It was back to Brunton Park for the Blues this weekend as they faced table-topping Exeter City in their latest League Two fixture.
The Grecians were unbeaten in the league through the opening month of the campaign and they came into the contest holding the upper hand over the Blues, with the hosts not having registered a victory in any of the previous six meetings between the teams.
Midfielder Stefan Scougall was still missing as he continued to recover from his hamstring injury, and forward Hallam Hope was absent on international duty with Barbados.
Striker Olufela Olomola returned to the starting line-up, with Mo Sagaf getting the nod to take up the attacking left hand berth of the forward line.
An early Exeter attack down the right wing saw Collins overlap into space, and that gave him the room he needed to get a decent ball into the area. Taylor lurked on the edge of the box as the half clearance came his way, but his volley took two deflections before it was eventually hooked to safety.
A whipped cross from Sparkes flew across the face of goal as the Grecians stayed on the front foot, and Nicky Law screwed a miscued effort into the Warwick Road End when he let fly from distance.
The away side looked confident, and a ball over the top caught United flat-footed as Lee Martin strode clear. His volley had power and Collin did well to parry it away.
The visitors came again when Williams used trickery to jink his way past two challenges into the area. His cut back found Lee Martin on the penalty spot but Adam Collin was excellent once again as he spread himself to make a vital block with his boot.
United looked to have a say and Mo Sagaf, making his first leagus start for the club, moved into space with Olomola in support. The midfielder opted to shoot from distance and his deflected effort curled behind for a corner.
Wide man Nathan Thomas kept trying to find a killer ball as Carlisle upped their tempo, with some good deliveries from the right, but Ward patrolled his area well as he came out to tidy things up.
Carlisle had hearts in mouths when Williams used pace to go past two challenges and his low pass picked out Law, who had arrived late. He tried to poke it into the bottom corner from a tight angle but he got his bearings wrong and the effort dribbled away.
Sagaf created half a chance for Bridge, as the Cumbrians started to get into it more, with a neat touch that allowed him to make his choice. Bridge ran on but his shot from 23-yards was too close to Ward.
The home goal lived a charmed life on 30 minutes when Jake Taylor started a move when he bounced a one-two off Williams halfway inisde the Carlisle half. A deep cross from the flying winger was nodded down by Law, and Taylor almost finished off the move he'd sparked when he sent a toe poke through legs. It rattled back off the base of the post and Knight-Percival was able to see it away.
The lively Mo Sagaf had two shots stopped at source in quick succession as he tried to get his team going again, but it was the away side who celebrated as Law nicked possession from Jones deep inside the Carlisle half. Williams took over, and his through ball found Lee Martin advancing at pace. He stroked a measured first time shot past Collin's dive and into the back of the net.
A 40-yarder from Sweeney wasn't too far away as it arrowed past Collin's upright just before the break, and Martin volleyed wide from a Sparkes cross with the home side struggling to keep hold of the ball.
But a burst from Olomola had the crowd on its feet as he sprinted to the goal line. His cut back fizzed into the box but it was cleared just before Thomas could finish it off.
Manager Steven Pressley went for a change of approach for the second half, with McKirdy on for Carroll, and the blue shirts looked immediately more in tune as an Iredale cut back was picked up by Sagaf. He fed it to Jones, but a cruncher from the midfielder bent right at Ward.
More neat home passing ended with a Bridge shot that was blocked, but United pushed again with Jones heavily involved. He was chopped to the floor, and the training ground set piece routine came to an end as Sagaf's touch on the edge of the area was intercepted.
Exeter responded with good movement from a corner which saw Lee Martin spin his marker in the box. He played the percentage game with a hurried pass, but it fell nicely for Williams who was stationed dead central and just 12 yards out. He thought his volley was going in until Collin dived smartly to fingertip it round the post.
Williams was interested again when Law fed him into space out wide. He dropped a shoulder and came back inside, and Collin had to parry again as a snapshot came in. The ball was loose but Webster shielded it and the keeper was able to drag it into his chest.
Former-Blue Ryan Bowman had a shot on the sprint expertly saved by Collin, when he was put clean through by Lee Martin, but the home side were back on terms just past the hour when McKirdy went on a trademark run. His cross was volleyed by Thomas, and the ball spun up to find Olufela Olomola unmarked. He literally showed a cool head as he guided the ball into the top corner.
Bowman sent a close range header over the target as he missed the chance to reclaim an immediate lead, but it was a short reprieve as Law sent a corner into the box. Aaron Martin was completely unmarked and he had the relatively simple task of thundering his header past the stranded Adam Collin.
The points should have been sealed for the away side on 77 minutes when Williams skipped past Sagaf. Bowman connected with the cross at the back stick, and his touch appeared to put it on a plate for Lee Martin, who was just six-yards out. Keeper Adam Collin pulled off an unbelievable save to yet again keep his team in the hunt.
A scuffed volley from Olomola was easily saved by Ward as the clock ticked down, and salt was rubbed into the wounds in time added on when Nicky Law beat the offside trap to wrap up the victory with a well taken shot on the run.
Carlisle United - Olomola (61)
Exeter City - L Martin (36), A Martin (67), Law (90)
Carlisle United - McKirdy (71), Sagaf (73)
Carlisle United - Collin (gk) (c), Elliott (Sorensen 87), Webster, Knight-Percival, Iredale, Bridge, Jones (Loft 75), Carroll (McKirdy 46), Thomas, Olomola, Sagaf. Subs - Gray (gk), Mellish, Charters, Branthwaite.
Exeter City - Ward (gk), Sweeney, A Martin, L Martin (Jay 90), Law, Williams, Bowman (Fisher 90), Moxey, Sparkes, Taylor (c), Collins (Parkes 68). Subs - Maxted (gk), Woodman, Ajose, Richardson.
Referee - Jeremy Simpson
Assistant Referee 1 - Geoffrey Liddle
Assistant Referee 2 - David Avent
Fourth Official - Peter Gooch
Attendance - 4,167 (198 away fans)