ROB PAGE scored his first Town goal, but it was scant consolation for the centre-back after the defence was breached for the first time since his arrival.
The former Coventry man showed power and precision in volleying home in the 87th minute.
But Carlisle, who led through defender Danny Livesey (20 minutes) and striker Danny Graham (76) held out for a deserved club-record 10th successive home league win.
Town were undone by two set-pieces when the Cumbrians won 2-0 at the Galpharm in August, and the same thing happened at Brunton Park last night, when they were chasing a fifth successive clean sheet.
The first rewarded the home side’s early domination, although Town manager Andy Ritchie claimed there was an offside in the build-up to the corner which led to Livesey’s strike, crashed home after Joe Garner had flicked on former Bradford man Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s flag kick from the Carlisle left.
The second, stabbed home by Graham after Town failed to clear another Bridge-Wilkinson corner (conceded when Matt Glennon tipped away a Garner header which was already going wide), came after the visitors had made a much better fist of the second half, with Carlisle fortunate not to have been pegged back.
With pace all over the pitch and neat passing from midfield, it was easy to see why John Ward’s team are riding high, and Graham set the tone for the first half when he tested former Carlisle keeper Glennon in the opening minute.
Glennon did well to parry frontman Garner’s sixth-minute shot, then smother winger Cleveland Taylor’s follow-up, and Town were lucky when Garner, given far too much space, shot wide after seven minutes.
Chris Brandon, preferred to Danny Schofield on the left of midfield, had Town’s first effort in the 10th minute, but was off target after Andy Booth, back in for late injury victim Luke Beckett, flicked on Nathan Clarke’s long throw.
But Carlisle were soon back on the attack, and Page did well to block Garner’s 14th-minute shot before Glennon denied the lively Taylor a minute later.
Winger Simon Hackney tried his luck from distance just a minute after Livesey made the breakthrough, and while Booth tested Keiron Westwood with a well-placed header from Michael Collins’ 23rd-minute cross, Glennon was by far the busier of the two keepers.
Having watched Taylor’s 33rd-minute shot fly wide, he saved defender Peter Murphy’s 20-yard free-kick then blocked with his foot from Graham a minute later.
And James Berrett, who took injured captain Jon Worthington’s central midfield berth, did well to block a Bridge-Wilkinson drive as Town led a charmed life.
At least the visitors came to life late in the half.
Collins should have stretched Westwood more with a 41st-minute shot from Phil Jevons’ pull-back, and was only denied by the quick reflexes of the stopper as he tried to exploit Evan Horwood’s weak header back in stoppage time.
It was Town who forced the pace at the start of the second half, and it took a clearance off the line from Hackney to deny Frank Sinclair, who met Robbie Williams’ 62nd-minute free-kick with a firm header which was heading for the top corner.
Soon after Westwood managed to clutch onto Booth’s header from Andy Holdsworth’s cross.
Carlisle were still dangerous on the counter, however, and Glennon parried Murphy’s 67th-minute header before diving bravely at the feet of Taylor while Williams got back well to thwart Graham as he broke through on 71 minutes.
Graham’s goal gave Carlisle a cushion, but there were a few nervy home fans in a 6,196 crowd after 33-year-old Page struck with only his sixth career goal.
Westwood, Raven, Livesey, Murphy, Horwood, Taylor, Bridge-Wilkinson, Lumsdon, Hackney, Garner (Carlton, 78mins), Graham.
Subs not used: Howarth, Arnison, J Smith, G Smith.
Cautions: Horwood, Lumsdon.
Couldn’t do much about either goal and produced some brave saves to deny Carlisle a higher tally.
Worked hard to contain the tricky Simon Hackney and was unlucky not to score with a second-half header.
Helped keep Cleveland Taylor fairly quiet and produced some decent deliveries.
No shortage of industry but missed his sparring partner Jon Worthington against a busy home midfield.
Steady display, especially since he was walking a tightrope after a 25th-minute caution.
Will be disappointed to lose his winning record with Town, but played well and scored a good goal.
Not his most dominant display, but no faulting his application and workrate on the right of midfield.
Handed a third start in the absence of injured skipper Worthington and didn’t let anyone down.
Made first start in eight after Luke Beckett pulled out injured. Unlucky with a couple of headers.
Plenty of running, but unable to make a breakthrough against an unyielding home defence.
Always lively in attack and worked hard to provide defensive cover on his first start in five games.
Malvin Kamara for Berrett, 77mins; David Mirfin for Clarke, 82mins. Not used: Danny Schofield, Joe Skarz, Alex Smithies.Cautions: Clarke, Berrett.