Carlisle United manager Chris Beech has heaped praise on his midfield trio after a stellar performance in their win over Newport County.

United put the table-topping Exiles to the sword on Tuesday night, with the 3-2 scoreline flattering the visitors somewhat.

A first-half penalty scored by Lewis Alessandra and two goals from Jon Mellish in the second half put the Cumbrians in a commanding position, before Newport pulled two goals back in the closing stages.

Ex-Carlisle fan favourite Jamie Devitt slotted home from close range before Josh Sheehan curled one in from distance – but in truth Carlisle could and should have scored more, with several good chances in the first half.

Mellish, who Beech pushed forward from defence at the start of the season, is the joint-highest goalscorer in the league with six goals, and has eight in all competitions.

Speaking after the game, Beech praised the impact of Mellish alongside Callum Guy and Joe Riley in the centre of the park.

He said: “Callum was all over everybody in midfield and I think there was only once that a player got away from him and played forward. He managed it, but he was massively supported by Jon Mellish and Joe Riley.

“Jon does what he does. He could actually have had a hat-trick, or more, because he’s getting into these areas all the time. He’s amazing considering where he was. Just thankful he signed that contract before he started scoring his goals.

“Our budget is low but we’ve recruited intelligently, we want players with ambition and room to grow. Jon is a great example of that, along with everybody else.

“There are a lot of players not playing so if we’re missing a few players, we’ve still got players wanting to play who are young and hungry.”

The front three of Josh Kayode, Gavin Reilly and Lewis Alessandra also performed well.

In the first half in particular, they harried a Newport defence known for playing out from the back and forced them to go long, allowing the midfield trio to regain possession.

The league leaders couldn’t get a foot on the ball in the opening 45, and rarely threatened the United defence until after the break.

Beech added: “The front three were excellent and we were very solid.

“They took off one of their best players at half time in Abrahams because it wasn’t going right for him.

“Sometimes it isn’t because of them, it’s just because of us and what we’re doing.

“If we had our shooting boots on we could have been three or four up at half-time, but overall we’re delighted that we beat the league leaders with the current run of form they’ve been on.”