United and Forest Green met for a fourth time this season as the sides went head-to-head at the New Lawn on Tuesday night.
It was a 0-0 draw at Brunton Park for the September league meeting, and a brace from winger Nathan Thomas earned United an FA Cup draw when Chris Beech took charge for the first time two months later. An own goal and a strike from Aaron Collins brought Rovers back to Carlisle for the replay.
That went the way of the Cumbrians when Aaron Hayden bagged his first goal for the club, so it was two draws and a victory for the away side to build on in their latest encounter.
Carlisle made two changes from their weekend home victory with Jack Bridge in for Stefan Scougall and Josh Kayode made his first start in place of Ryan Loft.
It was a freezing cold January night and the game took a while to get going as the sides battled it out in midfield. The first chance came for the hosts when a low free kick from Winchester was put behind to safety. The corner picked out Collins at the back stick but his downward header from eight yards was blocked by two United defenders. A brief scramble was followed by a hooked clearance.
Forest came again on 10 minutes with a one-touch move through midfield. Hall eventually picked it up but his shot was weak as he dropped a shoulder and let fly from the edge of the area.
Carlisle kept their shape well but they had to defend again when a raking crossfield pass took Shephard to the corner flag. He spotted Hall in space, and he quickly fed it to Collins who was steaming towards the penalty area. His snaphot was on target but Collin was able to snap it up comfortably.
United started to get into it and they were close when Bridge did well to rob possession halfway inside the home half. He took his man on then turned to roll it back for Gethin Jones to shoot. It was a tight angle but Logan had to dive smartly to make the save.
The Blues came again moments later when Kayode showed strength to force Bernard off the ball. Bridge and Gethin Jones exchanged snappy passes, and Nathan Thomas continued his habit of scoring against Rovers as he did enough to bundle the ball over the line from close range.
And the lead was doubled just three minutes later when Thomas picked up on a loose pass on the halfway line. He set off on a run and left Logan with no chance as he rattled a beauty of a strike into the top corner from distance.
Rob Hall tried to return the favour at the other end with a rasping drive which swirled as it headed for the roof of the net. Collin did well to get both hands on it to push it over the bar.
Hall was dangerous again when he took a quick throw on his instep before sending it low and hard into the box. Collins and Winchester threw themselves at it but they failed to get a touch and Collin was able to calm things down once again.
Carlisle stayed on top as they controlled the pace of the first half and Watt was unklucky to see a shot from distance rise high following another intricate piece of approach play.
An unforced error from Kitching saw Kayode take the ball off his toe, as the clock ticked into time added on for the half, but the shot was blocked as the United striker bore down on goal.
Just 20 seconds into the second half and Carlisle had a penalty as Alessandra was toppled in the box. Nathan Thomas bagged his hat-trick with an emphatic spot kick finish.
It was almost 4-0 just 60 seconds later when Alessandra found himself with just one man to beat. He did that, but Logan did well to make an initial save. Alessandra was first to the rebound, and he was left frustrated as a lovely chip came back off the upright. The ball was hooked behind for a corner, but that led to more problems for Rovers as they failed to clear. Youngster Josh Kayode marked his debut with a crunching close-range toe poke which flew past the stranded stopper.
United looked like scoring with every forward movement and Bridge put a superb cross across the face of goal as he was next to find space. It just needed a touch but Kayode couldn't quite get there.
Defence was turned into attack for the away side as a long kick from Collin was touched on by Kayode. Thomas was suddenly clean through but Logan spread himself to stop the winger from making it four for the night.
The hosts were awarded a spot kick on 59 minutes, for a foul by Hayden on Stevens, and captain Carl Winchester bulged the back of the net, albeit with a little bit of lady luck included as it hit Collin's legs before going over the line.
The Cumbrians continued to probe and a lovely chipped delivery from Alessandra found Bridge on the run at the back post. He was a whisker away from nodding it home.
Carlisle were denied what looked a definite penalty following another exciting piece of passing football. Kayode linked with Bridge, and he burned his man as he sprinted to the byline. A cut back was set up for Thomas to finish but he appeared to be pushed to the floor before he could pull the trigger. The referee waved play on as the away contingent continued to ask the question.
Excellent defending from Hunt prevented Forest from grabbing their second as he got there under pressure from two strikers to head a cross from Frear to safety. Collin followed it up with a punch and a save low down to his left as March tried to squeeze one in.
Collin made another double save in time added on, as he first stopped a whipped cross and then smothered the follow up shot, and Stevens missed a great chance to make the score more respectable with almost the last kick of the game. He pounced on an error but Collin made another wonder save to tip the clipped shot wide as the striker came through one-on-one.
Forest Green Rovers - Winchester (pen 59)
Carlisle United - Thomas (23, 26, 47 pen), Kayode (49)
Forest Green Rovers - Adams (84)
Carlisle United - Hayden (31), Anderton (55), Watt (83)
Forest Green Rovers - Logan (gk), Shephard (Bernard 17), Mills, Rawson, Winchester (c), Collins (Frear 46), Adams, Hall (Stevens 57), Kitching, March, Bailey. Subs - Thomas (gk), Williams, Dawson, Aitchison.
Carlisle United - Collin (gk)(c), G Jones, Webster, Hayden (Hunt 60), Anderton, Thomas, Watt, M Jones, Bridge, Alessandra (Scougall 73), Kayode (Loft 81). Subs - Gray (gk), Iredale, Charters, Sagaf.
Referee - Brett Huxtable
Assistant Referee 1 - Darren Wilding
Assistant Referee 2 - Justin Amey
Fourth Official - Christopher Wade
Attendance - 1,540 (97 away fans)