Hope strikes to keep hope alive ...
The Cumbrians edged to the brink of the play-off places as they stayed patient to win the battles that mattered on a night where an excellent team performance came to the fore.
Hartlepool attacked from the kick off and Paynter and Jackson exchanged passes on the right flank as they looked for a way through. James called for it and his shot on the spin was a whisker away as it fizzed past the far post.
A battle for space in midfield ensued but Carlisle almost found a way through on 12 minutes when Stacey lifted the ball over the back line for Miller to chase. He crossed with his first touch but Magnay was able to chest it down for his keeper to gather.
United played more patient football as Gilliead and Kennedy worked space and Grainger pulled wide to make room for a cross. His delivery was superb but it was just too far in front of Ibehre.
A long ball forward from Raynes sparked another home attack and Miller did well to beat his man with neat control on his head. He carried it across the face of the 18-yard box and tried his luck with a left-footed drive. Carson was able to drop low to pull it into his chest.
Pools went close midway through the half when Paynter shrugged Raynes off the ball inside the box. The angle was tight but it needed a good save from Gillespie as the striker tried to squeeze it in.
The Cumbrians immediately went on the break and Gilliead did well as he slowed play down. He spotted Ibehre arriving late and the cut back invited a volley which spun over the bar.
Crosses were exchanged at either end as Carroll and then Gilliead put balls into dangerous areas, and Gillespie had to stretch to tip a dipping lob away from his far post as Paynter and Hawkins sniffed for scraps.
One touch football had Hartlepool worried on the half hour when Gilliead and Kennedy combined to release Stacey. His outswinging cross skipped up off the surface and Bates did enough to direct an awkward header into his keeper's hands as Ibehre steamed in.
United stopper Mark Gillespie had to go full length to tip a teasing cross from Oates away from his bottom corner but it was the home side who played the better football, typified by another crisp passing move which put Gilliead into space. A rasping shot was stopped in its tracks by Carson.
Carlisle got behind the Pools defence again moments later when Stacey went on the overlap. He spun a first time cross into the mix but Kennedy, Miller and Gilliead were inches away as Bates gratefully cleared.
The second half kicked off with some amazing skills from Gilliead as he twisted and turned past his man out wide. A lovely cross was met with a downward header from Ibehre but Carson kept his eye on it and made an excellent save as he hooked it from beneath his bar.
Gillespie had to turn one behind as James went on a run in reply but the corner was wasted as Gray bent it straight out of play.
Substitute Hallam Hope used quick feet to get the ball under control 30-yards out. He went for the shot but it was always heading high.
A wayward pass from Gillesphey brought James on the attack and he wasn't too far away as his punt on the sprint blazed over the target.
Route one football brought United a goal on 55 minutes when Gillesphey looked up and pinged a lovely pass onto Hope's toe. A nice first touch was followed by a crisp shot and a deflection left Carson with no chance as it spooned over his arm and into the back of the net.
Carlisle looked comfortable and a searing 50 yard pass from Grainger found Stacey unmarked. He bent his run and spotted Kennedy on a burst at the near post. A flick of the heel had Carson worried but the ball buried itself in the side netting.
A wild shot from Bingham was never going to cause problems as United defended as a team, but Hawkins was closer when he unleashed a bolt from distance. Gillespie covered it as it fell just over his bar.
Carlisle stayed disciplined and did what had to be done as Featherstone and Carroll had late shots, and the hosts thoroughly deserved to take the points which well and truly keeps their season alive.
United - Hope (55)
Pools - Featherstone - (90)
Carlisle United - Gillespie, Miller, Raynes, Ellis (Hope 46), Gillesphey, Stacey, Kennedy, Comley, Grainger, Gilliead (Sweeney 66), Ibehre (Asamoah 76). Subs - Hanford, Joyce, Atkinson, Thompson.
Hartlepool United - Carson, Magnay, Carroll, Bates, Paynter (Bingham 53), Oates, Featherstone, Hawkins, Jackson, Gray (Walker 68), James. Subs - Bartlett, Harrison, Richards, Laurent, Jones.
Referee - Mr Darren Bond
Attendance - 4,767 (581 away fans)