United were back at Brunton Park with a good run of form to protect on Saturday as they came up against hard to beat Colchester United.
Boss Chris Beech made just one change from the side that beat Port Vale last weekend with Josh Kayode, back from international duty with Ireland, in for striker Gav Reilly.
United started on the front-foot, attacking the Waterworks End, with Gime Toure showing good skill as he danced through two challenges. Anderton took over as he overlapped, and he spotted Alessandra making a move outside the box. The striker crossed towards the back stick and Gerken watched in horror as it evaded everybody before bouncing into the corner of the net to give the hosts an early lead.
Carlisle kept it tight at the back, and a determined sprint from Hayden saw him intercept a through ball before releasing Tanner. His cross came off Brammall before going behind for a corner.
A fantastic attack was initiated by Toure as he defended possession tight by his own corner flag. The ball was moved quickly up the pitch until Riley unleashed a stunner of a delivery across the face of the target. It had just too much on it and Kayode couldn't finish it off.
It was all about the home side as they peppered the box with crosses from Riley, Anderton and Alessandra, and a long throw from Kayode caused real issues when it was allowed to bounce. Bramall had to put it over his own bar before Tanner could get something on it.
The deserved second goal came when Callum Guy timed a tackle to perfection on the halfway line. He fed it to Alessandra, and he showed poise to nick it past a sliding challenge before carrying it to the edge of the area.
Jon Mellish was in support, and the outcome was never in doubt as he rifled the cut back past the dive from Gerken to make it five goals in four games from the marauding midfielder.
Carlisle continued to press and push and they kept the visitors at arm's length whenever they tried to venture forward. The influence of Guy and Mellish in midfield was backed up well by energy from Riley as the Blues stayed well on top.
But Hayden had to head from inside his own six-yard box as a whipped delivery from Harriott angled towards Norris with the U's finally finding their feet.
It was a good spell for the away side and Farman had to dive full length to palm a curler from Harriott beyond the upright as it threatened to creep in.
And the U's got their lifeline moments before the break when the corner from that save was nodded high into the air. It was quickly recovered, and touched on by Pell, and that left Luke Norris with the simple task of nodding it into the net from close range.
A blistering shot from Poku was parried by Farman deep into time added on, and the closing stages of the first period had served as a real warning sign for United as a more confident looking away team headed down the tunnel.
Carlisle fired the first shot in anger after the break when a hooked clearance from Hayden inside his own half was nodded on by Mellish. Kayode applied another touch, and Toure took over as he went on a winding run. Kayode had tracked him and he stepped in to drill a shot from distance, but it was always heading high.
Kayode and Toure combined again, with the former peeling wide, and his low cross just needed a boot to connect as it fizzed past Gerken.
But it was Colchester who were celebrating when a rasied hand from McDonald prevented Norris from getting a clean header as a high ball came in. The referee pointed to the spot, and Norris placed the ball before stroking it home.
Carlisle looked to reassert their authority, but a header from Hayden from a Guy free kick looped high over the bar.
A thunderbolt from Joe Riley whistled just over the angle of post and bar as the Blues worked hard to regroup, but Hayden had to intervene to get a free kick delivery diverted away from goal at the other end as it skipped awkwardly off the surface.
The Cumbrians should have retaken the lead on 67 minutes when Anderton trapped the ball before giving it to Alessandra. He dropped a shoulder, twisted his man and clipped it inside for Riley to latch on to. He did just that, with a deft and neat touch, and he had just Gerken to beat as he burst clean through. He kept it low but he was disappointed to see it shave the wrong side of the post.
Sub Gav Reilly almost made an immediate impact when he went on a run before delivering a tasty outswinger. Gerken was rooted to his line as it bounced out of his reach, but it didn't threaten the target.
A series of crosses had the away defence stretched, but the ball just wouldn't drop as blue shirts tried to get the decisive touch, only to be crowded out at the vital moment.
Guy produced another beauty with 15 minutes left to play, and the slightest of glances from Kayode spun an inch too high.
And United were left with their head in their hands following more good work from Reilly. He picked out the onrushing Jon Mellish but the midfielder had to throw himself at it and that forced his toe poke wide.
But the pressure was finally made to tell on 81 minutes when another corner was kept alive. Hayden's initial header was hooked off the line, but Reilly, Kayode and Alessandra refused to allow the clearance to be made.
Captain Nick Anderton but his boot through it as he tried to bulge the net, but a partial block set it up nicely for Aaron Hayden who kept his cool as he picked his spot with his header.
Reilly was clean through and unlucky as he set himself to find the nets moments later, but he dragged his attempt just past the upright.
The lively Reilly had a penalty claim waved away in time added on, and Kayode blazed high as he tried to write his name in lights.
Farman and Hayden combined with a save and clearance in the final seconds, as Harriott came inside to shoot. The keeper parried it and Hayden slid in to complete the goal-saving action as Norris arrived with the full intention of finishing it off.
Carlisle United - Alessandra (4), Mellsh (29), Hayden (81)
Colchester United - Norris (44 & 52)
Carlisle United - Riley (21), Mellish (61), Guy (64)
Colchester United - Harriott (61), Pell (68)
Carlisle United - Farman, Tanner, Hayden, McDonald, Anderton (c), Guy, Mellish, Riley (Furman 86), Alessandra (Malley 90), Toure (Reilly 68), Kayode. Subs - Dewhurst (gk), Devine, Hunt, Charters.
Colchester United - Gerken, Bramall, Smith, Pell (c), Norris, Brown (Senior 78), Harriott, Chilvers, Scarlett (Welch-Hayes 78), Eastman, Poku (Bohui 83). Subs - George (gk), Sowunmi, Gambin, Marshall.
Referee - Martin Coy
Assistant Referee 1 - Daniel Woodward
Assistant Referee 2 - Scott Williams
Fourth Official - Peter Gooch
Attendance - behind closed doors