It was the second of the Checkatrade Trophy Group A fixtures at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday evening as the Blues went up against League One Sunderland.
17-year old winger Liam McCarron stepped up to make his first start for the club and he was joined by Gary Miller, George Glendon, Regan Slater and Adam Campbell as the changes to the team from Saturday's victorious trip to Oldham.
United fashioned their first chance with just 60 seconds on the clock when they broke from deep, as a cross from Maguire was cleared by Parkes. McCarron exchanged passes with Nadesan to get into the opposition area and the youngster showed confidence to take on a shot from a tight angle. Ruiter stayed big to palm it wide.
The Black Cats responded with an excellent counter as McGeady teased his way down the left flank. He checked back to cross and Mbunga-Kimpioka moved in to space before guiding a header at the bottom corner. Collin got his hand to it but he couldn't prevent it from crossing the line.
The home side came again when McGeady stepped away from a tackle with the ball under his control. He ran across the width of the 18-yard box and he tried to pick his spot with a firm punt as a gap opened up. Liddle did well to block it and his touch sent it wide.
Ruiter and McGeouch got themselves into a real tangle on 10 minutes when the keeper rolled the ball to his defender, who was immediately under pressure from two blue shirts. The pair bundled their way to a clearance as McCarron and Nadesan looked to close things down.
Carlisle started to pass the ball around, without quite managing to find a way through, and the hosts did the same as it became an intriguing game to watch.
The Cumbrians settled and they were awarded a free kick dead central, and 24 yards from the target, when Yates was chopped to the floor. Gillesphey was a whisker away as he cleverly clipped it over the wall. Ruiter was wrong-footed and mightily relieved to see it bulge the outside of the side netting.
The visitors were deservedly back on terms midway through the half when Nadesan showed pace to go past his man, leaving him with just the stopper to beat. He kept his cool before rolling it neatly into the target to register his fourth goal of the season.
Right back Gary Miller did well to put a wicked cross from the right flank from Honeyman behind the goal as it came at him at pace. He had to take care and it was pats on the back all round as it flew into the safety of the advertising hoardings. Tom Parkes was next to show defensive quality when he somehow cleared a delivery from Honeyman with an overhead kick, right in front of his own keeper.
It was a good spell for the home side and right back Adam Matthews ventured forward from deep inside his own half to angle a run into the area. He went for an early shot on the run but Collin kept his eyes on it to make the block. The rebound ran free but the keeper was up quickly to gather it in.
Maguire was next to have a go when he struck an instinctive volley with the outside of his boot as the ball looped into his path 20-yards from goal. It had power, but he couldn't keep it down and it flashed over the bar.
Sunderland restored their lead when they kept the pressure on and the ball alive with crosses from McGeady and Maguire. A half clearance fell nicely for Robson to strike and he left Collin with no chance as he thundered a superb effort past a despairing dive.
Carlisle refused to lie down and they thought they'd hit back straight away when Campbell took control of a bouncing ball inside the area. He stepped away from his marker and was disappointed to see a well hit shot skip just the wrong side of the upright.
Maguire rattled a speculative effort wide from distance as half time approached, and Matthews wasted a good heading opportunity when he sent a measured Maguire cross high and deep and well wide of the mark.
The second half took a while to get going, but a corner for the Blues lifted the away support when McCarron's cross was put behind. The delivery was excellent from Campbell, and the header from Parkes was goal bound until Ozturk got in the way.
McGeady had loud appeals for a penalty turned down at the other end when he fell to the floor as he tried to get on the end of good work from Honeyman. The referee took a close look but quickly signalled for play to continue.
More excellence from Adam Collin kept the lead down to one goal on 61 minutes when a fantastic cross found Mbunga-Kimpioka unmarked and just five yards out. His header had power and appeared to be going in until the keeper spread himself to make a superb two-handed save.
But it was to be a short reprieve as Honeyman beat the offside trap to race clean through when Adam Matthews popped a ball over the top. He drew Collin off his line then slotted it beneath the dive to give his side their cushion.
Home tails were up and Mbunga-Kimpioka wasted a great chance to extend the lead further when he beat his man only to rush his shot. It was a difficult angle and he scooped his toe poke over the bar. The same player had a shot blocked when he should have done better moments later, following good approach play from Maguire, with Carlisle struggling to find a foothold in the game.
The Blues found it hard to get any purchase in the opposition half, as Sunderland restricted space and movement, but Yates was wasteful when he burst through a challenge only to drill his shot wide.
Winger Jack Egan came on to make his senior debut with ten minutes left to play, but the Black Cats kept their forward momentum going and they probed the Carlisle back line, keeping them penned in and on the back foot.
Midfielder Sam Adewusi also came on to get his first appearance under his belt, but the Black Cats stayed disciplined to take maximum points from the fixture.
Sunderland - Mbunga-Kimpioka (2), Robson (33), Honeyman (63)
Carlisle United - Nadesan (22)
Sunderland - O'Nien (71)
Sunderland - Ruiter, Matthews, Ozturk, Maguire, McGeouch, Honeyman, Baldwin, James, McGeady (Diamond 79), Robson (O'Nien 45), Mbunga-Kimpioka (Taylor 86). Subs - Patterson, Hackett, Connelly, Gamble.
Carlisle United - Collin, Miller, Liddle, Parkes, Gillesphey, Yates, Slater, Glendon (Adewusi 86), McCarron (Jones 56), Campbell, Nadesan (Egan 79). Subs - Gray, Etuhu, Brown.
Referee - Mr Ben Toner
Attendance - 8,112 (330 away fans)
Thank you to Ian Horrocks Photography for the images.