Carlisle United 0 Portsmouth 1: Paddy Lane's second-half goal was enough to send Carlisle to a sixth straight defeat at the hands of the League One leaders.

The Blues are now on their worst losing league run since 2003 after Lane struck the only goal at Brunton Park.

Carlisle had no reply against the table-toppers and remain 11 points adrift of safety at the bottom of the league with 15 games left.

The game saw Owen Moxon make a winning return to his former club, the ex-United star receiving a warm reception from Carlisle fans before the game and then when he came off the Portsmouth bench with 15 minutes to go.

News and Star: Portsmouth sub Owen Moxon received a warm reception on his return to Brunton ParkPortsmouth sub Owen Moxon received a warm reception on his return to Brunton Park (Image: Ben Holmes)

That came during a second-half spell when United were struggling to make any inroads on their opponents having trailed since the 62nd minute.

Carlisle produced a good and industrious first-half but Lane's breakaway goal clinched things for John Mousinho's side, the visiting number 32 slotting past Harry Lewis after being fed by sub Abu Kamara's through-ball.

Portsmouth also hit the post in either half through Tom Lowery and Conor Shaughnessy, and, once in front, seldom looked like surrendering their lead.

United boss Paul Simpson named the same XI and subs from the previous weekend's defeat to Leyton Orient.

That saw Jack Diamond in the side despite the ankle injury that forced him off in London. He made his first home start as did Josh Vela in midfield, with Jon Mellish handed an attacking midfield role as Carlisle reverted to a back four.

News and Star: Jordan Gibson shoots from a free-kickJordan Gibson shoots from a free-kick (Image: Ben Holmes)

Portsmouth's one change saw Sean Raggett recalled for the suspended Tom McIntyre, with Moxon named among their subs for his second game with the south coast club.

The former Carlisle favourite received an ovation from Blues fans as he headed down the tunnel after the visitors' warm-up.

The kick-off was delayed as, just as things were about to get under way, United keeper Lewis headed behind his goal then signalled to the bench.

Two members of medical staff then headed from the dugout area into the Warwick Road End.

The game then started about four minutes later and took time for any real chances to emerge.

News and Star: Jon Mellish had an attacking midfield role for UnitedJon Mellish had an attacking midfield role for United (Image: Ben Holmes)

Lane, on the Portsmouth right, tested Harry Lewis with a cross before Diamond shot wide from outside the box for the Blues.

Marlon Pack, the visiting captain, sent a free-kick into the Warwick from 35 yards before, at the other end, Jordan Gibson had a pair of half-chances.

The first was a volley which he couldn't keep down and the second a free-kick, after Diamond had been fouled, which he dipped over the crossbar.

Carlisle then survived a Pompey chance when Myles Peart-Harris's header broke in front of Colby Bishop as the flag stayed down, but the visiting No9 couldn't control.

Lane whipped a shot across goal on the break before Vela's deflected cross almost served Luke Armstrong at the near post.

News and Star: Luke Armstrong can't force the ball in at the near postLuke Armstrong can't force the ball in at the near post (Image: Ben Holmes)

United were competing well with their high-flying guests, but struggled to retain possession for a spell as Mousinho's team got on top of things.

Vela was booked for a late challenge on Shaughnessy before a Pompey corner was cleared as far as Lowery, whose shot from outside the box struck the outside of the right-hand post.

Gibson had an attempt saved by Will Norris for Carlisle before Raggett went close with a dipping long-range effort for the leaders.

But United had earned their parity at the half-time break after an overall showing of good industry and discipline.

Portsmouth started the second half brightly with Joe Rafferty almost creating something within seconds of the restart, before Peart-Harris failed to control a good Connor Ogilvie cross.

Lane then wasted a good opportunity after being fed to the right of goal.

News and Star: Jack Diamond on the ball for UnitedJack Diamond on the ball for United (Image: Ben Holmes)

Diamond, who appeared to suffer a knock, was then replaced by Dan Butterworth on 56 minutes, the visitors also making a change as  Kamara came on for Peart-Harris.

And it was Kamara who had a key role in the opening goal six minutes after coming on.

As Portsmouth emerged with it on the right, and Rafferty blocked off Butterworth, Kamara advanced before sending a low, diagonal ball into Lane's path as he found space beyond the defence to the left of goal.

News and Star: Portsmouth celebrate Paddy Lane's winnerPortsmouth celebrate Paddy Lane's winner (Image: Ben Holmes)

He met the pass with a clinical low finish to spark big celebrations among the 1,848 travelling fans.

It meant a club record 25 consecutive league games without a clean sheet for the Cumbrians.

And United's task was now even harder, with Simpson's side now struggling to create anything in the Pompey half.

Bishop almost set something up after wriggling free on the right for Portsmouth - and then Moxon made his entrance 15 minutes from time.

The former United star received a warm ovation from all parts of the ground with some Blues fans singing 'He's one of our own' as the Denton Holme man took the field in place of Lang.

News and Star: Owen Moxon hugs United coach Geoff Haugh after the gameOwen Moxon hugs United coach Geoff Haugh after the game (Image: Ben Holmes)

Simpson at that point made a quadruple change - Seán Grehan on for his home debut along with Jack Armer, Taylor Charters and Sean Maguire, with Fin Back, Jack Robinson, Gibson and Neal the men replaced.

But Shaughnessy came close to a Portsmouth second when he headed Pack's inswinging free-kick against the post, and Carlisle seldom looked like finding a way back.

United applied some token late pressure without creating anything and their bid to upend the league leaders ended in defeat and their relegation battle still awaiting an upturn.

United: Lewis, Back (Grehan 75), Robinson (Armer 75), Barclay, Lavelle, Neal (Maguire 75), Vela, Mellish, Gibson (Charters 75), Diamond (Butterworth 56), Armstrong. Not used: Breeze, McCalmont.

Booked: Vela.

Portsmouth: Norris, Ogilvie, Shaughnessy, Rafferty, Raggett, Pack, Lowery, Peart-Harris (Kamara 56), Lane (Sparkes 85), Lang (Moxon 75), Bishop. Not used: Macey, Towler, Yengi, Martin.

Goal: Lane 62.

Ref: Martin Woods.

Crowd: 9,053 (1,848 Portsmouth fans).