Pools saw their unbeaten run of games come to an end on a lively afternoon at Brunton Park, with ten-man Carlisle United edging a 3-2 victory.
Carlisle took the lead in the first half and Pools twice got back on level terms in the second half but could not find that third leveller in a game that finished in victory for the hosts.
The hosts burst out of the blocks from kick off, with a teasing ball into the box from the lively Jabo Ibehre from the right. Lewis Hawkins was there to intercept for Pools though and cleared the danger.
Pools were soon on top themselves, passing the ball around really well while and matching what Carlisle had to offer.
Josh Laurent, who stood out for Pools this afternoon, set up fellow midfielder Hawkins for a shot on goal but his effort went just over the bar.
With the two teams playing good football and taking their turn with spells of pressure, it was an entertaining first half.
Nathan Thomas had a few low drives at goal, one of which was saved by the keeper and a couple that went just wide as Pools looked to take advantage of a strong spell.
With twenty minutes on the clock and Hignett’s side having been on top, the hosts countered to open the scoring.
Good work by Tom Miller down the left opened things up for Carlisle and he sent a lovely cross into the box which invited the final touch from Ibehre who could not miss as he put it past Carson from close range.
The goal took the wind out of Pools’ sails for ten minutes or so as the hosts went on to enjoy their best spell as they too put together some good football.
The lively Alessandra kick-started a strong end to the first half for Pools as he burst down the left to cross into the box. The defender blocked but sent the ball straight back to the forward, with Alessandra trying again to set up Amond. The cross found its target this time but the striker’s glancing header went wide of the post.
Laurent set up Alessandra down the left with a brilliant ball forward, allowing Alessandra to push up to the by-line but his final strike from a narrow angle was blocked on the line by the defender.
Carlisle had another shot just before the break as a freekick into the box was headed out by Nsiala but only as far as Shaun Miller. He ran in to smash an effort at goal but he sent it over the bar.
It was a fast-paced first half, with good football from both sides but Pools would need to find that edge in the second half if they were to get anything from the game.
It was the hosts who started the second half brightest and Pools had Trevor Carson to thank for another brilliant save early on in the half. Jason Kennedy sent a header in from close range that he was setting off to celebrate when Carson stuck out a hand to block the effort off the line. Ibehre picked up the rebound but blazed it over the bar.
Carlisle United were reduced to ten men when Shaun Miller earned himself the second of two silly yellow cards just before the hour mark.
With the home fans feeling aggrieved, the atmosphere in the ground gained an edge and, the introduction of former Carlisle man Billy Paynter on 59 minutes, gave the boo boys a target.
Pools were level within ten minutes of the sending off as Lewis Alessandra took advantage of a loose ball from a Thomas strike to smash home into the top corner of the net.
But things didn’t stay level for long Scott Harrison tripped former teammate Charlie Wyke just to the right of the area, setting the hosts up with a well-positioned freekick. Nicky Adams set it up for Danny Grainger who sent a great strike past Carson to restore the hosts’ lead.
With the tension rising inside the ground, Pools were level again as Padraig Amond hit the equaliser; good work from Alessandra in the build-up set up Billy Paynter to shoot on goal. His effort was blocked but Amond reacted well to get in there and hit home to make it 2-2.
With ten minutes left, Carlisle made it 3-2; a corner in from the right was headed home by defender Michael Raynes to give the ten-man hosts the lead once again.
Pools had the ball in the net after Alessandra sent it in for Amond to score but the ball had gone out of play in the build-up and the goal did not count.
There were five minutes of added time in a game that was played out in an increasingly hostile atmosphere but despite plenty of possession, Pools couldn't find that third equaliser and the game finished in defeat.
Full Time: Carlisle United 3 Pools 2
Booked: Harrison (67)
Carlisle United: Gillespie, Grainger, Joyce, Raynes, Kennedy, Jones, Adams (Asamoah 70 (Brisley 83), Gillesphey, Ibehre (Wyke 58), S Miller, T Miller.
Subs Not Used: Crocombe, Ellis, Devitt, Lambe.
Pools: Carson, Richards (Paynter 59), Harrison, Nsiala, Carroll (Woods 83), Donnelly, Hawkins, Laurent, Alessandra, Amond, Thomas.
Subs Not Used: Bartlett, Martin, Deverdics, Orrell, Heardman.