United were back at Brunton Park on Tuesday night for the visit of Port Vale.
A hectic transfer deadline day and a weekend weather enforced postponement at Rochdale brought starting debuts for strikers Tobi Sho-Silva and Owen Windsor, with fellow new arrivals Jamie Devitt, Mitchell Roberts and Kristian Dennis on the bench.
Winger Brennan Dickenson missed out through injury, with Callum Guy, Rod McDonald, Jon Mellish and Joel Senior also being confirmed amongst those who currently require treatment.
Joe Riley and Danny Devine were back in the fold, with Jordan Gibson and Lewis Alessandra taking a place with the substitutes.
That made it a total of seven starting changes from the last outing, and a feeling of renewed hope amongst the Carlisle faithful.
It was a disastrous start for the Cumbrians as Vale took the lead with just 48 seconds on the clock when Joe Riley first controlled expertly, but then misplaced a pass which left James Wilson with time and options. He spread it wide to Worrall, and he wheeled away to celebrate when his shot took a deflection off Armer before nestling in the bottom corner at the Warwick Road End.
United looked for an immedite response and Patrick set off on a run down the left flank, leaving two in his wake. He angled inside the final challenge from Harratt but his 23-yarder struck a thigh and swirled wide.
The Blues came again with Devine in an advanced position and his neat clipped pass put Armer into space. A low cross had to be stopped by Hall before Sho-Silva could apply a touch.
Vale had a decent chance on 15 minutes when an arrowed ball to Hussey was nodded into the area. Wilson went for a first-time volley but Howard was well-placed to cope.
There was more defending for the home side to do as Hussey and Worrall probed, but Feeney was on hand to make the clearance.
And it was two of the new boys who combined to level the scores as Omotoye showed pace and strength to ghost past his marker. The cut back was delicate, and Owen Windsor hit the afterburners to make his way into the box. He left Holy with no chance as he fizzed it low and into the back of the net.
A patient move from the visitors saw Hussey and Wilson keep things alive as white shirts flooded the area. Edmondson spotted a gap but his thunderbolt hit Simeu and Howard dived low to save.
United had a sustained spell of pressure just before the half hour as they kept the ball well around the edge of the area. Sho-Silva and Devine had efforts blocked at source, and Windsor and Whelan were eventually cancelled out as they looked for a path down the wing.
Port Vale were a whisker away from regaining the lead when Worrall somehow picked Hussey out with a wicked cross. His firm header was angled at the far corner until a United head got just enough on it to divert it wide.
Howard had to go low to save with his legs as Wilson burst through in the next attack, and the keeper showed good hands when the same player tried his luck with an unexpected snapshot from distance. It threatened to creep beneath the bar until the big stopper intervened.
Carlisle kept the ball on the floor as they passed it from left to right just before the break, with a gradual movement from their own half to the edge of the box as they sneaked their way forward. Windsor went for it as he spun on a sixpence 24-yards out but the shot was just too high.
But it was Vale who celebrated again on 43 minutes when Hussey, Edmondson and Garrity linked up to bring the dangerous James Wilson into the equation. A bullet of a drive was palmed down by Howard, but the alert striker was on the move and he got a toe to the loose pieces to crash it into the roof of the net.
It was a scrappy start to the second period, as Vale looked to slow things down, but there was a scare for the Blues when Worrall swung a great set piece into the mix. Smith met it on the full but he guided it wide from just eight yards out.
Jamie Devitt came on to make his second debut for the club with 35 minutes of the game left to play, and Jordan Gibson was also sent on, with Omotoye and Devine the players to be replaced.
It looked for a moment that a pinpoint pass from Whelan had released Gibson as United worked hard to take control, but he lost his footing as he dropped a shoulder and Walker was able to recover.
There was a heart in the mouth moment for Walker after Whelan had once again put Gibson clean through. The wide man crossed early, and the centre back had no option but to put a head on it. He sighed with relief when it dropped over the target.
Vale crafted a good chance on 68 minutes when Garrity floated a whisper of a pass to Worrall. He guided it towards the penalty spot and Harratt was mobile to get on the end of it. His volley was parried by Howard, and he was disappointed as he sent the rebound into the side netting.
A misplaced pass in the centre of the park gave Garrity a clean run and he fed it forward for Edmondson to chase. Feeney did well to make a block, and he was up quickly to execute an important second challenge.
Windsor and Gibson worked a one-two as Vale defended deep, and that gave the young West Brom forward half a sight. He let fly but it was quickly blocked.
Kristian Dennis was on for his first appearance for the club with 12 minutes left to go, but there was a mountain to climb when another gift was presented to the away team. Joe Riley looked to pass inside, but it was underhit and on a plate for former Blue David Amoo, who immediately cushioned it before bearing down on the target to finish it off.
Wilson nodded wide from a Cooper delivery as the hosts struggled to recover, and Joel Cooper went close from a training ground corner routine which found the outside of the net.
Vale stifled the game through the closing stages and they saw it out to claim the points on what was a difficult night for the home team.
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Carlisle United - Windsor (21)
Port Vale - Worrall (1), Wilson (43), Amoo (81)
Carlisle United - Howard, Riley, Feeney, Simeu, Armer, Windsor (Dennis 78), Devine (Devitt 56), Whelan (c), Patrick, Omotoye (Gibson 56), Sho-Silva. Subs - Norman, Alessandra, Fishburn, Roberts.
Port Vale - Holy, Walker, Hall, Smith, Worrall, Garrity, Wilson (Charsley 90), Hussey, Pett (c), Harratt (Amoo 68), Edmondson (Cooper 78). Subs - Stone (gk), Jones, Hurst, Robinson.
Referee - Andrew Kitchen
Assistant Referee 1 - David Avent
Assistant Referee 2 - Geoffrey Liddle
Fourth Official - Paul Marsden
Observer - Brian Parry
Coach - Graham Laws
Attendance - 3,379 (240)