Jack Watson’s seventh minute strike was all that separated Rovers and Carlisle in the U18s Youth Alliance Cup despite a dominant performance by Rovers.
Paul Stancliffe’s side made it two wins from three in their group, keeping them in the mix for qualification ahead of their away trip to Fleetwood in November.
The goal came from Rovers’ first opportunity of the game as Will McGowan curled his pass around the Carlisle defence to find Jack Watson who calmly finished into the bottom right corner.
It went from jubilation to commiseration for Watson as was injured just ten minutes later, resulting in him being replaced by Luca Nelson.
Carlisle struggled to assert any presence in the game, not taking their few chances when they came. Any snapshots which came their way ended up over the crossbar.
Some fantastic attacking football was displayed when Junior Smith floated a ball into the box, meeting the head of Marius Conradi who beat Carlisle’s keeper. Celebrations were cut short, however, as he was flagged offside.
Conradi was once again involved in an attack for Rovers, this time he was off target dragging his shot wide of the goalkeepers bottom left corner.
Lirak Hasani completed his first 45-minutes of football since suffering his injury and was consequently substituted at half-time for Charlie Bell to manage his return to action.
Captain Ben Blythe led by example, pushing the team forward with a piercing run down the left wing but there was little support on offer to help make the attack clinical.
A shot from an acute angle came in via Liam Ravenhill forcing the hosts’ goalkeeper into a clawing save.
Ben Bottomley was given little work to do by the Carlisle forwards, but he was called into action late on - the home side’s centre forward headed straight into the keeper's arms.
Some excellent individual work from Smith came next as he chopped the ball past three defenders but was offered little help in the box which took the sting out of any attack Rovers could formulate.
Next up for the U18s is a trip to the One Call Stadium as they face Mansfield Town on October 29.