Carlisle United 2 Port Vale 1: Presumably this was worth £10 for those who paid to watch it remotely, as well as those who stumped up to see it in the flesh. Carlisle winning at home is always a happy sight, whether on screen or up close.

As history was made, with this the first Blues fixture to be streamed online to a pay-per-view UK audience, John Sheridan’s team produced an appropriate enough spectacle: a first Brunton Park victory for the new boss, and a further climb up this fledgling League Two table.

Naturally, it wasn’t without drama. After Carlisle got in front through Danny Grainger’s penalty, a back-foot spell in the second half brought some concerns before Tom Parkes headed their second. Even then, they had to survive an itchy last few minutes after Luke Hannant’s free-kick gave Vale a glimmer.

Overall, though, they saw the task through, making this a successful night for the iFollow viewers, and most of the 3,688 crowd. For Sheridan too, whose bid to give his side an attacking feel has now been rewarded with six points in four days.

A couple of ominous statistics caught the eye ahead of this one. For the positive talk of making Brunton Park a fortress this season, it was easy to forget that the place hadn’t been raided very often in 2018.

In the league, at least, Carlisle had lost just once of their previous 11 league games here. Then there was Port Vale’s meagre record on their travels: 13 away matches without victory.

That their last was in fact at this place, a 2-1 win last December, was a note of caution. There was no such thing in Sheridan’s selection, though: the same XI that earned three points at Cheltenham, the same positive formation and personnel.

The idea was to give Vale – including their ex-Blues midfielder Luke Joyce, wearing his familiar number four – a busy defensive night. Certainly from set-pieces United did that in a strong opening spell, without making any count early on.

By the two-minute mark they had already flung four corners into the visitors’ box. By 25 minutes, at least eight. None, initially, troubled keeper Scott Brown more than the first: a Jamie Devitt delivery attacked by Richie Bennett, forcing the Vale No1 to tip over.

Carlisle, though, kept a good deal of the ball in the visitors’ half from here, Hallam Hope having a couple of shots blocked, one inadvertently by team-mate Jerry Yates. Before Vale found much direction of their own, Ricky Miller putting a rare shot wide, there was more from Sheridan’s side; keeper Joe Fryer even joining in the creative work, sending a fine long throw out to Yates on the right.

That move ended when Yates opted to pass rather than shoot. The question was whether this intrepid play could be sustained long enough to gain the lead. Neil Aspin’s side found their best routes in response by using Tom Pope’s line-leading as a platform to feed Hannant’s runs down the left. From one such move, he sliced into the Warwick Road End.

Later, after Antony Kay had sent a 20-yarder down Fryer’s throat, Hannant was fed again in a right-to-left attack, and this time he drilled across goal and narrowly wide.

The greater momentum, though, was with United. They so nearly scored on 29 minutes when Kelvin Etuhu’s shot spun off a defender, wrongfooted Brown and went centimetres wide.

Seconds later, though, they did. Finally a corner worked the trick, Connell Rawlinson fouling Parkes after Devitt’s delivery had been worked back into the box, and Grainger confidently steering home his first of the season from the penalty spot.

United’s entitlement to their lead could not be denied, and though Vale worked the ball tidily at times, it could easily have been extended before half-time. After some brief niggle that followed Leon Legge’s challenge on Yates – a booking for the defender the result – Carlisle came again, Bennett heading a Devitt free-kick onto the roof of the net, and then an unexpected gift of a chance.

It arose from a Vale error, but also some hungry pressing from Carlisle. Pursued by Yates, Rawlinson turned the ball back to Brown, not noticing Ashley Nadesan there. The striker duly rounded the keeper and set himself to score, but Legge rescued the visitors with a goalline block.

United’s job from here was to make sure they didn’t regret passing up such a chance, as encouraging as their first-half efforts had been. Yates, meanwhile, continued his recent habit of doing everything other than scoring: pouncing on a chance that followed a fine Devitt pass for Nadesan, stepping inside, yet shooting too high early in the second half.

Vale, who had added Cristian Montano’s attacking threat for Louis Dodds at the interval, looked to increase their own attacking tempo. That they did. One brisk counter-attack started by Joyce ended with Montano stepping onto the breaking ball but failing to trouble Fryer with a weak finish.

Next, pushing harder, Aspin’s side pestered Parkes into conceding a free-kick. Hannant’s delivery from the right was true but Pope’s header from a golden position flew over the bar. Miller was next to pass up a serious chance, screwing wide Pope’s lay-off from a throw, and suddenly Carlisle’s alertness at the back was coming under scrutiny.

Sheridan sought to rebalance things by sending on a midfielder for a striker, George Glendon for Nadesan, Vale needing to be contained in a greater way than before. There were times when the team in white were falling on every second ball, and also forcing some hasty decisions from those in blue.

From one weak defensive header, Miller shot at Fryer. United’s own attacking was now so sporadic, and too direct, that when a rare opening did come, after Mitchell Clark upended Hope, Devitt’s tempting-looking free-kick sailed behind for a goal-kick without a team-mate attacking it. An Etuhu daisy-cutter was comfortably held by Brown and this did nothing to relieve the anxiety that had now developed.

Vale forced a few more corners, also adding another sub, David Worrall, on the right. It was not one-way traffic as such, yet Carlisle needed to make calmer use of their occasional breaks, such as one built on Yates’ pace after a cleared corner, which ended with Hope unable to beat Brown from a tight angle, another that the excellent Etuhu clipped into the Warwick Road End, and a later drive from the same man that whistled nearer.

These were not attacking waves, more ripples. Glendon, though, had provided a crucial degree of extra control in front of the back four alongside the seemingly rejuvenated Etuhu, and fed Devitt for another attempt which Brown saved.

The sight of Carlisle comfortable on a 1-0 lead is a rare one indeed, yet they actually ended this one well, Sheridan’s adjustments having taken decent effect. Glendon and Hope combined to see Etuhu denied by Brown with a curler, and then, at last, breathing space, as the resulting Devitt corner was headed home by Parkes for his first Brunton Park goal.

Hannant, with a well-executed free-kick, then made the final couple of minutes as anxious as one might expect, Bennett having earlier wasted a golden chance to put Devitt in for a third. Yet this night of firsts was otherwise positive, United’s path under Sheridan becoming a little brighter still.

United: Fryer, Liddle, Grainger, Parkes, Gerrard, Etuhu, Devitt, Hope, Yates, Nadesan (Glendon 58), Bennett. Not used: Collin, G Miller, Gillesphey, Slater, Campbell, Adewusi.

Goals: Grainger 30pen, Parkes 84

Port Vale: Brown, Clark, Hannant, Smith, Legge, Rawlinson, Kay (Quigley 84), Joyce, Dodds (Montano 46), Pope, R Miller (Worrall 69). Not used: Hornby, Gibbons, Quigley, Tonge, Vassell.

Goal: Hannant 88

Booked: Legge, Clark

Ref: Ben Toner

Crowd: 3,688 (175 Port Vale fans)