United and Crewe finally met for a third time this season when the Blues travelled to Gresty Road on Tuesday night.
The team was unchanged in terms of personnel from Saturday, but there was a switch in tactics as Hope was given the central striking role, with Devitt pushing out wider to the left.
It was a disastrous start for the visitors as, having kept the ball well through the opening two minutes, they were undone when they gave it away cheaply on the half way line. Bowery spread it wide and a stunning low cross was met on the full by Porter, just six yards from the target. Collin could do nothing as it smashed into his net.
Crewe tails were up and Porter was dangerous again when he trapped a fizzed ball with his instep just inside the box. He spun to cross quickly, but a vital block was made by Collin. More danger came when Bowery sparked a move from left to right across the face of the box moments later. Ainley whisked a cross for Porter to challenge for, but the flag went up for offside.
United looked to get their passing game going and they had the Alex penned back as they probed for a way through with Slater, Thomas and Miller putting the ball to feet. Parkes came forward out of the centre circle and he used the space in front of him to line up a shot. He caught it well but it took a deflection and was easy for Garratt to save.
Things got worse for the Cumbrians on 16 minutes when Perry Ng went down in front of the technical areas as he came under pressure from Devitt. The midfielder appeared to try to kick the ball into space and get on with the game, as the defender curled up and held onto it, but Ng put his hands to his face and the referee sprinted over to calm things down as a melee ensued. After a long chat with the fourth official Mr Marsden called Devitt over and produced a straight red card.
The ten men had to reshuffle, and Nathan Thomas was sacrificed as Gary Liddle came on to form a three man back line. Gary Miller and Danny Grainger pushed forward on the flanks leaving Hope to plough a lone furrow up front.
Carlisle equalised in stunning fashion when determination in the middle of the park saw Etuhu come away with the ball. He spotted Gary Miller racing forward on the overlap and the right back marked career appearance number 350 with his first goal for the club - a stunning low drive which buried itself into the bottom corner.
It was an equal contest leading up to the half time break, as both sides sprayed the ball around, but chances were few and far between as the defences stayed tight. A free kick from Grainger in time added on was met on the full by Gerrard but he couldn't keep it down and it flew over the bar.
Wintle drilled a low volley wide at the other end, when a half clearance bobbled his way, and Collin had to tip a clipped effort from Bowery over the target inside the third minute of additional time. The Blues cleared the corner and it was honours even as the teams made their way down the tunnel.
It was cat and mouse with more good possession football played by both outfits after the break, particularly in the middle third.
And it was Carlisle who fashioned the first real opening of the period on 54 minutes when Slater took the ball off Green midway inside the home half. Hope took over, and slid it through for O'Hare, but he had to stretch and he could only find the side netting.
Crewe responded with a quick break which brought a cross from Kirk. Porter threw himself at it but Collin kept his eye on the close range header and he gathered it comfortably. Kirk then had his celebrations cut short when he pulled off his marker to receive a neat through ball. He rattled a powerful effort into the top corner but the flag was up for offside.
A charged down clearance from Pickering rebounded kindly for Hope as United kept getting forward, and the striker went for an early shot as he spotted a gap. Garratt scrambled quickly to pluck it out of the air.
Grainger put a shot from Ng behind as he blocked with his head, but it was always going to be difficult for the Crewe man as he tried his luck from a tight angle.
United survived an unbelivable scare on 67 minutes when a high ball from Ng dropped to Green on the penalty spot. His first volley was blocked by Gerrard and Collin produced a magnificent save to deny him again when he thundered a rasper at the bottom corner from the same distance.
Carlisle were architects of their own downfall midway through the half when they failed to deal with a cross into the box. The attempted clearance sat up nicely for former-Blue Shaun Miller and he had the simple task of tapping it under the advancing keeper and into the net.
Deliveries from Scougall caused problems late in the day, as United sent men forward, and Hope was a whisker away when he was picked out by a raking pass from Etuhu. His header had power but it was always dipping wide.
Crewe saw the game out, as United took risks with three up top, and blue shirts packed the box when a Grainger corner dropped long in time added on. Adam Collin was up for it, and hearts were in mouths as Crewe broke. Regan Slater sprinted back to make the clearance and to protect the empty net.
Crewe Alexandra - Porter (3), S Miller (73)
Carlisle United - G Miller (29)
Crewe Alexandra - Ng (31), Ray (44)
Carlisle United - O'Hare (34), Hope (64), Grainger (72), Cullen (90), Gerrard (90)
Sent off - Devitt (16)
Crewe Alexandra - Garratt, Ng, Pickering, Ray, Porter, Bowery (S Miller 63), Ainley (Lowery 77), Nolan, Wintle, Green, Kirk (Dale 88). Subs - Richards, Finney, Taylor-Sinclair, Sterry.
Carlisle United - Collin, G Miller (Cullen 77), Gerrard, Parkes, Grainger, Slater, Etuhu, O'Hare (Scougall 60), Thomas (Liddle 19), Devitt, Hope. Subs - Gray, Jones, Grant, McCarron.
Referee - Mr Paul Marsden
Attendance - 3,476 (486 away fans)