Carlisle United 2 Crewe Alexandra 4: Home fans booed at Brunton Park as Carlisle United conceded four in defeat to high-flying Crewe.

The Blues briefly gained hope with a second-half fightback which made it 2-2 after a dire first 45 minutes.

But the Railwaymen scored twice in the final 12 minutes to move to the top of League Two, United slipping to 20th.

Carlisle were error-prone in conceding all Crewe's goals and their only inspiration was short-lived when Hallam Hope and Christie Elliott scored in the space of four second-half minutes.

Before then, the visitors took an early advantage through Nicky Hunt, who pounced in the seventh minute from close range after Byron Webster had failed to clear a Tommy Lowery free-kick from the right.

That opener capped a dominant early spell from Crewe which had also seen Daniel Powell rob Nathaniel Knight-Percival at the edge of the box before firing at Adam Collin.

Crewe remained the better side and though unchanged Carlisle forced half-chances for Webster and Hope, the visitors then pounced for a second.

It came after Jack Bridge's attempted flick to Elliott was poorly-executed, allowing Alex to break before Powell fired across Collin and into the top left corner.

Carlisle failed to generate any excitement in the other direction with Jack Iredale stepping in to deny Powell a second.

Bridge saw a deflected effort spin wide but United were otherwise completely devoid of any creativity or flair, the visitors much more cohesive.

Jon Mellish came on at the break for the injured Knight-Percival, Stefan Scougall then making his comeback to replace Bridge, and after Olufela Olomola had a shot saved, Carlisle staged their sudden comeback.

They made it 2-1 when Scougall broke through midfield and fed Iredale, whose low cross was slid home by Hope.

Four minutes later, United were level when Elliott arrived to meet Iredale's cross at the back post and score his first Blues goal. 

Carlisle seemed to have Crewe rattled in this period, with Scougall's arrival making a difference, but their defensive flaws then came back to haunt them.

On 79 minutes, David Artell's side moved back in front when sub James Jones' cross evaded Webster and Chris Porter nipped in to score.

They added a fourth five minutes from time when Gethin Jones diverted a Perry Ng cross into his own net, to the further delight of the vocal travelling fans.

Some supporters in the Warwick Road End chanted for the removal of manager Steven Pressley in the closing stages of Carlisle's third home defeat of the league campaign.

United: Collin, G Jones, Webster, Knight-Percival (Mellish 46), Iredale, Elliott, M Jones, Sagaf (McKirdy 80), Bridge (Scougall 52), Olomola, Hope. Not used: Gray, Branthwaite, Loft, Sorensen.

Crewe: Richards, Ng, Pickering, Wintle, Hunt, Lowery, Nolan, Green (J Jones 70), Powell (Dale 89), Kirk, Porter. Not used: Booth, Ainley, Finney, Anene, Johnson.

Ref: Darren England.

Crowd: 4,521 (465 Crewe fans)