Cambridge United’s unbeaten run of five in League Two came to an end as Carlisle United edged out the U’s 1-2 at the Abbey Stadium.
Reggie Lambe pulled a late goal back for United, but in truth they had left themselves a little too much to do having fallen behind to goals from Lewis Alessandra and Nick Anderton.
The U’s lined up with two changes as Liam O’Neil and Paul Lewis missed the contest through injury, and Samir Carruthers and Victor Adeboyejo replaced the pair in the starting eleven.
United opted to play against the wind in the first half, but seemed to get to grips with the conditions early on. Greg Taylor made an important defensive block ten minutes to put off Jon Mellish who looked certain to hammer home a rebound after Callum Burton had parried a save into the path of the Carlisle man.
Mark Bonner was forced into an early substitution when Idris El-Mizouni picked up a leg injury inside the first 15 minutes and was replaced by former Carlisle player Reggie Lambe.
United’s first opening came midway through the half as a result of good endeavour from Lambe, who harried the visitors in midfield to win possession before Carruthers played through a charging Adeboyejo. The striker didn’t quite set his shot wide enough of Adam Collin however, with the keeper grasping it in the middle of the target.
Callum Burton then made a smart stop four minutes later, watching Harry McKirdy’s effort from 20 yards closely enough to palm it over the top.
However, he was helpless to stop Lewis Alessandra breaking the deadlock from the resulting corner after a scrappy delivery bounced around the box before being fired in from eight yards out by the striker.
Omari Patrick skewed another effort wide from inside the U’s area soon after, as it became apparent the hosts would need to keep the deficit to just the one going into the break. Bonner’s men did that and actually had their best spell on the ball in the final moments of the half.
After the break United couldn’t really get anything going in an attacking sense though and Mark Bonner elected to change it up 20 minutes from time, with Jack Roles and Andrew Dallas brought into the fold.
However another set piece undid the U’s when a long free kick forward was headed back across goal by Aaron Hayden, and whilst Burton was able to save the first effort, Nick Anderton buried the follow up to double the visitor’s advantage on 71 minutes.
Just as the U’s looked to be dead and buried in the contest, Reggie Lambe produced a moment out of nowhere when he drilled in a half volley from 18 yards that pulled a goal back.
But despite a couple of dangerous deliveries in from Jack Roles and a fierce effort by Carruthers which Collin palmed over, the visitors held out.
Cambridge United: Burton, Knoyle, Taylor, Darling, Dunk, Maris, Carruthers, Davies (Roles, 69 mins), El-Mizouni (Lambe, 13 mins), Adeboyejo (Dallas, 69 mins), Mullin
Carlisle United: Collin, Mellish, Hayden, Jones, Alessandra (Olomola, 80 mins), McKirdy (Bridge, 86 mins), Watt (Charters, 70 mins), Jones, Webster, Anderton, Patrick
Bookings: Hayden, Webster, McKirdy, Olomola, Charters
Attendance: 4,122 (339)
Jackson Fire & Security Man of the Match: Harrison Dunk