LUKE JAMES stole the show as Hartlepool United enjoyed their biggest win of the season, 4-0 over Carlisle.

Teenage striker James scored twice as he caused problems aplenty for the visiting back four to make it three goals in five career starts.

After losing an unprecedented nine successive games at Victoria Park, Pools have now won their last two and are four unbeaten since seeing off Rochdale at home last time out.

Confidence is high within the squad and it was obvious from the start as they took the game to Carlisle from the off.

James opened the scoring on six minutes. From an Andy Monkhouse cross, his shot was deflected past his own keeper by Lubo Michalik.

And 11 minutes later the lead was doubled, this time Neil Austin crossing and Antony Sweeney climbing high in the area to head in his second goal in a week after his spectacular leveller at Sheffield Wednesday seven days earlier.

Carlisle striker Lee Miller was sent-off for a lunge on Monkhouse on 26 minutes, the instant red card from referee Rob Madeley appearing somewhat harsh and Carlisle boss Gregg Abbott later hinted at an appeal against the decision.

The Cumbrians switched formation at the break and pressed, but all they could muster was a free-kick from Jon- Paul McGovern that drifted wide, as Pools kept a third clean sheet in four. James finished the game off on 67 minutes. He chased down keeper Adam Collin to block his clearance, picked up the loose ball on the touchline from James Brown and raced into the area to smash in from an angle.

He was denied a hat-trick by a Collin block, but Pools made it four when substitute Colin Nish, on his return from injury, slid home a low finish from 12 yards on 81 minutes.

HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Flinders; Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood (Haslam 39); Murray (Baldwin 86), Sweeney, Liddle; Brown (Nish 71), Monkhouse, James. Subs: Rafferty (gk), Humphreys, Haslam, Baldwin.

CARLISLE UNITED: Collin; Simek, Livesey (Madden 46), Michalik, Parker; Thirlwell (Chantler 77), Noble Taiwo (Cook 46), McGovern; Zoko, Miller. Subs: Murphy, Gillespie (gk), Chantler.

Referee: Rob Madley (Ossett)