FORMER Hartlepool United man Matty Robson did the damage as Carlisle United ran out easy 3-0 winners in the northern derby at Brunton Park.
The 27-year-old – who joined the Cumbrians from Pools in 2009 – scored two and created the other to inflict a fifth defeat in six matches under the care of new boss John Hughes.
It means Pools remain 14 points from safety at the foot of League One at the halfway stage of the campaign and without a win in 23 matches.
Robson opened the scoring on 18 minutes, albeit with a degree of good fortune, and added a second before the half-hour mark.
And it was he who laid on the game-clinching third for Lee Miller 16 minutes from time.
Pools had started well enough and it was they who fashioned the first chance.
Jonathan Franks was left completely unattended on the edge of the area and Jordan Richards was quick to find his team-mate.
The winger spun and let fly only to see his effort clip the crossbar and bounce to safety.
It wasn’t until the 18th minute that the hosts drew a save from Scott Flinders and the Pools netminder was forced to snaffle at the second attempt when Jon-Paul McGovern slammed on goal from 20 yards.
But Flinders was helpless to keep out Robson’s opener as his 25-yard smash was deflected into the bottom corner by the face of an unsuspecting Sam Collins.
Pools went straight up the other end in search of parity and Steve Howard’s header, from a Franks’ centre, was hacked from the goalmouth by Mike Edwards.
But within two minutes Robson had his second, smashing home from barely two yards out after Flinders’ had spilled Liam Noble’s corner.
The goal put the contest out of sight with Pools struggling to string together any semblance of possession thereafter.
Mark Beck came close to making it three shortly after the restart for the second period but his 20-yard curler was shovelled clear by the diving Flinders.
Flinders denied the same man on the hour mark as he went airborne to keep out the striker’s first-time header from McGovern’s flighted centre.
Pools did enjoy a spell of pressure around the hour mark and Andy Monkhouse drew a save from Mark Gillespie with a low, snap shot and Charlie Wyke flashed a header wide at the near post.
But that period soon passed and Robson turned provider on 74 minutes when he drove by Jordan Richards before landing an inch-perfect cross on to the forehead of Miller who turned in at the far post.