Hartlepool Utd 4 Carlisle Utd 0: Teen star Luke leads Pools’ romp

TEENAGE striker Luke James was the star of the show as he scored twice to help Hartlepool United to a 4-0 victory over 10-man Carlisle United, writes Craig Hope.

The 17-year-old – who only made his senior debut last month – netted in each half to compliment goals from Tony Sweeney and Colin Nish as Pools cruised to their biggest win of the season and climbed to 10th in League One.

It took just six minutes for Pools to find the breakthrough, Andy Monkhouse scampering clear down the right before drawing back for James who fired home from 12 yards via the boot of the closing Danny Livesey.

Pools were in the ascendancy and Gary Liddle fizzed a shot wide from 20 yards before James Brown swept into the side-netting when teed up by Sweeney inside the area.

But Sweeney himself made no mistake on 17 minutes as the hosts doubled their advantage.

Neil Austin lofted a right-wing centre towards the fringe of the six-yard area and it was the Pools midfielder who climbed highest to nod into the bottom corner.

And things went from bad to worse for the Cumbrians when former Middlesbrough striker Lee Miller was shown a straight red card on 28 minutes for a dangerous lunge on Monkhouse.

With a man advantage Pools set about extending their lead and Brown, having jinked inside Lubo Michalik, was unlucky to see an 18-yard drive bounce narrowly wide.

Carlisle made two changes at the break and the visitors started the second period in positive mood.

Twice from almost identical positions they went close with curling free-kicks, Liam Noble first to try his luck before Jon-Paul McGovern dinked inches the wrong side of the crossbar.

But the day belonged to one young man and the outstanding James got his second on 68 minutes.

Goalkeeper Adam Collin dithered in possession and James blocked his clearance with the ball squirming loose.

Monkhouse retrieved and fed his young team-mate who did the rest as he burst into the box before blasting into the roof of the net beyond a crestfallen Collin.

Sweeney was then denied a second when his header was hacked from the line by Francois Zoko.

And it was left to Nish – back after two months on the sidelines following knee surgery – to crown a memorable afternoon as he poked beyond Collin from close range with seven minutes remaining.