United made the short trip to Gillford Park for their Cumberland Cup semi-final meeting with Carlisle City.
And they were put the test as the hosts battled for every ball.
City attacked first when Simpson pushed the ball wide to Palmer. His cross had venom but it was just too deep.
United responded with a huge kick from Norman that was chased by Omotoye. He won a corner, which was smartly taken, and Windsor wasted no time in getting it into the mix.
Carlisle came again when Alessandra showed patience midway inside the City half. He fed it to Dixon and Townsley had to block with his legs as a low effort flew at him.
There was a good period of pressure for the home side as they got the ball forward early and with purpose on a number of occasions. Kerr was disappointed when he got on the end of one such punt from his stopper only to curl it an inch wide of the upright.
Kerr had another half chance when an awkward bounce came his way, but his touch lacked power and Norman gathered it in.
United started to find some passes and a quickly taken free kick from Alessandra sent Toure on a run down the right flank. He fed it to Omotoye, and the striker made no mistake as he swiped it into the bottom corner.
Former-Blue Dan Kirkup went in the book for a late challenge on Toure just before the break, and there was controversy as the whistle blew for the break with the hosts pushing forward on the attack.
A run from Omotoye at the start of the second period opened things up for Alessandra, but his shot skewed high as it bobbled off the surface at point of contact.
Lewis Bell overlapped moments later and a teasing cross eventually came to Omotoye. Townsley did well to beat the piledriver away, and the rooted keeper was happy to see the follow up from Dixon go wide.
City crafted a decent opening on 55 minutes when Kerr delivered from the right hand side. Irving challenged, and the ball sat up for Palmer to hit. He was slightly off-balance and it bulged the side netting.
The home side were back on terms on the hour when a kick from deep skipped up, inviting the mobile Jordan Holt to shoot. He took it on the half-volley and Norman could do nothing as it flashed past his dive.
Charlie Watt lasted just seven minutes when he came off the bench. He was first booked for a foul on Kelly, then for another on Palmer, and was given his marching orders.
Jordan Irving put the ball on the spot after the second of the offences, a hack inside the box, and he made no mistake as he smashed the ball straight down the middle and into the net.
Carlisle went close late in the day when Omotoye twisted to find space to shoot. It was thunderous, and Townsley had to go full length to push it past the post.
The corner went deep, and Kilsby sent it back into the mix. There was an almighty scramble but Kirkup stepped in to send it to safety.
The hosts did well to tick the clock down through the latter stages, and there was a loud roar which accompanied the final whistle and progression for City to the April final against Wetheriggs.
Carlisle City - Holt (60), Irving (73 pen)
Carlisle United - Omotoye (34)
Carlisle City - Kirkup (44)
Carlisle United - Watt (69 & 72 sent off)
Carlisle City - Townsley, Olsen, Kelly, Bowman, Kirkup, Holt, Kerr (Studholme 76), Simpson (c), Irving (Grandison 84), Seggie, Palmer (Hartley 90). Subs - Johnstone, A Roberts.
Carlisle United - Norman, L Bell, Ellis, Kilsby, M Roberts, Alessandra, Dixon, Windsor, Toure (Watt 64), Fishburn, Omotoye. Subs - Breeze, Potts, Bollado, Carr.
Referee - Alan Charters
Assistant - Callum Black
Assistant - Ben Whitfield
Attendance - 520