Carlisle United 2 Macclesfield Town 1: Sub Ryan Loft struck late on to complete Carlisle United's fightback and earn the Blues a first league win in six.

The striker netted the winner after charging down a clearance from Macclesfield skipper Fiacre Kelleher and racing clear to slot home.

Leicester loanee Loft's 82nd-minute strike earned the Cumbrians three much-needed points in front of 3,880 fans at Brunton Park.

It came after a first half which saw the Silkmen lead through Theo Archibald and then have a Joe Ironside penalty saved by Adam Collin.

A fortunate Harry McKirdy leveller on the stroke of half-time then gave United the chance of victory with Loft's goal sealing a better second-half display.

Carlisle had failed to make the most of early half-chances with Nathan Thomas having a shot blocked after beating his man on the right, with Gethin Jones and Jack Iredale also firing wide from outside the box.

Archibald almost replied with a goal for the Silkmen before recalled Olufela Olomola met an Iredale cross, heading over the bar as keeper Owen Evans collided with him.

The Blues - back in a 4-3-3 system with striker Olomola in for suspended defender Byron Webster - then went behind on 25 minutes when Ironside had two shots blocked before Jack Bridge's clearance fell to Archibald, who fired high into the net from the left.

Things nearly got worse just four minutes later when Mike Jones was penalised for handball when blocking an Emmanuel Osadebe free-kick.

Ironside's spot-kick, though, was weak and Collin moved to his left to make a comfortable save.

Carlisle's performance faded as the half went on, as they looked short of attacking ideas.

Late pressure, though, forced two corners, one of which led to McKirdy's goal.

The forward was there to deflect a low Thomas corner into the net after a Macclesfield defender had miscued his attempted clearance.

Carlisle then had the better of things after the break with Thomas and Mo Sagaf enjoying chances.

They suffered a scare on 64 minutes when Archibald's shot deflected against the bar and Ben Stephens' follow-up header was ruled out for offside.

The Silkmen, though, had otherwise run out of momentum and Carlisle applied more pressure in pursuit of victory.

Sub Hallam Hope missed a good headed chance when he failed to convert Thomas' cross.

Another replacement, Loft, was then quickly into the action in decisive fashion when he got in the way of Kelleher's clearance before slotting home.

That proved enough for the Cumbrians, who held off Macclesfield's late attacks to grab their first League Two win since September and move up a place to 19th, five points off the foot of the table.

United: Collin, G Jones, Iredale, Branthwaite, Mellish, M Jones, Bridge (Carroll 84), Sagaf, McKirdy (Hope 66), Thomas, Olomola (Loft 75). Not used: Gray, Hayden, Knight-Percival, Sorensen.

Macclesfield: Evans, Kelleher, Cameron, Vassell, Welsh-Hayes, Kirby, O'Keeffe, Osadebe, Archibald, Stephens, Ironside (Gomis 66). Not used: Charles-Cook, Clarke, Horfall, Ntambwe, Fitzpatrick.

Ref: Andy Haines

Crowd: 3,880 (143 Macclesfield fans)