A run of seven games without a win had seen the Stags’ hopes of a top-seven finish fade, but goals from Colin Daniel and Reggie Lambe either side of half-time earned all three points for the visitors.
Adam Murray’s men more than held their own in an entertaining first half but squandered two early chances, the best of which fell to Matt Green, who forced an impressive save from Cumbrians goalkeeper Mark Gillespie with a powerful header.
They wouldn’t be denied moments later though when Daniel latched on to a tame clearance from a corner, lashing the ball into the net from ten yards to give the visitors a deserved lead.
The goal galvanised the hosts however, who had only hit the post with a low Alex Gilliead drive prior to conceding in a timid start.
Jason Kennedy miscued an overhead kick from eight yards on 26 minutes, before Jabo Ibehre touched wide at the near post following a low cross from the right by Kennedy.
The half-time break came at a good time for the Stags as the hosts had began to turn the screw but it was Mansfield who dealt their opponents a 62nd minute sucker-punch.
An unmarked Lambe picked up the ball on the edge of the area, before twisting and turning and firing low into the back of the net under little pressure from the Carlisle defence. Gillespie was also slow to react.
Carlisle earned a consolation strike through Tom Miller in the 94th minute but Mansfield held on to claim what could yet prove a precious victory in their hunt for a play-off place.