Colchester United 3 Carlisle United 0: Carlisle United produced a dismal display in Colchester as Chris Beech suffered his first defeat as head coach.

A Nathaniel Knight-Perival own-goal and a Callum Harriott strike sent them 2-0 down at half-time before Cohen Bramall added a free-kick third.

Carlisle seldom looked like finding a way back into the game in what was one of their poorest displays of the season.

It left the Cumbrians fourth bottom in League Two, five points above bottom place.

In a game given the go-ahead after a 1.30pm pitch inspection following heavy rain, the hosts took the lead in the 26th minute.

It came when Bramall got beyond Christie Elliott down the home left and when Byron Webster failed to intercept his low cross, it went in off centre-half Knight-Percival.

Knight-Percival and Elliott were making their first league starts since October, with Webster also recalled, Jarrad Branthwaite and Harry McKirdy missing through illness and Canice Carroll dropped.

Beech's side then went further behind when Harriott reacted quickest to an Adam Collin save from Kwame Poku's shot, and slotted into the bottom corner in the 41st minute.

United had survived earlier Colchester raids with Harriott firing across goal in the opening stages and the same man denied a penalty under Aaron Hayden's challenge.

Hallam Hope tested Ethan Ross at the other end before Luke Gambin failed to convert when a Knight-Percival clearance fell his way.

The hosts were making plenty of inroads down the left and after the opening goal, they could have scored again, with Harriott seeing a shot tipped wide and Harry Pell sending a free header straight at Collin.

Carlisle threatened to find a way back on 36 minutes when a cross landed for Elliott at the back post, but nobody could get on the end of the low cross-shot which he fired through the six-yard box.

Ryan Loft had efforts blocked before Harriott made it two. The hosts then almost grabbed a third in first-half stoppage time when Webster stumbled and lost the ball, but Theo Robinson fired over the bar.

Colchester remained in command with Harriott and Gambin going close again before their 52nd-minute third.

It came after Mike Jones tripped the dangerous Harriott, and Arsenal loanee Bramall fired the 25-yard free-kick past Collin.

Beech made changes, bringing on Olufela Olomola and Jack Bridge, but Carlisle created little other than a Loft shot which Ross easily saved.

United were second best in all departments and Poku almost added a fourth for the Essex outfit.

Mike Jones dipped a long-range shot wide and at the other end sub Omar Sowunmi had a header saved by Collin.

Youngster Charlie Birch made his debut in the closing stages as United slumped to defeat in front of 183 travelling fans.

They have now won just one of their last 11 league games.

Colchester: Ross, Jackson, Bramall, Eastman, Prosser (Sowunmi 80), Pell, Stevenson, Gambin, Poku, Harriott (Lapslie 75), Robinson (Nouble 76). Not used: Coulter, Brown, Clampin, Fernandes.

United: Collin, Hayden, G Jones, Webster, Knight-Percival, M Jones, Scougall, Elliott (Olomola 57), Hope, Thomas (Birch 88), Loft (Bridge 68). Not used: Gray, Carroll, Sagaf, Lightfoot.

Ref: Craig Hicks.

Crowd: Crowd: 3,164 (183 Carlisle fans).