The O’s made four changes to the side that lost to Southend United. Conor Wilkinson started through the middle of a front three as Danny Johnson dropped to the bench. Ouss Cisse, Jobi McAnuff, Tunji Akinola and Jamie Turley all returned to the XI.
Orient’s number nine wasted no time proving his ability to play as the leading forward. Tunji Akinola’s searching pass up field bounced awkwardly but in favour of Wilkinson, who was strong to hold off his marker and stroke Orient in front after just three minutes.
The 26-year-old would have doubled Orient’s advantage but for a heroic clearance off the line. Louis Dennis darted up the field and found James Brophy on the left flank. The latter pulled the ball behind the chasing defenders to the feet of Wilkinson, who couldn’t believe his close-range shot was blocked behind for a corner.
Carlisle offered little in the opening stages of the half but were given an opportunity to pull themselves level from the spot, after Dan Happe brought down Zanzala in the box.
The striker got back up to take the spot-kick, however, his tame right footed effort was gathered by Vigouroux who guessed the right way.
Five minutes later, Referee Sam Allison pointed to the spot again, this time in favour of Leyton Orient. The ever-present Conor Wilkinson was bundled over by goalkeeper Magnus Norman, who thought he could beat him to the ball.
Dan Kemp stepped up for his team, but Norman redeemed himself with a fantastic save to keep the O’s lead at one goal.
The Cumbrians pulled themselves level three minutes before the break. Jon Mellish wrapped his foot around a Kayode flick down and guided it into the top corner.
Orient managed to reinstate their advantage before the half-time interval. Kemp latched on to a sloppy back pass and rounded the onrushing goalkeeper before firing home with his left-foot.
Half-time: Leyton Orient 2-1 Carlisle United
Orient were forced into a change during the interval; Sam Ling replaced Jamie Turley, who had gone down with a knock midway through the first-half.
United started the second-half on the front foot and almost equalised through Joe Riley. The midfielder had plenty of space to run into and unleashed a powerful shot from distance, but it clattered off the crossbar.
Four minutes later, Alessandra was fouled in the area by McAnuff and Allison pointed to the spot for a third and final time. Like Zanzala, Alessandra got straight back up to take it, though his effort was much better and beat Lawrence Vigouroux to make it 2-2.
The O’s shuffled their deck and made a double change on the hour – Jobi McAnuff and Louis Dennis made way for Craig Clay and top scorer Danny Johnson.
The change saw Wilkinson push out to the right-flank and that tweak nearly helped him score his second of the match. The O’s countered at pace, Kemp put Wilkinson in behind the United defence and after cutting inside, his shot was turned behind by Norman.
A minute from time, Brophy fizzed a superb cross across the face of goal, but Johnson couldn’t apply the finishing touch. The striker tried to connect with his foot but couldn’t meet the ball in time.
Straight down the other Carlisle bagged the winner. Right-back George Norman’s low strike from outside the area darted into the bottom right corner and captured all three points for Carlisle.
Full-time: Leyton Orient 2-3 Carlisle United
Orient: Vigouroux, Akinola, Turley (Ling 46’), Happe, Widdowson, Cisse, Kemp, McAnuff © (Clay 62’), Dennis (Johnson 62’), Wilkinson, Brophy
Bench: Sargeant, Sotiriou, Freeman, Abrahams
Goals: Wilkinson 3’ Kemp 45+2
Missed penalty: Kemp 24’
Booked: Happe 18’ Dennis 61’ Clay 88’
Carlisle: Norman, Tanner, Anderton ©, Hayden, Riley, Guy, Alessandra, Zanzala (Mellish 22’), Patrick (Walker 63’ (Scott 86’)), Kayode, Armer
Bench: Farman, Devine, Charters, Dixon
Goals: Mellish 42’ Alessandra 54’ Tanner 90+1’
Missed penalty: Zanzala 19’
Booked: Walker 78’ Mellish 88’
Ref: Sam Allison