Carlisle United 1 Notts County 3: Carlisle United fell to a 3-1 defeat against League Two strugglers Notts County, despite Hallam Hope's bizarre goal, as the Blues fell out of the play-off places.

Playing into the terrible weather conditions with Storm Gareth starting to take hold, the visitors broke the deadlock in the first half through Kane Hemmings after an error by Gary Liddle against his former club.

Hemmings doubled his and the Magpies’ tally midway through the second period from the penalty spot after Anthony Gerrard had been adjudged to have fouled Richard Duffy by referee Eddie Ilderton.

United were given a route back into the match when Hope picked the pocket of away keeper Ryan Schofield, who had rolled the ball on to the floor, to stroke into an empty net.

But with Adam Collin coming up for a late Carlisle free-kick, he left Lewis Alessandra with the simple task of running the ball into the empty net as County moved off the bottom of the table.

As both teams looked to adjust to the terrible weather, the visitors had the first chance. But Collin saved Enzio Boldewijn's low drive before Hemmings fired over on eight minutes.

Then, on the 20th minute, a mistake by Liddle presented Alessandra with the ball but he didn't make the most of it as Carlisle defended bravely in the terrible conditions.

Eight minutes later, Collin attempted to claim a corner. He dropped the ball but United's defence got it behind for another corner.

Just after the half-hour mark, Tom Parkes then sliced Michael Doyle's in-swinging free-kick inches wide of Collin's post, before Collin made a fine save from another Doyle free-kick that had taken a flick on its way through.

But Notts broke the deadlock on the 37th minute after a big mistake from Liddle. He sold Collin short as Hemmings intercepted. Collin saved the first shot but Hemmings was on hand to stroke home the rebound.

Just before half-time, Carlisle had their first chance as Hope squared for captain Danny Grainger. His shot was spilled by Notts' Schofield but he gathered at the second attempt, with the away team ahead at the break.

Regan Slater had Carlisle's first chance of the second period, six minutes after the restart, but his shot from around 25 yards out flashed wide.

But it was the visitors who struck midway through the second period to double their lead. Referee Eddie Ilderton gave a penalty for a foul by centre-back Gerrard on Duffy. After Hemmings had been booked ahead of taking the spot-kick, he calmly slotted home to double his side's lead.

But, 13 minutes from time, the Blues got a route back into the match in strange fashion when Hope picked Notts keeper Schofield's pocket and rolled into the empty net.

Despite late pressure from the Cumbrians, they couldn't get a leveller and, with Collin up for a free-kick, Alessandra had the easy task of running the ball the length of the field to fire home.

Kelvin Etuhu came in for the injured Mark Cullen in Carlisle United's only change.

Midfielder Etuhu impressed off the bench in Saturday's 2-1 win over Swindon and did enough to earn a starting berth with Blackpool loanee Cullen missing out after the groin injury he picked up in the win over the Robins. After the match, Blues boss Steven Pressley said the striker is expected to be out for five to six weeks.

Otherwise, Pressley named an unchanged team with keeper Collin, who extended his contract on Sunday, facing his old club.

Liddle was another former Notts County player who started for the Cumbrians, while Nathan Thomas - who spent the first-half of the season on loan with the Magpies - came off United's bench.

The Magpies, managed by Neal Ardley, started the evening bottom of the league. They came into the game on the back of a 4-1 defeat at Cheltenham.

They didn't include ex-Carlisle defender Shaun Brisley in their squad. He has fallen out of favour following a string of January signings.

Ardley did make four changes, though, with Richard Duffy, Alessandra, David Vaughan and Hemmings coming into Notts' starting line-up.

Carlisle: Collin, Grainger (c) (Simpson 71), Liddle, Gerrard, Parkes, Hope, Devitt, Slater, O'Hare, Etuhu, Scougall (Thomas 56).

Carlisle unused subs: Gray, Miller, Kennedy, Jones, Grant.

Goal: Hope (77).

Notts County: Schofield, Duffy, Alessandra, Vaughan, Boldewijn (Bird 82), Hemmings, Stubbs, O'Brien, Milsom, Rose, Doyle (c).

Notts County unused subs: Fitzsimons, Tootle, Barclay, Gomis, Patching, Etete.

Goal: Hemmings (37, 66, pen), Alessandra (90 + 3).

Ref: Eddie Ilderton.

Crowd: 3,514 (151 Notts County fans).