Mansfield came to town determined to protect a 17-game unbeaten league run and, with four wins and a draw from their last five games, they were always going to provide a tough test.
The Blues went into the game with assistant manager Tommy Wright and first team coach Paul Murray in charge of on-field matters following the resignation of John Sheridan just 24-hours earlier.
United kicked the game off, attacking the Waterworks End, but they were immediately under pressure when Nadesan misplaced a pass in midfield. The Stags sprung forward and Walker was dumped to the floor 28-yards out. Mellis took the free kick but it lacked height and the wall comfortably did its job.
It was the Blues who took the lead early in the piece when Etuhu sparked a fantatsic move from just inside his own half. He fed Devitt who, in turn, picked out Hope, and he did well to spot Nadesan in acres of space. The striker had a slight stumble as he took control of the ball, but he used that to his advantage as he readjusted to find Sowerby. The Fleetwood loanee made no mistake as he slotted his shot past Logan to make it five for the season.
The Stags had plenty of the ball in the opening stages of the game but they were kept at arm's length by a stubborn home back line. A long range shot from Bishop was well struck, but it flew high and over the bar.
Determination from Nadesan earned a free kick for his side 23-yards out, at an angle on the right, and United should have doubled their lead as a beauty of a delivery from Grainger found Parkes on the move at the back stick. He tried to glance his header into the bottom corner but he couldn't quite get enough on it and it flew harmlessly wide.
Mansfield had half a sniff when a dipping cross from Benning was met by the flying leg of the onrushing Krystian Pearce, as they threw men forward in an attempt to get back into the game. Collin was able to watch in comfort as it rose high over the target.
The lead was deservedly doubled on 26 minutes when the Cumbrians ripped their visitors to pieces. Devitt fed a lovely pass through for Nadesan to chase and his first time cross from the edge of the box was met on the volley by Hope. The keeper had no chance as it bulged the back of his net.
A surging run from Mellis reminded United that there was still work to do as he beat two to get into the area. HIs fizzed cross was dangerous but Gerrard was there to make the clearance before Walker could make a difference.
Excellent handling and decision making from Collin throughout the first half kept things calm at the back, and the home side looked good for their lead as they went into the half time team talk.
Mansfield emerged from the break with just 10 men, with Bishop having committed a second bookable offence in the tunnel just after the half time whistle had blown, and that gave the hosts room to move as they piled forward at the start of the second period. Devitt and Sowerby had shots blocked, and Hope was stopped in his tracks just as he tried to break through.
The in-form Tyler Walker made space for a punt at the other end as he wound his way into the box, but it was always heading high from the moment it left his boot.
Carlisle responded with a dogged approach from Hope which won him possession tight by the touchline. He fed it back to Devitt, but his thunderbolt was blocked at source, as was a follow up from Etuhu.
Nadesan was next to test the target when his crisp volley was met by Pearce, and Devitt was a whisker away with a curler from distance which had Logan rooted to the spot.
It was good stuff from the Blues, as they supported every attack with good numbers and dictated the pace of the game into the bargain, and Gillesphey was an inch away from scoring a stunning goal as he was allowed to creep ever further forward. It bent and swirled its way to shaving the outside of the post.
The Cumbrians continued to probe, and they used the flanks well to stretch the defence and to keep the ball moving.
But the Stags were right back in it with just under 15 minutes left to play when Preston peeled off his man to meet a free kick from deep. Collin could do nothing as the header flew into the top corner.
But the cushion was restored just 60 seconds later when Gillesphey overlapped to find Devitt on the penalty spot. He touched it to Hope and the striker made no mistake with a crisp, cool finish.
Logan denied Hope his hat-trick with a fingertip save late in the day, just as the forward was set to celebrate, and United were made to pay for the miss as untidy defending allowed White to hook a loose ball back into the mix. Walker was there to finish it off from close range.
McCarron was denied a goal by Logan as the youngster steamed into the area to try to find the bottom corner, and United kept the ball as the clock ticked down.
It was a nervy close to the game, but Carlisle saw it out to claim their first six-game winning run since 2008, and to bring Mansfield's impressive 17-game streak to a close.
Carlisle United - Sowerby (4), Hope (26 & 79)
Mansfield Town - Preston (78), Walker (88)
Carlisle United - Etuhu (38), Grainger (45)
Mansfield Town - Preston (39), Bishop (45 & 45 - second bookable offence in the tunnel during the break)
Carlisle United - Collin, Liddle, Gerrard, Parkes, Gillesphey, Sowerby, Etuhu, Devitt, Grainger, Nadesan, Hope (McCarron 86). Subs - Gray, Miller, Kennedy, Jones, Bennett, Slater.
Mansfield Town - Logan, White, Benning, Preston, Pearce, Bishop, Mellis, Sweeney (Atkinson 46), Walker, Elsnik (Rose 33), Hamilton. Subs - Kean, Khan, Butcher, Law, Graham.
Referee - Mr Robert Lewis
Attendance - 4,563 (335 away fans)