Rovers went into the Tuesday night meeting under new management with former-Rochdale boss Keith Hill appointed to take the helm at Prenton Park.
Hill and United boss Chris Beech had, of course, enjoyed a long association at Spotland and that was bound to cause a topic for discussion ahead of kick off.
Both teams were in good form, with Tranmere unbeaten in three and United with three wins from their last five games - a run which had propelled them to within touching distance of the automatic promotion spots.
The starting eleven was unchanged from Saturday's trip to Crawley, and midfielder Dean Furman was back from international duty to replace the unfortunate Jack Armer on the bench. Marcus Dewhurst reclaimed second keeper responsibilities.
There was half a sniff for the Blues early on when Anderton latched onto a loose ball just inside Rovers territory. He scampered forward and gave it to Toure, but the return pass had too much on it and Davies was off his line smartly to gather.
A long throw from Kayode was nodded down by Toure and it spilled to the edge of the box for Riley to strike. It took an age to settle, so the volley was blocked, and Mellish was shepherded wide as he tried to find space to deliver.
Carlisle asked questions again with a deep free kick from Guy which had Kayode interested. His header spun off Monthe and it was cleared as Anderton jumped to get a touch.
Farman had work to do at the other end when Blackett-Taylor found Khan in space. A snapshot from 20-yards dipped late and the keeper had to help it over the bar. Khan took the corner and he found Vaughan, who had made an intelligent move at the near post. The header had power but it was always too high.
A Kayode long throw earned the orange shirts a corner as it glanced off MacDonald, but a whipped inswinger evaded everyone as Guy arrowed it in with venom.
Carlisle sparked a good attack when they broke from deep. Alessandra had Toure on the overlap on the halfway line and the pass took the wide man towards the area. He checked his run, and used Alessandra again, and it eventually came to Riley. His clip over the top was put behind before Kayode could get there.
Another excellent corner was met on the full by Mellish and a crunching header was going in until Davies spread himself to make a fine reaction save.
The away side had work to do when Khan pulled wide for a quickly taken free kick. His low cross brought a lunge from Vaughan but Guy was back to cover the danger.
Back at the other end and Davies had to punch another tester from Guy behind, as forwards converged, and there was a home sigh of relief as Bennett nodded the resulting corner wide of the target when he leaped highest to meet it.
It was a fast-paced affair and Morris blazed wide after the ball came his way from a clearance from Bennett, who appealed strongly for a push as he got his boot to the ball.
Bennett came out on top again as he shadowed a second run from Morris. The nippy wide man looked to be through until a well-timed tackle stopped the shot.
Gime Toure switched from left to right for 15 minutes at the end of what became a very tight first half, but it was honours even in an intriguing encounter as the whistle blew on the first 45 minutes.
There was a scare for the away side with just two minutes on the second half clock when Blackett-Taylor broke through with the ball at his feet. A rasping drive was palmed down into the ground by Farman, as he dived low to make the save, and he recovered quickly to gather it into his chest as the hosts tried to claim that it had crossed the line.
That proved to be a warning shot across the bows as Blackett-Taylor came again, with a winding run from the left flank. He dropped his shoulder as he stepped inside his marker and a thunderbolt flew into the top corner with Farman stranded.
United looked to bite back, with set pieces from Guy pinging around, but home tails were up and a volley from Vaughan spun to Morris as Tranmere attacked on the break. Bennett hooked it away as Khan moved into the box.
Stopper Paul Farman punched a wicked Feeney corner from beneath his own bar, and United looked lively when they robbed possession through Bennett. He gave it to substitute Omari Patrick and he carried it to the edge of the box before sending a grasscutter at Alessandra. The clearance fell for Guy to strike, before the forward to finish it off, but his volley was blocked.
The visitors were close again when a pass from deep was nodded on by Kayode. Midfielder Jon Mellish had timed his run but his left-foot volley, on the run, squirmed off his boot and rolled harmlessly behind.
Captain Nick Anderton sought to take matters into his own hands with a surging run from the halfway line but his neat cross was taken away from Kayode. Another flighted pass from the left back found the young forward on the penalty spot moments later and he was disappointed when he guided his header wide.
Vaughan was a whisker wide when he got on the end of a Khan free kick - the delivery found the experienced striker on the penalty spot - but the glanced header lacked the direction it needed.
Skill from Patrick created another chance as he toe-ended the ball past his marker, but the pull back to Mellish was met by O'Connor and a grateful clearing swipe.
Patrick forced a diving save from Davies as he went for the bottom corner when he stepped inside to shoot from 20-yards, and there was more frustration for the orange shirts when a free kick was given for a foul as the hosts struggled to clear.
United kept plugging away, and Reilly had a shot blocked deep into time added on as Mellish challenged for a Tanner cross.
Another block brought a last-ditch corner, but it was flat and cleared and it was Tranmere who took the spoils.
Tranmere Rovers - Blackett-Taylor (51)
Tranmere Rovers - Monthe (64), Lewis (69)
Carlisle United - Hayden (67)
Tranmere Rovers - Davies (c), O'Connor, Monthe, Morris, Spearing, Vaughan (Nelson 90), Blackett-Taylor (Lloyd 77), Khan (Woolery 77), MacDonald, Feeney (Lewis 64), Clarke. Subs - Murphy (gk), Ridehalgh, Ferrier.
Carlisle United - Farman, Tanner, Hayden, Bennett, Anderton (c), Riley (Reilly 72), Guy, Mellish, Alessandra, Toure (Patrick 61), Kayode (Obiero 83). Subs - Dewhurst (gk), Devine, Hunt, Furman.
Referee - David Rock
Assistant Referee 1 - Hristo Karaivanov
Assistant Referee 2 - Andrew Dallison
Fourth Official - James Oldham
Attendance - BCD