The search for consistency goes on for Carlisle boss Graham Kavanagh as his side again allowed a winning position to slip from their grasp.
Bristol City utilised set-pieces to make their mark when substitute Marvin Elliott turned the game on its head with two quick goals from regulation second-half deliveries.
The introduction of Manchester United loanees Sam Byrne and Charni Ekangamene took the players used tally to a club record-breaking 41 this season – perhaps going some way to explaining why this unsettled squad is finding a sustained run of results so difficult to come by.
Kavanagh said: “We haven’t won away since MK Dons in October and that’s something which has to change.
“However, there were aspects of the performance I was very pleased with. We looked good for our lead at half time and, in the end, it was set- pieces which have done us.
“We warned the lads about it and it’s disappointing we went from being in front to being behind so quickly.”
Hot prospect Brad Potts put United in front with his second goal in two games from a sweetly-struck free-kick, but the Cumbrians couldn’t find the killer blow against a distinctly shaky-looking home outfit.
Kavanah added: “I looked at their team sheet and they have real quality in every area.
“We have a group which can get results but I would like to add bodies, if I’m being honest. We’re a very young side and I had two youth- team lads on the bench because there wasn’t anyone else available.
“I know what we need to get us over the line so we’ll keep looking for free agents or loans who bring a bit of experience into the mix.”
BRISTOL CITY: Moore, Williams (Marvin Elliott 46), Flint, El-Abd Pack, Cunningham, Reid (Barnett 65), Wade Elliott (Burns 46) Wagstaff, Baldock, Emmanuel-Thomas.
Subs (not used): Fielding, Moloney, Bryan, Gillett.
Booked: El-Abd, Burns. Goals: Marvin Elliott 68, 70.
CARLISLE: Fleming, Robson, Meppen-Walter, O’Hanlon, Chimbonda Ekangamene (Symington 89), Drennan (Byrne 77), Berrett Noble (Guy 73), Potts, Amoo.
Subs (not used): Brough, Dempsey, Bouzanis.
Booked: Potts. Goal: Potts 36.
Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland) Attendance: 11, 029