Orient remained unchanged from the side that picked up an impressive victory away at Newport County at the weekend.
The only alteration saw Tristan Abrahams, who was ineligible to play against his parent club on Saturday, return to the bench in place of Hector Kyprianou, who is currently away on international duty with Cyprus’ U21’s.
Carlisle went into this one with the third best home record in the division, and they almost got off to a flyer at Brunton Park.
A late tackle from Tunji Akinola gave Callum Guy a set piece opportunity some 25 yards from goal. The midfielder stepped up and whipped an effort around the wall and into Lawrence Vigouroux’s side netting.
Orient’s first shot on goal came five minutes later. The ball sat up nicely for Danny Johnson on the edge of the box and he hit a half volley on the turn that forced Paul Farman into an acrobatic save.
As the first half wore on, the Cumbrians began to assert their authority on the game with a flurry of corners. The most threatening of which saw centre back Rhys Bennett head just wide of the far post from Guy’s out-swinging delivery.
As well as their threat from corners, Chris Beech’s side also continued to look dangerous from Lewis Alessandra’s long throws. Five minutes before the break, one of those throws broke back to Alessandra and he delivered a cross onto the head of Aaron Hayden, the defender nodded one narrowly wide in what was the last chance of a cagey first half.
Just a minute into the second period, the home side came a whisker away from breaking the deadlock. A low cross found Offrande Zanzala in the box, the Congolese forward then turned and hit one that deflected narrowly wide of Vigoruoux’s far post via the foot of Dan Happe.
It was a windy evening in Cumbria, and Dan Kemp almost used the conditions to his advantage when he swung a looping corner underneath Farman’s crossbar. The winger’s effort proved awkward enough to force the Carlisle ‘keeper to tip the ball over.
As the clock ticked past the hour mark, Beech’s side once again went close. Joe Widdowson’s loose pass presented Dean Furman with the ball on the edge of the box, the South African then cut inside and flashed a shot wide.
Shortly afterwards, Wilkinson almost gave the O’s the lead with a sublime effort. The former Bolton man showed incredible close control to juggle the ball away from Hayden and hit a half volley that had Farman beaten all ends up, however his dipping strike ended up on the roof of the opposition net.
Interim Manager McAnuff made his first change in the 73rd minute. The former Jamaican international substituted himself in order to hand Louis Dennis his first appearance in an O’s shirt since January, following a spell out injured.
With under ten minutes to play, Orient’s top scorer Johnson pounced on a ball over the top that Bennett had misjudged, the ‘DJ’ then scooped one which landed just short of Farman’s net.
Vigouroux’s excellent distribution has been a theme of this season, and on more than one occasion the Chilean has threatened to claim an assist to his name. And with three minutes to play in this one, he managed to get the reward his ball playing abilities so richly deserve.
The ‘keeper pinged a pass over the top of the Cumbrians defence and into the path of Wilkinson, who then produced a sublime finish to hook the ball over the on-rushing Farman and into the net from some way out.
That proved to be the last chance of note in a well fought contest, as McAnuff’s side recorded a second consecutive 1-0 win on the road and notched up their 15th clean sheet of the season.
ORIENT: Vigouroux, Akinola, Turley, Happe, Widdowson, Cissé, McAnuff (Dennis 73”), Clay, Wilkinson, Johnson, Kemp
SUBS: Sargeant, Ling, Coulson, Dayton, Dennis, Sweeney, Abrahams
GOALS: Wilkinson 87”
CARLISLE: Farman, Anderton, Hayden, Guy, Alessandra, Zanzala, Mellish, Armer, Furman, Toure, Bennett
SUBS: Norman, Tanner, Riley, Patrick, Charters, Scott, Walker
REF: James Bell