Craig Hignett blasted Hartlepool's "criminal" defending after they lost 3-2 to 10-man Carlisle.

The home side scored twice from set pieces in the second half, including Michael Raynes' winner.

And Hignett said: "I can't fault the performance or the effort. We controlled the game and were the better side.

"But we talked about set pieces and I'm angry that we didn't do our jobs properly and professionally."

Hignett added: "I consider it not one point lost but three dropped. We should have gone on to win it.

"We knew what they were going to do and to give Raynes that time and space is unacceptable. Everyone knew their jobs and for whatever reason didn't do it.

"I thought we passed the ball really well and Carlisle were getting frustrated. I said at half-time I didn't know how we were 1-0 down, but the goals we conceded were criminal.

"I am angry about the result because the game was there for us. Sometimes you just need people to do their jobs and see the game out."

Jabo Ibehre had given Carlisle a first-half lead when he converted Shaun Miller's cross from close range, but it was after the break that things really sparked into life with Miller getting his marching orders in the 57th minute for deliberate handball - his second yellow card.

Lewis Alessandra smashed in the equaliser, only for Danny Grainger to blast a 25-yard free-kick into the bottom corner and restore Carlisle's lead.

Padraig Amond grabbed a second for Pools, but 10 minutes from time Raynes powered home a towering header for Carlisle, who just about managed to hold on and make it 13 games unbeaten since the start of the League Two campaign.

Carlisle manager Keith Curle believes his players are responding to the challenge of being a "scalp."

He said: "We showed our hunger and desire today. We got smacked, but we got back up and hammered them.

"We've started the season well and put a good run together and we are earning our luck. It's a case of the harder you work the luckier you can get."

Curle admitted: "We are a scalp now and teams want to beat us, but the players are accepting the challenges. There are good emotions in the dressing room and it's good to be part of it."

On the sending off of Miller, the Carlisle manager said: "Both bookings were harsh, but today is not the day for moaning about officials. I'm disappointed to lose Shaun. It's a learning curve for him. The sending-off gave them impetus. I thought we were well in control at the time."