Super sub Craig Farrell powered home his first goal of the season to finally break through the Crawley Town ranks and give Carlisle United their fourth league win in a row.
Peter Murphy's looping cross deceived keeper Phil Smith allowing Farrell to take full advantage.
Until Farrell's timely intervention, Smith had performed heroics, offering the visitors a small glimmer of hope against the constant Cumbrians barrage.
Several key saves by Smith as well as Brendan McGill's drive against the post kept Town in the game, until Fiston Manuella's 49th minute sending-off allowed Carlisle to push further forward.
Earlier in the second half, Crawley's first shot on goal almost opened the scoring when substitute Adrian Deane struck the woodwork with a 25-yard drive.
The visitors began to find space in the home defence and were unlucky when Neil Jenkins' shot was cleared off the line before Charlies Mapes had two efforts saved at close range by Matt Glennon.
But with the game heading towards a stalemate, Farrell rose to head in, allowing a collective sigh of relief to echo around the ground.