Port Vale 0 Carlisle United 1: Jon Mellish was the goal hero for Carlisle United again after Paul Farman had saved a penalty at Port Vale.

The game turned in the space of three minutes early in the second half at Vale Park.

First, keeper Farman rescued the Blues, diving to his right to keep out Tom Pope's spot-kick with Mellish then following in with a superb saving challenge.

Mellish then struck the only goal, turning in Gavin Reilly's low cross at the near post to send Carlisle up to seventh in League Two.

It was a fourth goal in three games for the in-form midfielder.

And United also secured a third clean sheet in four league games as their form improves under Chris Beech.

The Blues boss made two changes to last weekend's league side, bringing Joe Riley and Reilly in at the expense of injured Ethan Walker and frontman Joshua Kayode, who is on international duty with the Republic of Ireland's under-21s.

Reilly and Gime Toure were both fit to start despite previous injuries, while Dean Furman returned to the bench, Vale having three ex-United men among their subs in Harry McKirdy, Luke Joyce and Shaun Brisley as boss John Askey made six changes.

Theo Robinson had early shots blocked for the hosts before Reilly fired over the bar with United's first effort from distance.

The dangerous Cristian Montano then went close for Askey's side before, at the other end, Brown kept out a Toure attempt and a defender denied Reilly a close-range opener.

Lewis Alessandra and Nick Anderton were next to be denied for Carlisle before Devante Rodney blew a great chance to open the scoring, putting a free header wide from the right after Montano's cross.

Mitch Clark went close for the hosts after cutting in from right-back, before Danny Whitehead was fortunate to escape with just a yellow card after hacking down the breaking Toure.

The game then spun on three crucial second-half minutes.

First, Alessandra brought down David Worrall in the 51st minute to concede a penalty, but Farman rescued Carlisle by diving to his right to keep out Pope's spot-kick.

Mellish then followed in with a brilliant clearance to prevent Vale following in to score.

The midfielder then sent Anderton down the left to cross for Toure, who shot wide from a good position.

But moments later Mellish made no mistake when he converted at the near post after good work from Reilly to keep things alive to the right.

Reilly and George Tanner almost combined for a quick second with Reilly again almost setting something up for Carlisle.

Vale brought on ex-United man Harry McKirdy on the hour but he had few opportunities as Carlisle held firm.

Toure showed plenty of his skill, beating three men at one stage as Mellish fired the ball across goal.

More trickery from the Frenchman ended with him whipping the ball narrowly wide from the left.

Toure should then have wrapped it up on 86 minutes, going clean through onto a weak backpass, but he failed to beat keeper Scott Brown.

Whitehead skied a late chance for the hosts but Carlisle were good value for their first away victory of 2020/21.

Port Vale: Brown, Clark, Legge, Montano, Crookes, Whitehead, Burgess (Conlon 60), Worrall, Robinson, Rodney, Pope (McKirdy 60). Not used: Joyce, Brisley, Fitzpatrick, Hurst, Visser.

United: Farman, Tanner, Anderton, Hayden, McDonald, Guy, Mellish, Riley (Malley 90), Alessandra, Toure, Reilly (Devine 76). Not used: Norman, Hunt, Furman, Armer, Bell.

Ref: James Bell.