Cambridge United 3 Carlisle United 0: Carlisle's early-season defensive woes showed no sign of going away as a poor start cost them in their league opener at Cambridge.

Luke Hannant and Paul Mullin pounced to give the hosts a two-goal lead after just 16 minutes.

Chris Beech's side applied pressure after that but couldn't find a way back.

And Joe Ironside wrapped things up late on for Cambridge.

The first-day League Two defeat will keep the focus on their defensive issues under Chris Beech, with nine goals now shipped in three games in respective competitions at the start of 2020/21.

They were caught out after just nine minutes when defenders Rod McDonald and Aaron Hayden were drawn to the same ball, before a flick-on allowed Hannant a free run at goal.

He sent a tidy finish across Paul Farman to put Mark Bonner's side ahead.

And it got worse just seven minutes later when full-back Kyle Knoyle was fed in space to cross and Mullin got in front of his man to power home a header.

It already meant a mountain to climb for the Cumbrians, for whom fit-again Joshua Kayode and Omari Patrick both started at the expense of Joe Riley and injured Dean Furman, with new loan signing Ethan Walker among the subs.

Paul Digby had a chance to make it 3-0 before Carlisle improved in an attacking sense, Hayden having handball appeals waved away and Nick Anderton seeing a shot blocked as the Blues applied pressure.

Patrick went close and Gime Toure curled an effort just past the far post before Ironside failed to take advantage of a near-post chance for Cambridge.

The tall Ironside had caused havoc against United's uncertain defence and after the break Carlisle had more of the play without creating serious chances.

Hayden glanced a header wide and both Patrick and Callum Guy had shots blocked.

But there was further injury woe for United when Hayden had to be substituted on 77 minutes.

And Cambridge clinched a comfortable win when Knoyle's low cross found Ironside in space and the big striker sent a good finish into the bottom corner.

That made it United's worst opening-day defeat since 2013, when they lost 5-1 at home to Leyton Orient.

United: Farman, Tanner (Riley 66), Anderton, McDonald, Hayden (Armer 77), Guy, Mellish, Toure, Patrick, Kayode, Alessandra (Walker 66). Not used: Dewhurst, Devine, Hunt, Reilly.

Booked: Patrick, Toure.

Cambridge: Mitov, Knoyle, Dunk, Taylor, Cundy, O'Neil (May 28), Hoolahan (Iredale 79), Hannant, Digby, Ironside, Mullin (Knibbs 77). Not used: Burton, Dallas, Davies, Knowles.

Goals: Hannant 9, Mullin 16, Ironside 85.

Booked: Digby.