Carlisle United 2 Chesterfield 0: Kelvin Etuhu and sub John O'Sullivan got the goals as Carlisle United saw off struggling Chesterfield at Brunton Park.

Midfielder Etuhu fired United into an 18th-minute lead before limping off shortly after.

O'Sullivan then made the points safe in the 82nd minute, moments after coming off the bench.

It proved a relatively comfortable win for Keith Curle's side against Jack Lester's lacklustre visitors, although they had a Louis Reed goal disallowed for offside in the second half.

The game also saw a successful return to the side for defender Mark Ellis, who was named man of the match.

His solid display helped Carlisle make it five home games unbeaten.

United almost went behind in the sixth minute when Clint Hill's attempt to intercept a Bradley Barry cross saw the ball spin over keeper Jack Bonham and against the crossbar.

Cole Stockton then somehow failed to connect with a Hallam Hope cross for United, but Etuhu then did make the breakthrough.

He sent a measured low finish into the bottom corner after a lay-off from full debutant Ashley Nadesan.

But three minutes after scoring his third of the season, Etuhu went down injured and was unable to continue, Mike Jones coming off the bench.

Carlisle were the better side in the first half as the visitors' threat faded, with Josh Kay's narrowly-wide effort shortly after the goal their only real chance of note.

Hope and Jamie Devitt tested keeper Aaron Ramsdale as United looked for a second in front of a 4,025 crowd.

Stockton shot wide early in the second half as the game continued at a poor level of quality.

The ex-Hearts man then missed a great chance to make it two, sidefooting wide after Nadesan had charged down a Spireites defender.

Midway through, though, the visitors almost found a way back, first when Kay shot narrowly wide, and then when he went down under a Jones challenge, ref Sebastian Stockbridge waving away penalty appeals.

The officials denied Lester's men seconds later, when midfielder Reed drilled home but saw his joy cut short by the linesman's flag.

United took advantage of their let-off and, after Hope and Lambe had attempts blocked, O'Sullivan - on for Stockton - pounced to make it two.

He slotted home from close-range after Tom Parkes had challenged for a Jamie Devitt corner and the ball broke his way via Hope.

It was the Irish winger's first goal since his header in the play-off second-leg at Exeter last May.

United remain 13th, but cut three points off their gap to the play-offs, which now stands at eight points ahead of Tuesday's trip to bottom side Barnet.

Chesterfield remain second bottom, but are now five points adrift of safety.

Centre-half Ellis was given his first league start for the Blues since September in place of James Brown, as Gary Liddle moved to right-back.

Fleetwood loanee Nadesan, meanwhile, took Kris Twardek's place in the team at Brunton Park.

United: Bonham, Liddle, Parkes, Ellis, Hill, Etuhu (Jones 21), Lambe, Devitt, Hope, Nadesan (Twardek 74), Stockton (O'Sullivan 80). Subs: Gray, Campbell-Ryce, Bennett, James Brown.

Chesterfield: Ramsdale, Nelson, Whitmore, Kay, Barry, Reed, McCourt (Binnom-Williams 66), Weir, Rowley (Kellett 62), O'Grady (Jacob Brown 79), Dennis. Subs: Parkin, Maguire, Ofoegbu.