United hosted pace-setters Forest Green Rovers at Brunton Park on Saturday afternoon as they returned to league action following the midweek outing in the Papa John's Trophy.
There were four changes to the starting eleven from the Sutton away trip, with Lewis Alessandra, Jordan Gibson, Rod McDonald and Kelvin Mellor making way for Morgan Feeney, Jonathan Dinzeyi, Gime Toure and Brad Young.
Gibson and McDonald were ruled out through injury, and the Tuesday night brace for Villa loanee Young saw him make the step up.
There was action at both ends in what was a fast-paced opening with Dinzeyi doing well defensively to keep Stevens at bay when the ball came in.
The big Arsenal loanee put a deep delivery from Bernard behind when Rovers came again, and Feeney was equally as attentive when the corner dropped at the front stick.
United showed real intent when Dickenson robbed possession on the halfway line on six minutes, and his run angled him towards the corner of the box. The expected challenge didn't come, and the crowd screamed for a shot as McGee came off his line. It lacked conviction and it was pulled wide of the post.
United were close again when Young and Toure kept a flighted ball alive inside the area. Guy snapped at heels to win the half clearance and Dickenson took a touch before shooting low. He drilled it across the face of the target but it bent away and fizzed harmlessly behind.
Magnus Norman was needed when Cadden whisked a well-taken free kick from the left touchline strong and hard at head height. Moore-Taylor connected with a fierce downward header but the keeper spread himself to make a top class block.
United broke at pace and Dickenson trapped before feeding it to Armer. His cross looked to be perfect but Toure was muscled out of the way as he reached the penalty spot.
Back at the other end and space was worked for Adams to beat the offside trap. He did just that, but his shot on the run was weak and Norman watched it on its way.
A great move was sparked when Dickenson and Whelan combined to release Mellish. His pass was behind Young, when he ran in from 17-yards, and Toure was marked out of it as Bernard hooked it high.
Dickenson shot from distance as the Blues came again, but a deflection took it for a corner. Guy had two bites of the cherry to put it in there but it was Rovers who got the vital first touches.
Forest were on the break on 24 minutes when Stevens put Wilson on the overlap. The striker continued his run having offloaded it to the right back, and he was set to volley the cross into the net from close range until Adams threw himself at it. That wrong-footed both players, and Stevens was furious with his team mate as he watched his volley skew off his boot.
It was McGee's turn to pull off a wonder save on 26 minutes when Riley recovered a clearance from a Guy free kick. A clever pass released Guy once more, and his instinctive cross was flicked on by Mellish. Young got his head to it, but the stopper somehow got down to claw it off the line. Toure and Young tried to follow up, but the moment was gone.
The Cumbrians were undone by a set piece on 29 minutes when Stevens thrashed one into the six-yard area. Jamille Matt made it his own, and Norman could do nothing as the forward caught it on the half volley.
There was an immediate opportunity to level things up when Toure met a grasscutter as he once again timed a good run into the danger area. He couldn't keep it down and it spooned high over the target.
United were made to pay for the miss when Cadden ran clean through moments later. He had just one thing in mind and Norman could do nothing as a rasping, drilled shot bulged the bottom corner.
Tenacity from Wilson then took him beyond Armer just before the break, and Stevens was there for the header until Feeney got a touch. Norman gathered the second inswinger before Matt could get onto it.
The Blues had the first foray after the break when they worked their way patiently down the left wing. It came to Young, who had his back to goal, and his shot on the turn was diverted away.
Riley then nipped in to take it away from Bernard, a yard away from the halfway line, and he continued his run when it opened up in front of him. A powerful effort was blocked by Moore-Taylor.
Rovers showed when Cadden used pace to get away from Riley and deliver. Norman dived out to parry, and he was relieved to see Dinzeyi clear it off the line after it had rebounded back off the big defender and screwed its way towards the nets.
Forward Brad Young was a real bright spark and he used his strength to keep the ball as he came under close scrutiny. He won the free kick, but that was put behind as Feeney jumped to get there.
Toure miscued one over the bar and a Guy thunderbolt was charged down, and Tristan Abrahams was close to getting a telling first touch on 67 minutes when Dickenson spun a pass through the back line. It had just too much on it and McGee made it his.
There was a scare as the Blues pushed men forward leaving space at the back. Cadden went into the gap, and his clipped pass brought Norman scampering out. He got there before Adams could touch it to make the save, and took a hefty kick in the ribs for his trouble.
Aitchison volleyed at Norman from a Cadden delivery as the pace of the game slowed, and Wilson curled wide for the visitors after he'd dropped a shoulder when he bent a run from the right wing.
A free kick close to the corner flag from Clough caused problems as it pinged around. Dickenson recovered it, and his cruncher ricocheted its way to Dinzeyi. He caught a volley on the sweet spot but it was once again charged down at source.
Abrahams popped a cross from Guy wide in time added on, when he got his head to it in a congested area, but Forest Green shut up shop as they claimed the points.
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Forest Green Rovers - Matt (29), Cadden (32)
Carlisle United - Dickenson (45), Abrahams (90)
Forest Green Rovers - Hendry (60)
Carlisle United - Norman, Riley, Feeney, Dinzeyi, Armer (Bell 80), Guy, Whelan, Mellish, Toure (Abrahams 66), Young (Clough 71), Dickenson. Subs - Jensen (gk), Mellor, Alessandra, Charters.
Forest Green Rovers - McGee, Wilson, Bernard, Sweeney (Cargill 52), Stevenson, Adams, Stevens (Aitchison 71), Cadden, Matt (c), Moore-Taylor, Hendry (March 90). Subs - Thomas (gk), Evans, Young, Diallo.
Referee - Samuel Barrott
Assistant Referee 1 - Daniel Woodward
Assistant Referee 2 - David Avent
Fourth Official - Ross Joyce
Observer - Mick Brown
Attendance - 3,963 (114 away fans)