Steven Pressley admitted he was pleased with Carlisle United’s efforts in avoiding a “banana skin” upset against Dulwich Hamlet.

The Blues boss said his side’s counter-attacking was key to unlocking their dogged National League South hosts.

United scored twice in a sometimes difficult first half then two more after the break after Dulwich had pulled one back.

The 4-1 victory, which was shown live on BBC 2, secured the Cumbrians' place in Monday’s second round draw.

Pressley said: “I thought we were really devastating on the counter-attack.

“I have to give Dulwich great credit. We’d done our homework on them, knew what they were about, and it was the reason I played with a back three – you saw the aerial threat from their number nine [Danny Mills], and they looked for a lot of knock-ons from that situation.

“It was very important we filled the holes. In general we defended the basics of the game very well and these were pivotal aspects of our performance.

“It wasn’t a performance where we controlled the game by the fluency of our passing, that’s credit to them and their intensity, but the most important thing was getting through, and in the end to win 4-1 away from home in a televised game’s a positive result for us.”

Olufela Olomola volleyed United into an early lead, man-of-the-match Harry McKirdy adding a second after Dulwich’s Marvin McCoy had hit the bar.

Christian Smith’s header after the break gave the non-league side hope before a superb Mike Jones goal restored United’s two-goal advantage, McKirdy wrapping things up late on.

Pressley conceded there were times when United’s passing was below par but said his 3-4-3 system had the desired effect in the game.

That formation saw Byron Webster recalled in defence at the expense of central midfielder Mo Sagaf.

“I think probably playing my preferred system of 4-3-3, where we get three men in the middle of the park [would make us] able to dominate the ball better than we did here,” Pressley said.

“But I decided to make the change in terms of still having the threat and counter-attack and the extra man at the back, but it left us with a body short in the middle, so we weren’t able to dominate the football as well as we’d have liked.

“But it was quite effective, the way we went about things.”

Pressley said he was pleased United scored their first two goals from crosses, having worked on that area of their game in training.

On Jones’ superb effort – the midfielder’s third goal for the club – he added: “It was an amazing strike, I’m really chuffed for him. He’s such a great character.

“But it was also a really pivotal moment in the game. At half-time we’d said about not giving Dulwich any level of encouragement, and we gave away a free-kick in an area I’d spoken about not giving cheap free-kicks away, they then put it in and scored, and all of a sudden get that encouragement.

“For us to score not long after that with that type of goal was a huge turning point and settled us back down.”

Pressley also saluted the “exciting talent” of McKirdy, who took his goals tally to seven for the season and is now United's top scorer.

He added: “This was a big banana skin potentially, live on the TV, full house, for Dulwich their real cup final, so it was a really good result.”

Pressley said he will scout United’s next opponents Port Vale in their cup tie at MK Dons today.

He also praised Carlisle’s fans for their dedication as about 500 made the trip to south London for the Friday night tie.

“I want to make a big mention to our supporters,” he said. “For 500 of them to be here is fantastic and we send them up the road very happy.

“The more performances and the more games we win, we create a greater bond with the supporters.”