United hosted League One side Doncaster Rovers on Sunday afternoon in the second round of this season's Emirates FA Cup competition.
Rovers had safely negotiated a potential first round banana skin with a comfortable victory over FC United of Manchester, meanwhile the Blues went all the way to penalties to get past Hayes & Yeading in what was a tense encounter with the non-league outfit.
Manager Chris Beech made one change from the midweek game, with Omari Patrick stepping up for Lewis Alessandra.
United defended the Warwick Road End in the first half and it was a tight opening as both teams held their shape and made the tackles.
An early chance came the way of Carlisle when Patrick robbed possession from Amos close to the half way line. He set off on a run but his cross was too close to Lumley and the keeper pulled it in.
Rovers replied with a measured build up which saw Amos overlap. His delivery brought a swing of the leg from Hayden, as he tried to clear his lines, but it scuffed off his boot and bobbled invitingly across the face of goal.
The pace of the game quickened and Toure stepped inside to beat one challenge as he made his way to the edge of the area. He shaped to shoot but it was blocked at source.
Defender Rhys Bennett was needed on 19 minutes when Okenabirhie was released by Amos. A precise sliding tackle stopped the move in its tracks.
Riley sent one wide from distance at the other end, and Doncaster broke quickly with former-Blue Reece James timing his run to beat the offside trap. His cross was comfortable for Farman to grasp.
United thought they'd grabbed the lead midway through the half when a long throw was flicked on by Toure. Mellish suddenly had just the keeper to beat but he somehow scooped his volley over the bar from just five-yards out.
The hosts defended well again as Guy, dropping deep to help out, took the ball off Okenabirhie when he raced clean through, and Lumley had to parry as the blue shirts flooded forward in response. Patrick tried to take him by surprise with a snapshot that flew through bodies, but he got there just in time.
Athleticism from Toure saw him jump high to meet a diagonal from Tanner, and his cushioned header invited Mellish to react. He got it under control but another block from Wright protected the target.
There was half a shout for a penalty as Mellish and Anderson tussled, with the former tumbling to the floor as he wrapped his boot round the ball, but the referee waved play on with just the quickest of glances in the direction of the incident.
Rovers were close on the half hour when Anderson got his head down to carry the ball forward. An incisive pass put Okenabirhie on the way but he dragged a weak shot well wide as Farman closed the angles.
That sparked a good spell for the away side and Amos put one right at Farman as he supported the attack, but there was better from the red and white shirts when Sims bent a run to feed the ball to James. He held it up, with his back to goal, and that allowed Ben Whiteman the time he needed to move into space. It came his way and he picked his spot with an accurate finish.
Carlisle refused to sulk and crosses from Guy and Anderton had to be dealt with. One such dipper from a Guy corner looked perfect for Anderton, who was unmarked at the back post, but Toure stretched for it and his header went high.
Farman had to go full length to push a toe poke from James away as it bounced towards the bottom corner, but the United stopper was beaten for a second time by Whiteman moments later as the away captain controlled a fizzed pass before letting one fly on the spin. Fingertips got there but it buried itself in the back of the net.
United were incensed just before the break when Kayode fell inside the area as he twisted away from Whitehead. He asked for a penalty, but the referee decided that it was simulation, much to the disgust of the host contingent.
A miscued effort from Mellish signalled attacking intent from Carlisle after the restart, but Hayden had to get his boot to a pull back from Okenabirhie as James sniffed for pieces. Amos followed up with a cross but the big number nine glanced that wide.
United had the bulk of the possession and their enterprising play was almost rewarded when Hayden pulled wide, beat his marker and crossed on the sprint. Kayode set it for Patrick to shoot and Lumley had to beat the stinging drive away as it angled at the nets.
Another testing Kayode throw ricocheted its way to Riley who, 23-yards out, pulled the trigger. It had venom but it edged just a yard too high.
But Doncaster still presented a danger, and they reminded everybody of that just past the hour when a slick move up the right wing left Sims with room to work in. He set himself to shoot but he put it just past the post.
United opened the away defence up with a floated free kick that saw Patrick pick out Toure after he'd got it under control. The angle was slender and Lumley was well placed to take it in.
A shot that was almost the perfect cross followed from Mellish, but Kayode was on his heels and the ball rolled harmlessly away. Mellish then put a difficult volley into the side netting as Anderton nodded a Guy free kick his way, and he showed his disappointment with his heads in his hands as he clearly felt he should have done better.
The dream was kept alive with 12 minutes left to pay after Lumley had pulled off a superb save from a Bennett header which appeared to be about to bulge the net. An acrobatic dive and an outsretched hand pushed it over.
Guy was quick to take the corner, and Lumley had to save from a powerful Hayden header as it came at his feet. The predatory Jon Mellish was there in a flash to sweep the ball home and to register his twelfth goal of the campaign.
Patrick flashed a header on the run just wide as Mellish broke through to cross, and the blues shirts kept pressing as they looked for that all-important second goal.
A half chance came the way of Reilly deep into time added on, but it wasn't to be as it flashed wide and Doncaster saw the time out to take their place in the third round draw.
Carlisle United - Mellish (78)
Doncaster Rovers - Whiteman (32, 40)
Carlisle United - Kayode (43)
Carlisle United - Farman, Tanner, Hayden, Bennett, Anderton (c), Riley (Dixon 70 (Reilly 90)), Guy, Mellish, Patrick, Toure (Alessandra 69), Kayode. Subs - Dewhurst (gk), Devine, Hunt, Furman.
Doncaster Rovers - Lumley, Halliday, James, Anderson, Wright, Whiteman (c), Okenabirhie, Smith, Amos (Lokilo 52), Richards (Gomes 62), Sims (John Jules 75). Subs - Jones (gk), Butler, Coppinger, Hasani.
Referee - Scott Oldham
Assistant Referee 1 - Chris Isherwood
Assistant Referee 2 - Paul Newhouse
Fourth Official - David Mcnamara
Attendance - BCD