A determined performance saw Exeter City take all three points through a last minute Padraig Amond header.
A frustrating afternoon looked to finish goalless before Amond's last gasp nod sent the travelling 403 away fans wild.
City were dominant throughout but were unable to convert multiple chances with Offrande Zanzala and Tim Dieng troubling a busy Mark Howard in the Carlisle goal.
Carlisle rarely threatened though Cam Dawson was on hand to tip over a late chance for the hosts to keep his sixteenth clean sheet of the season.
Matt Jay was the only change to the team, with Callum Rowe making way for the skipper, following an impressive run of starts for the Grecians since his return from Bath City.
An early chance fell for Zanzala in the opening three minutes with Jay threading a ball through towards the target man who was unable to poke the ball past Howard in the Carlisle goal.
It was a lively start to proceedings for City who were looking to reward the travelling Grecians with speculative shots from Pierce Sweeney and Tim Dieng to round off the first ten minutes.
Looking to make it a memorable 30th birthday, Dieng narrowly missed the target following a Jevani Brown corner with a shot rolling wide of the left post in the 11th minute.
The chances kept falling for City with multiple balls into the box towards Zanzala. Crosses from wide men Jack Sparkes and Josh Key narrowly missed the stretching efforts of Oz.
It looked as if City were destined to take the lead 25th following a quick break from the half-way line. Some impressive play from Jay down the right-hand side found Key, whose intelligent ball found Jevani in space inside the box, but a sloppy touch from the striker provided relief for Carlisle who dealt with the danger.
The first piece of work for Cam Dawson came in the 31st minute as the hosts looked to make their first attack of the match. Striker Omari Patrick snuck a shot on target following some quick passing around the edge of the Grecian box, but the shot landing into the hands of a grateful Dawson.
But minutes later City found themselves back on top, as MJ took on an ambitious shot from outside the box, but frustratingly for the Grecians, a stretching Howard was able to push the ball wide of the left post.
Another massive chance came and went for City as the resulting corner found the head of Dieng. The Frenchman’s bullet header was saved once again by Howard, as the keeper continued to keep his team in the first-half.
As half-time approached, the 43rd minute saw some patient play inside the Carlisle half result in a Josh Key cross. The defender dinked the ball in the direction of the back-right post, but just past Oz who was unable to stretch his head onto the ball.
The positive momentum stayed with City at the start of the second period, as some clever play from MJ moved the ball into the path of Dieng. The Frenchman unleashed a shot from inside the box but a wonderful save from Howard once again denied Tim.
The following ten minutes saw little between the two teams, as the City faithful continued to support the Grecians.
The 67th minute saw City continued to battle, Brown played a delicate ball through the hosts back-line towards the overlapping Key, but the wide-man’s dangerous ball struggled to find a teammate.
Following a surprising decision, Carlisle were awarded a free-kick in the 72nd minute. A searching ball from the right was aimed towards the back-post, but City headed the ball out for a corner.
The corner found the head of Mitch Roberts, but an impressive save from Cam tipped the ball over the bar.
Despite a slight shift in momentum, the 77th minute saw City break from the half-way line with Jevani playing substitute Josh Coley through on goal, but a stumble from the attacker finished the move abruptly.
After a quiet spell of play, City finally broke the deadlock on the 88th minute. An Archie Collins corner was directed towards the back post of Dieng. The Frenchman’s cushioned header found substitute Podge Amond who was able to klick the ball past the helpless Howard into the bottom-right corner.
City continued to hold out in the closing minutes, resulting in determined win at Brunton Park.
Exeter City: Dawson, Key, Sweeney, Hartridge, Stubbs, Sparkes (Caprice 77’), Collins, Dieng, Jay © (Coley 77’), J. Brown, Zanzala ( Amond 57’)
Subs: S.Brown, Diabate, Caprice, Rowe, Coley, Phillips, Amond
Carlisle United: Howard, Mellor, Devine, McDonald, Simeu, Dickenson, Mellish, Feeney ©, Gibson, Patrick, Dennis
Subs: Norman, Riley, Whelan, Toure, Silva, Roberts, Omotoye
Referee: Tom Nield
Attendance: 5,132 (403 away)