save from Akinde when he was slid clear by Pett, and it was strong hands which prevented the ball from going in. Gillesphey completed the clearance before McCartan could pounce.
United continued to defend well as the Imps tried to increase the pressure, with Gillesphey and Bennett making good blocks at vital moments.
And Lincoln had defending to do at the other end as Campbell found a yard before having a pop. It hit Toffolo before being hooked high and away from the danger area. United came again when Yates got his head down and angled a run in from the right flank. His shot was accurate but it was easy for Vickers to gather.
Both Etuhu and Jones were wasteful with shots from distance which rose over the bar, in what was a good spell for the Blues, and a scramble following a Gillesphey free kick had away fans on the edge of their seats as first Gerrard and then Campbell tried to make it count.
The hosts had little to show up front, but they continued to defend in depth as they had pinpoint corners from Jones to contend with. Wharton did particularly well to divert one such bullet over his own bar.
And the Blues thought they'd done enough when Campbell ghosted into space as Yates shielded the ball. The pass was made, and the ball drilled under Vickers and across the goal line, but there was nobody there to finish it off.
Lincoln showed late and they went within an inch of nicking it when Green twice lifted the ball over challenges with his toe end. It was there to be smashed in the net until Gerrard threw his boy at it to make an unbelievable clearance off the line.
Green then scuffed a poor effort well wide as the clock ticked into the final minute, and United knew they'd more than earned their point from what was an excellent response to their disappointing weekend result.
Lincoln City - O'Connor (13), Andrade (44)
Carlisle United - Nadesan (6, 27)
Lincoln City - Vickers, O'Connor, Wharton, Pett, Rhead (Akinde 52), Andrade, Toffolo, Bostwick, McCartan (Green 74), Eardley (Wilson 32), Anderson. Subs - Slocombe, Gordon, Mensah.
Carlisle United - Collin, Gerrard, Jones, Gillesphey, Bennett, Slater, Campbell, Yates, Sowerby, Etuhu, Nadesan. Subs - Gray, Miller, Glendon, Adewusi, Egan, McCarron, Birch.
Referee - Mr Neil Hair
Attendance - 9,119 (146 away fans)