NATHAN THOMAS bagged a hat-trick as Carlisle United derailed Forest Green’s promotion ambitions with an emphatic 4-1 victory.

On a chastening night for Mark Cooper’s side, a section of disgruntled fans were calling for a managerial change as Rovers fell to their third straight league defeat, but remain three points off the play-offs despite just three wins from the last 14 games.

Earlier, Rovers had bossed the opening exchanges with Carlisle failing to lay a glove on Cooper’s out of sorts side, but the Cumbrians had the Gloucestershire side on the canvas with two goals in three first-half minutes. Mike Jones arrowed a ball across the box for Thomas to toe-in on 23 minutes and three minutes later Thomas helped himself to a second with a sumptuous howitzer that scorched beyond Conrad Logan from 30 yards.

Thomas bagged his hat-trick just 11 seconds after the restart – scoring from the penalty spot after Matt Mills had brought down Jack Bridge Rovers were in disarray - Lewis Alessandra hitting the post moments later and it was four on 49 minutes – Kayode stabbing in from close range.

Carl Winchester pulled a goal back for Rovers on 58 minutes, scoring from the penalty spot after Josh March was upended by Aaron Hayden.

Sub Matty Stevens missed a stoppage-time opportunity with just Adam Collin to beat on a night of misery for Rovers.

Earlier, Forest Green head coach Cooper made three changes from the team beaten at Macclesfield Town last time out.

Cooper drafted in the experienced Matt Mills with Nathan McGinley dropping out. Fit again Liam Shephard takes the place of Dom Bernard. Aaron Collins replaced Jevani Brown who tweaked his hamstring at the weekend.

George Williams made a welcome return to the squad after breaking his leg on the opening day of the season.

FOREST GREEN: Logan, Shephard (Bernard 16), M Mills, Kitching, Rawson, Winchester, Adams, Hall (Stevens 57), Collins (Frear 46), March, Bailey

Subs: Thomas, Dawson, Aitchison,  Williams

CARLISLE UNITED: Collin, Hayden, Thomas, Jones, Alessandra, Watt, Jones, Webster, Bridge, Kayode, Anderton Bookings: Hayden 31

Attendance: 1,540

Away fans: 97

Referee: Brett Huxtable

Star Man: Carl Winchester

Next up: Forest Green travel to Ian Holloway’s Grimsby Town on Saturday. 3pm.