Carlisle United 0 Hartlepool United 0: Carlisle United inched further away from the drop zone but couldn't find any attacking inspiration in a stalemate with Hartlepool.

Brennan Dickenson hit the bar while, at he other end, Mark Howard came to the rescue with a superb save to push a David Ferguson effort onto the woodwork.

That was as close as the sides came as United went five games unbeaten and eight clear of the bottom two.

Howard earned his clean sheet but at the other end there was little to shout about as the Cumbrians came up short in the final third - while Kelvin Mellor limped off with an ankle injury in the first half.

United boss Keith Millen made one change to his starting line-up, handing Omari Patrick his first start since rejoining the club, at the expense of Corey Whelan.

Visitors Pools also made a single change, Reagan Ogle taking the defensive place of suspended Jamie Sterry as Graeme Lee's side looked for a second away win of the league campaign.

Jordan Gibson, starting on the left, and Tyrese Omotoye had early attempts before Timi Odusina stopped Patrick in his tracks.

At the other end, United were tested by Pools' movement, Callum Guy getting back to atone by tackling Marcus Carver after his pass had been cut out.

Dickenson then denied Ferguson at close range and Guy got the better of the raiding Gavan Holohan.

Carlisle then suffered an injury blow on 35 minutes when Mellor suffered an ankle injury in a challenge with Carver and couldn't continue.

That meant a league debut for recent signing Joel Senior.

United ended the half at a better tempo, with Patrick denied by Ben Killip and Guy going close from distance, before Carver, for Pools, shot wide from a good position to the left of goal.

After the break, Gibson went close for United before Dickenson crashed a free-kick against the bar, Odusina having been penalised for handling a Patrick shot just outside the box.

Visiting boss Lee sent on ex-Blues man Mark Cullen for Carver early in the second half, and Luke Moyneux had a shot blocked as Pools came back.

Millen's next change saw Lewis Alessandra replace Omotoye with 25 minutes left, and Senior showed a couple of promising attacking breaks down the right, before keeper Mark Howard came to United's rescue with a superb save to divert Ferguson's 76th-minute finish against the bar when a goal looked certain.

Gibson and Armer tested Killip with a late break for United, Guy charged down a shot at the other end and then the Blues skipper saw a free-kick deflected over.

A late salvo saw Mellish find the side-netting, before Howard kept out a goalbound Ogle attempt with the final Pools attack.

United: Howard, Mellor (Senior 37), Armer, McDonald, Feeney, Guy, Mellish, Dickenson, Gibson, Patrick, Omotoye (Alessandra (66). Not used: Norman, Devine, Riley, Abrahams, Whelan.

Booked: Gibson.

Hartlepool: Killip, Ogle, Byrne, Liddle, Odusina, Ferguson, Featherstone, Crawford (Shelton 66), Holohan, Molyneux (Grey 88), Carver (Cullen 53). Not used: Boyes, Hull, Hendrie, Smith.

Booked: Odusina.

Ref: Ollie Yates.

Crowd: 4,570 (613 Hartlepool fans).