MATCH REPORT: Carlisle United 1 Hartlepool United 0

HARTLEPOOL United played the entire second half with a one-man advantage but failed to make that pay as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at a windswept Brunton Park.

Cumbrians midfielder Liam Noble was given his marching orders in first-half stoppage time following a reckless two-footed lunge on Tony Sweeney.

But it was the ten-man hosts who enjoyed the better of the second period and Francois Zoko fired a spectacular 67th-minute winner.

Pools best chance of the game came as early as the 10th minute when Ryan Donaldson, collecting possession tight to the by-line, cheekily slipped through the legs of Liam Cooper, but the angle was always against the forward and he was thwarted by Adam Collin.

The swirling conditions were playing a troublesome part and Scott Flinders misjudged a Frank Simek cross in the 18th-minute only for Zoko to be caught unawares and pass up the opportunity to turn into an empty net.

The home side, kicking with the wind, then went close when Craig Curran darted infield from the right before sending a dipping 25-yard effort inches wide of Flinders’ goal.

Flinders, though, was called into action to repel Ben Marshall on 36 minutes when his vicious 20-yard strike, headed for the top corner, was diverted around the upright by the airborne Pools stopper.

Noble’s moment of madness came right on the stroke of half-time, the on-loan Sunderland midfielder launching two-footed into the ankle of Sweeney who was forced to retire from the game in obvious discomfort.

Zoko then netted what proved to be the winner, producing an over-head kick from just outside the six-yard box after Simek had delivered from the right.

An insipid Pools were unable to fashion any chances of note but Peter Murphy could have made the result safe at the other end when his 76th-minute header smacked the crossbar.

Carlisle: Collin, Simek, Cooper, Murphy, Robson, Berrett, Noble, Taiwo, Marshall, Zoko (Loy 89), Curran.

Subs: Caig, Madden, Cooper, Arter, Wells, Swinglehurst.

Pools: Flinders, Liddle, Collins, Horwood, McSweeney, Monkhouse, Haslam, Sweeney (Humphreys 45), Murray (Brown 74), Hartley, Donaldson (Larkin 61)

Subs: Gamble, Boyd, Rafferty, Bjornsson