United were back on the road following a run of four home games with a trip through the rigours of Storm Barra to Mansfield.
There were two changes from Saturday's FA Cup meeting with Shrewsbury with Jon Mellish back from his suspension and Jordan Gibson moved up and into the starting eleven.
Both sides had flirtations in each other's halves early in the game, with a Lapslie cross cleared and a Guy free kick allowed to skip through, but it stayed tight with the defences doing their jobs.
But the Stags had the lead with just six minutes on the clock when Charsley pulled wide with the ball. He fed it back to Hewitt, and his deep delivery found McLaughlin completely unmarked at the far post. He thundered a powerful header into the back of the net from close range.
Dickenson and Armer combined to try to fashion an early response and the drilled pass into the six-yard area had Abrahams interested. Bishop was off his line smartly and he pulled the ball out of the air.
A looped, high corner from Guy followed and Dickenson battled with his marker to get a touch. His header had direction but it was easy for Bishop to take.
Abrahams was tenacious when a pass was floated down the right flank, and he shrugged Forrester out of the way before angling his run at the area. His shot curled but the stopper had watched it all the way.
Mansfield worked their way through the middle of the park when Lapslie came out of a tackle with the ball at his feet in the centre circle. Bowery took over, and he sent Charsley clean through, dead central. His shot was saved on the stretch by Howard, and Maris sprinted in to try to finish it off. His toe poke took a touch off the recovering McDonald and flew over the bar.
The Stags came again when Quinn overlapped on the left and his low cross had to be hooked away by Feeney.
Dickenson and Whelan almost picked a path at the other end, and a corner brought an inswinger from the left winger that was met at the front stick by McDonald. That header was going in until a touch from O'Toole sent it wide.
Another deep set piece caught Charsley off-balance and his miscued header caused all kinds of problems as it dropped out of the night sky. Bishop tipped it onto the bar, but it fell invitingly onto the line. The alert glovesman was the first to react and he gathered it in with some amount of relief.
Mansfield became wasteful with possession and Young was onto a loose pass in a flash, before he set off on a run. He rolled it to Abrahams, and his instinctive piledriver from 28-yards was straight at Bishop.
More good work from Young earned a corner as he twisted and turned his way past two challenges, and United kept the pressure on as they looked to find the telling ball. That almost came when Guy nicked it back as he latched onto a clearance on the left wing. He let one fly and it took a wicked deflection, leaving Bishop as a spectator on the floor. He was relieved once again to see it spin away to safety.
The start to the second period was scrappy, and it wasn't until the 59th minute that either side made headway. That came when Guy sent Whelan wide, but the cross looped onto the roof of the net.
Mansfield showed when McLaughlin skipped into the box to cut it back for Bowery to strike. He dummied, and Hewitt arrived to lift it into space. Bowery lunged to volley but that was charged down.
Substitute Kelvin Mellor had a low delivery from the right swiped away just after he came on, and Dickenson earned a corner when his clipped pass came off O'Toole.
It was a better spell from the visitors, and they thought they'd scored when Dickenson delivered a wicked corner to the front post. Fishburn flicked it, and it was going in until it struck a body - possibly Morgan Feeney - on the line.
United came again and Mellor went for it from distance. Dickenson helped it on its way, but his toe poke sent it high and into the stands.
Chances were at a premium, with frustration for both teams as good situations went begging. Carlisle kept going, and Fishburn found the ball at his feet inside the box in time added on. Three yellow shirts converged to smother the moment.
And Gibson was denied when he unleashed a cruncher from 23-yards. Bishop was beaten, but it smashed against the bar and dropped too far out of reach of the onrushing strikers.
Mellish glanced a difficult header wide as the seconds ran out, and the same player won a free kick with what was almost certain to be the last attack of the night. Dickenson took it, but it whipped untouched into the keeper's hands.
Mansfield Town - McLaughlin (6)
Mansfield Town - Bowery (64), O'Toole (70)
Mansfield Town - Bishop, McLaughlin, Hewitt, Charsley, Bowery, Maris (Sinclair 86), Quinn (c), Forrester (Rawson 57), Stirk, Lapslie, O'Toole. Subs - Shelvey (gk), Nartey, Burke, Law, Gale.
Carlisle United - Howard, Whelan, McDonald, Feeney, Armer, Gibson, Mellish, Guy (c) (Mellor 64), Dickenson, Abrahams (Fishburn 64), Young (Devine 78). Subs - Norman (gk), Dinzeyi, Charters, Mampala.
Referee - Neil Hair
Assistant Referee - Paul Graham
Assistant Referee - Wayne Grunnill
Fourth Official - Steven Rushton
Observer - John Jones
Attendance - 3,695 (133)