Gary Madine`s sixth goal of the season clinched a slender 1-0 victory for Carlisle and made Notts County pay for a host of wasted opportunities.
It was Carlisle's first league goal at Brunton Park since August but, until they broke the deadlock in the 68th minute, the Cumbrians had to defend desperately at times to keep out the Magpies.
With first-half possession fairly even it was County who created the better chances and Kevin Smith should have put them in front after 24 minutes when he worked an opening only to see his shot blocked at the expense of a corner.
Smith then turned provider for Craig Westcarr, whose glancing header from eight yards bounced inches wide of Adam Collin's right-hand post with the United keeper well beaten.
Carlisle's main threat stemmed from Ivory Coast midfielder Francois Zoko who twice tested keeper Rob Burch after mazy runs.
And the visitors were made to pay for their profligacy when Carlisle grabbed the only goal of the game midway through the second half. Sub Matty Robson fired the ball in from the left and Madine pounced to steer a low first-time shot past Burch from six yards.