Colchester's lingering play-off hopes were dashed as Carlisle produced a blistering first-half display of fast attacking football in a 4-1 win at Brunton Park.
The Cumbrians, playing their first home game for a month, were well on top against the side managed by their former boss John Ward and made a perfect start when James Berrett cracked home a stunning 35-yard shot in the ninth minute.
Carlisle's midfield was exercising almost total control and it was no surprise when they extended their advantage in the 26th minute after a slick four-man move. Francois Zoko provided the final throughball and Craig Curran battled between two defenders to chip the ball home from eight yards.
Within five minutes Carlisle made it three when Zoko zipped past Nathan Clarke with a burst into the box. Curran's initial effort from the cross hit a defender, but the ball fell to Liam Noble who prodded home the rebound.
Carlisle continued to press forward after the break and Curran grabbed his second goal in the 62nd minute, glancing home a header after Matty Robson had cross from the left.
Colchester pulled a goal back against the run of play in the 71st minute when substitute Lloyd James played the ball into Gillespie. His first time effort was blocked by goalkeeper Adam Collin but Gillespie seized on the loose ball to stab home from close range.