Town’s run in the Capital One Cup came to an end after Blues were knocked out by Carlisle at Brunton Park, losing 2-1 after extra time.
Massimo Luongo had fired Town into a first-half lead but a 90th minute equaliser from Mark Beck sent the game into extra time, where David Symington came off the bench to fire home the winner.
Paul Jewell made one change to the side that lost to Blackpool at the weekend, with Josh Carson replacing Luke Hyam in midfield after being ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Blues were looking for a response from that defeated at Bloomfield Road and an early effort from Luongo that flew wide of the goal was a signal of intent.
Town almost broke the deadlock after 12 minutes, but Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’ effort deflected just wide of Adam Collin’s goal.
Ten minutes later and Town really should have taken the lead. A great run from Lee Martin saw him beat three defenders before laying the ball off to Carson, but the teenager hit his shot straight into the legs of Collin when he would have expected to find the back of the net.
But Town’s dominance was soon rewarded as Blues opened the scoring after 23 minutes. A lovely flowing move saw the ball reach Luongo on the edge of the box and the Spurs loanee curled emphatically into the bottom corner, leaving Collin with no chance.
The hosts were looking dangerous on the counter though and almost caught Blues out on the half hour mark. Matty Robson’s cross from the left was met by the head of Danny Cadamarteri, but his effort was just too high of the goal.
The provider Robson then tried his luck four minutes later after outpacing substitute Jack Ainsley, but the winger dragged his low shot wide of Scott Loach’s far post.
Veteran striker Cadamarteri was then unfortunate to see a driven shot deflect wide of the target, after wrong-footing Loach.
Town should have extended the lead eight minutes before the break, after Chopra did superbly well to beat a couple of defenders before rushing his shot somewhat as Collin got down low to make a smart save. And the Town frontman then went close with a rising effort from 25 yards that went just over the bar, before the referee called the first-half to a halt with Blues a goal to the good.
Carlisle started the second half the brighter and Loach had to be alert in the Town goal to claw out a Cadamarteri back header four minutes after the restart.
Town came close to doubling the lead on the hour mark, but some excellent defending on the line from Carlisle right-back Bradley Potts prevented Luke Chambers’ header from crossing the line after he met Andy Drury’s centre.
Loach was then called into action at the other end with 15 minutes remaining, getting down low to smother a Robson left-footed drive from distance.
Scotland was looking sharp after coming on and he forced Collin into a smart save, with the ‘keeper tipping his low shot around the post for a corner with 12 minutes left on the clock.
The hosts almost snatched an equaliser with three minutes remaining, but substitute Beck could only volley wide after expertly taking the ball down on his chest inside the Town penalty area. A minute later and the lively Paddy Madden almost diverted a David Symington cross into the net after beating Smith at the near post.
But the Cumbrians’ dominance in the final period of the game was rewarded, as substitute Beck rose highest in the box to head past Loach and into the top corner to level the scores in the 90th minute and send the tie into extra time.
The hosts almost took the lead two minutes into extra time, with that man Beck again causing problems but the striker could only head over after evading the marking of Chambers.
Five minutes later and Collin was soon scrambling across his goal as Drury saw an effort flash just wide of the post.
But the hosts were the next to take the lead with 99 minutes on the clock. Cresswell was dispossessed on the edge of his own area by Symington, who went on to confidently fire past Loach and into the bottom corner.
The right winger then went close just after the restart, firing a half volley just wide of the far post.
Smith then had a chance to equalise for Town, as the defender expertly met Martin’s corner but he failed to keep his header on target as it bounced over the bar.
Town pressed for an equaliser which never came and exit the competition at the second round stage.
Carlisle: Collin, Berrett (Madden 55), Edwards, Murphy, Chantler, McGovern (Symington 64), Noble, Thirwell, Potts, Robson, Cadamarteri (Beck 78). Subs not used: Gillespie, Simek, Welsh, Bugno.
Booked: Noble, Edwards
Town: Loach, Edwards, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Drury, Luongo, Carson (Scotland 64), Emmanuel-Thomas (Stevenson 77), Martin, Chopra. Subs not used: Lee-Barrett, Ainsley, Delaney, Lawrence, Murray.