United's first game of 2022 took them to Glanford Park to face Scunthorpe United.
Manager Keith Millen went with the same attacking duo as was used in United's last outing three weeks ago, with Jon Mellish partnered with teenager Sam Fishburn.
The midfield quartet of Gibson, Guy, Whelan (the only change from that Stevenage game; in for Devine) and Dickenson were charged with supplying the ammunition, along with helping to shore things up when out of possession.
There was an early chance for the away team when Armer overlapped on the left flank. He whipped a cross in, and Fishburn's glanced header took Watson out of the equation. The stranded stopper was relieved to see it drop wide.
Mellish then won a corner through sheer tenacity on the other side of the pitch, but it was low and hard from Dickenson and the Iron dealt with it at the front stick.
Scunthorpe responded with a good move that saw Hippolyte create space. His cross was a teaser but Feeney got enough on it to prevent Loft from finding a touch.
It was a lively start from both teams and Green blazed over from distance when he cut inside as the hosts pushed on. The same player twice had deliveries plucked out of the sky when he tried to cause problems.
Hippolyte was presented with an unexpected chance on 20 minutes when a clipped pass from Guy struck Whelan, as he turned to run. The winger dropped a shoulder and let one fly but Howard was comfortable and he watched on as it bobbled past the post.
Quick feet from Gibson saw him beat his man in the centre circle and Mellish called for it as he pulled away from his marker. He put his left foot through it as he reached the edge of the area but it was straight at Watson, and he gobbled it up.
Hackney sent a speculative effort well wide from 30-yards as things remained tight, but Bunn knocked on the door when he got on the end of a raking pass from Green. His 12-yard header was going in until McDonald threw himself in the way to divert it over the bar.
McDonald was there again to get the slightest of touches when Pugh swept a dipper into the mix and that, again, was enough to leave Loft beating the floor in frustration. Hippolyte took a quick, short corner and his follow-up shot whistled past the upright.
United got forward in numbers moments later and Mellish shrugged a challenge off to cross low. That was half-cleared and Guy controlled with his chest before drilling a 22-yarder at Watson.
Howard was off his line sharply to deny Bunn when he beat the offside trap as things ebbed and flowed. The keeper stayed big and the attempted toe poke through the legs was stopped by the alert glovesman.
The black shirts hit the bar just past the half hour when Dickenson sent a wide free kick towards the back post. McDonald guided his header over Watson from a tight angle and he was unfortunate to see it strike the top of the woodwork as it dropped out of the sky.
Superb defending from Feeney saw him recover quickly after a touch from Bunn had put Loft clean through. He hesitated as he skipped into the box, and that allowed the centre back to slide in and make a vital block. The corner eventually fell for Pugh to hit, but another brave intervention meant Howard was untroubled.
Carlisle got on the front-foot again through Mellish when he came out of a ruck with the ball at his feet. He pulled it back and Hackney went for safety first when he sliced it into the stands.
Guy took the resulting corner and McDonald said thank you very much as he powered a header at the target from close range. It struck Pugh, and he could do nothing as it spun into the air and over the line to give the big defender his first goal for the club.
Mellish was excellent again when he switched flanks to tear down the right. His cross on the sprint whizzed across the face of goal and Green shepherded it away.
A Dickenson free kick was met by Mellish and McDonald in tine added on for the half as they tried to add to the tally, but the home side broke and O'Malley was disappointed when he rattled a poor shot into the away fan section of the terrace.
There were just 20 second on the second half clock when Gibson stole possession deep inside his own territory. He got his head down and turned defence into attack, carrying the ball to the edge of the area. His shot had direction but it lacked the venom it needed.
A short corner from Hippolyte took a wicked deflection and Howard had to shut the gap at the front stick as it spun nastily off the surface. It came off his thigh and Mellish completed the clearance.
United were flagged offside just as Fishburn was chopped to the floor by Watson, after he'd got on the end of a Dickenson outswinger, and as he looked to follow up his initial touch. There were loud appeals for the spot kick, but the assistant had already made his decision.
Guy did well to volley a set piece from O'Malley away from the six-yard box, and referee Ben Toner ignored the screams for a penalty when Hackney went down inside the area when the corner pinged around untouched.
Gibson was then fouled as he regained possession, giving Dickenson the chance to deliver. It needed headers from Loft and Taft to keep it out.
The run of dead ball situations continued, and it was Davis who got on the end of another rasper when he jumped high. It bounced up off the ground and Howard marshalled it on its way.
Another deep corner was met at the far post by Whelan and McDonald beat his man once again to make it his. Mellish and Fishburn tried to get there but Watson scooped it up.
A half-block on a Dickenson 25-yarder was next to cause problems, but it was a difficult header for Gibson to make as it took an age to fall his way. The keeper was able to take his time with the save.
The corner count was high, and Howard had to be attentive when Taft got on the end of one from O'Malley with 20 minutes left to play. The header had zip but the hands were safe.
Substitute Harry Lewis crunched one through bodies as the Iron looked to make some clear-cut chances, but Howard was in the right place at the right time yet again as he dropped low to gather it in.
More trickery from Gibson took him through two reckless challenges in midfield but the door was closed as he checked back to make the shot.
A chance was gifted to Gibson on 82 minutes when a poor clearance gave him the opening to shoot. Watson had plenty to say as he calmed things down.
Fishburn was close to opening his account when he threw himself at a Dickenson cross, but his touch took the ball beyond the far post.
Scunthorpe were awarded a free kick 24-yards out in the second minute of time added and it was hearts in the mouths time as Hackney went for glory. He got it up and over the wall but it also screamed over the target.
Hallam volleyed an inch past the post as the visitors worked hard to stay ahead, and Mellish prodded one wide at the other end as the away contingent set themselves to celebrate.
But they had to endure another corner, which they were able to do as it ricocheted to safety off Hallam, and that sparked the celebrations behind the goal.
Carlisle United - McDonald (40)
Scunthorpe United - Rowe (35), Hackney (52)
Carlisle United - Dickenson (59)
Scunthorpe United - Watson, O'Malley, Taft, Green, Loft (Lewis 63), Hippolyte, Rowe (Scrimshaw 72), Bunn, Pugh (Hallam 80), Davis (c), Hackney. Subs - Billson (gk), Millen, Kenyon, Gallimore.
Carlisle United - Howard, Mellor, McDonald, Feeney, Armer, Gibson, Guy (c) (Devine 80), Whelan, Dickenson, Mellish, Fishburn. Subs - Norman (gk), Riley, Charters, Ellis, Young.
Referee - Ben Toner
Assistant Referee 1 - David Avent
Assistant Referee 2 - Declan Ford
Fourth Official - Hristo Karaivanov
Observer - John Jones
Attendance - 3,020 (276)