Robbo seals the points
Mark Gillespie kept his starting place between the sticks for the trip to Hartlepool with Paul Thirlwell and Danny Cadamarteri coming into the side at the expense of Liam Noble and Paddy Madden.
And Carlisle United needed a big effort to see them over the line as they held their discipline and and edged on top in the game to deservedly claim three points.
Manager Greg Abbott said: "We’ve had to work hard and stay patient but we got there with what was a very honest performance in the end. It was a typical derby game, which had just about everything, and the best thing about today has been the spirit and determination. We fought back and it’s great for the fans because it’s one of their more local games. They watched us lose it within 20 minutes last season and we didn’t want a repeat of that this time round. We kept working hard, we played some good football and we deserved the result in the end."
The game started with Hartlepool looking lively and former-Blue Evan Horwood raised a few smiles when he dragged a 22-yard free kick wide of the target.
Edwards then had to stretch to head another dangerous free kick delivery clear with Pools seeking to utilise the high ball.
United got forward with purpose moments later when Cadamarteri showed strength to keep possession. McGovern crossed early and the half clearance was quickly picked up by Simek, but his delivery had just too much on it for Jervis.
Franks and Sweeney combined for the home side with the game being played at a furious pace and Edwards was on the spot yet again to nod the ball clear before Howard could finish it off.
Franks then glanced a header from a deep cross wide as Hartlepool won the second ball throughout a frantic period of midfield play.
Jake Jervis started a move in his own when he streaked away from a corner with the ball and his ball inside to Berrett allowed Robson to overlap. The wide man got past his man and was unlucky to see his wicked cross whisk just in front of the outstretched boot of the Birmingham loanee.
The Cumbrians almost grabbed the lead on 15 minutes when a McGovern free kick was spilled by Flinders. Robson had to steady himself and he shot was blocked before a follow up cross from McGovern was hooked away by Horwood.
A huge kick from Flinders caused problems when Howard rose highest to nod it down. Monkhouse had space but he rushed his shot and pulled a poor volley wide of the upright.
James Berrett did the same at the other end when a sliding challenge from McGovern pushed the ball in his direction, and the game swung from end to end as the crowd enjoyed an all-action display.
Pools started to push more men forward and an instinctive volley from Poole had the home crowd interested as it beat Gillespie and whipped past the post. Howard and Sweeney then had efforts blocked with Edwards and Chantler combining to protect their goal.
Berrett did well just after the half hour when he rolled Murray and Cadamarteri pulled away to make an angle for the pass. A dipping shot followed but it took a deflection and dropped over the bar.
Cadamarteri then controlled a difficult ball on his chest and, with McGovern screaming for it, he spun on the spot before thumping his shot wide.
Hartlepool regained the upper hand but Monkhouse was guilty of poor finishing once again when he scuffed a volley after good work from Franks and Howard.
The home side took the lead just before the break when a long ball forward was flicked on by Howard as he grappled with Murphy. Poole chased it into the area and made no mistake with an excellent finish underneath Gillespie.
The Carlisle keeper had to drop low to grasp a powerful downward header from Howard as Pools tried to press home their advantage and Sweeney put a weak header over at the back post as the deliveries continued to rain in.
The half time team talk appeared to do the trick as the Cumbrians came out fired up after the break and Flinders had to take care as a Robson free kick dipped over the wall and bounced in front of him.
And United should have been back on level terms when Jervis latched on to a poor back pass. Flinders was left on the floor as the big striker went round him with ease but, and with the goal at his mercy, he was left to hit the floor in despair as he blazed his poor effort into the stands.
Gillespie was in action again at the other end when he made a full length block from a Monkhouse header and Howard went close with diving effort from an Austin cross.
And the visiting goal lived a charmed life when Howard peeled away at the back stick. He found some unexpected space and was ready to celebrate until his dinked attempt bounced back off the cross bar.
They incident gave Carlisle a boost and they were back on terms within three minutes courtesy of a free kick from substitute Dave Symington. The youngster took charge of the dead ball situation and experienced striker Danny Cadamarteri profited when he reacted first to the parried save to drill it into the net.
“As a striker you want to be scoring goals and the gaffer has told all of us that it’s up to us to replace the goals Lee Miller got last season," Cadamarteri said. “For me, I’m delighted that I’m on the score sheet but the most important thing is that we got the win. I followed in with the free kick and fortunately it fell kindly for me. I got a good connection and it went in, so it’s a great feeling."
Austin was then shown his second yellow for a second foul on Robson and the afternoon got even better for the men in green shirts when the former-Hartlepool favourite came back to haunt his old team with five minutes left to play. He ran onto a neat flick from Cadamarteri and somehow found the far corner as he drilled the ball in from a tight angle.
"It’s always nice to score on your return to a club – I’ve done it twice now – but it’s even more pleasing to get a win," Robson explained. “I had a very good seven years here and I’ve still got plenty of friends in the area. You expect to get the stick when you come back but it’s all in good humour. Some of the stuff actually wants to make you laugh, like when they told me my chin was offside – but I suppose I had the last laugh by getting the goal.”
Cadamarteri had time to touch the ball onto the woodwork as Carlisle threatened to extend their lead and it was a delighted Blue Army who cheered their team from the field when the final whistle eventually blew.
Hartlepool - Poole (40)
United - Cadamarteri (76), Robson (85)
Hartlepool - Collins (14), Austin, (72 & 79 sent off)
United - Murphy (3), Berrett (90)
Hartlepool - Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley (Baldwin 81), Horwood, Franks (Lynch 66), Murray, Sweeney, Monkhouse, Poole (James 87), Howard. Subs - Humphreys, Walton, Holden, McHugh.
United - Gillespie, Simek, Edwards, Murphy (Livesey 90), Chantler, McGovern (Symington 69), Thirlwell, Berrett, Robson, Cadamarteri, Jervis (Beck 58). Subs - Collin, Madden, Potts, O'Halloran.
Ref - Mr James Adcock
Attendance - 4,474 (569 away fans)