Boss Chris Beech says Carlisle United reaped the rewards for hard work in their much-improved display against Southend.

The Blues seldom looked like surrendering the lead they gained in the first half through Omari Patrick and Joshua Kayode.

Their strikes saw United register their first win of the 2020/21 season.

And while Beech could not fail to be pleased with his front three of Patrick, Kayode and an inspired Gime Toure, he also felt the all-round effort of his side got Carlisle off and running in League Two.

“Something has to be an ice-breaker, doesn’t it?” he said after the 2-0 victory at Brunton Park.

“I’ve tried my best to do it this week, and I’ve tried my best to do it since we started, but it was brilliant how they got their noses in front.

“It all comes out of hard work and once JJ [Kayode] and Omari started sprinting a little bit more they supported Gime, who I thought was excellent,” he said.

“Those three gave us space to dominate the midfield and it gave Callum Guy and Dean Furman the chance to do what they do.

“They dominated both on and off the ball, they pressed and they put a real shift in for us. If there’s any criticism at all it’s that we should have scored more goals, especially from set plays.”

Patrick became the first EFL player to score in front of fans since March when his deflected effort found the net in the 36th minute.

It came as the ex-Bradford man picked up a clearance and beat keeper Mark Oxley from outside the box.

Beech said: “He was looking at me on Friday and asking me why I was telling him to wait outside the box for set pieces and free kicks?

“He’s been practising all summer at shooting from outside the box, because he’s been sending me videos when we were all in lockdown. So I told him to go and do what he’s very good at and, yes, it took a nick but the power took it past the keeper.

“I thought their keeper was excellent, he played really well, and he made some great saves off our long throws. My criticism of that is that we didn’t capitalise off the second ball when it was there for us.

“The crowd were very supportive of what we were doing and that’s because they enjoy hard work. They love tackling and Jon Mellish’s tackle set a tone, as did the one from George Tanner. We had Dean Furman pressing, Callum Guy winning headers and Mellish doing the same.

“These things are so important and people don’t always see the unnoticed work that players do. It’s the type of stuff that makes the team become really effective. We were good as a unit.”

Beech was pleased with the energy shown by his front three as Kayode, Patrick and Toure helped Carlisle get on top.

He said: “I like the way these lads played together, especially in the second half.

“When the ball was turned over we got it back straight away, and what we need after that is a little bit more end product.

“That’ll come, and isn’t it good that were critiquing a comfortable home win. It’s much better than going over a 3-0 away loss and not understanding how it’s happened.”

Beech said United did not give “gifts” away as they had in the 3-0 defeats to Cambridge and Oldham.

The individual performances of attacker Toure and recalled midfielder Furman also stood out.

On Toure, who got an ovation from the 1,000 fans when he was substituted, Beech said: “You guys on the radio and in your in-game tweets will be probably very complimentary, because the fans haven’t been able to see it, so well done to you – but yeah, he takes the ball, takes responsibility and he’s a threat.

“I’m trying to teach him to be more threatening in the attacking half, teach him to make runs off the ball as well. He’s 25. A great age. He’s not 30.”

The experienced Furman, meanwhile, helped Carlisle establish control in midfield as the South African protected United’s defence.

Beech said: “Without being disrespectful to players who have left this building that were heavily supported, and very well paid to represent us, Dean is like a domestique in cycling. He sacrifices himself for the benefit of others.

“He will do that verbally and physically and, when I get the stats, I know that him and Jon Mellish – even though Jon came off – will have ran further than most other people who played 93 minutes.

“Dean is fit, he’s calm and he makes good football decisions. He’s been there and done that and he’s the kind of player I really wanted.

“You can see how hard it is because somebody as experienced as Alan McCormack…he’s been promoted the last three years, but today was tough for him. That was because of our midfield three.”