Carlisle United 1 Cheltenham Town 2: Jon Mellish's 11th goal in as many games wasn't enough for Carlisle United as they suffered their first home defeat of the League Two season.

Prolific Mellish pulled one back on the stroke of half-time after Will Boyle and Conor Thomas struck for the Robins.

But Carlisle couldn't complete their comeback as they dropped their first points at Brunton Park since March.

Gavin Reilly had their best chance of forcing a point but was denied by keeper Scott Flinders from close range in the 82nd minute.

United were otherwise short of real chances as they dropped to sixth in League Two.

Cheltenham were the better side for much of the first half and had worked their way into a two-goal lead by the 36th minute.

Liam Sercombe was first to have an effort blocked and after Reilly was closed down at the other end, the visitors struck.

The deadlock was broken when Ben Tozer's huge long throw from the right was headed home by Boyle.

Michael Duff's side troubled United further with their passing and movement, and some tough defending limited Carlisle to very few openings.

Omari Patrick rifled over after getting a sight of goal on 27 minutes but United went further behind from the penalty spot.

They felt they should have had a foul themselves, but ref Andy Haines allowed play to continue - Mellish then bringing down Tozer.

Thomas sent Farman the wrong way and it seemed a long way back for the Cumbrians.

Reilly was denied a spot-kick of his own late in the half and United did finish the period on the front foot, earning their goal on 45 minutes when Patrick made a positive run and crossed for the arriving Mellish to turn it past Flinders.

The ex-Gateshead man has now scored 50 per cent of all Carlisle's goals this campaign.

United started the second half brightly, Joe Riley denied by Flinders, but struggled to create regular changes against streetwise opponents, for whom Alfie May was often a threat on the break in wide positions.

On 65 minutes he cut in from the left and shot narrowly wide, while Boyle should have converted another Tozer throw from close-range after Charlie Raglan had helped it on.

Carlisle boss Chris Beech, without Gime Toure to suspension and Joshua Kayode to international duty, turned to Micah Obiero as he sought some attacking inspiration.

Chances remained scarce, May chipping over the bar for the Robins before ex-Cheltenham man Reilly failed to take Carlisle's real opportunity for a point.

It came when a corner broke for Nick Anderton, whose miscued shot broke into the path of Reilly, but he couldn't steer his shot past Flinders.

New signing Rhys Bennett was also on for the closing stages, the defender joining in the attacking and midfield effort, but Carlisle, despite sending plenty of deliveries forward and into the box, lacked the craft to find a way through Duff's side.

United: Farman, Tanner, Anderton, Hayden, McDonald, Guy, Riley (Obiero 74), Mellish, Patrick, Alessandra (Bennett 83), Reilly. Not used: Dewhurst, Devine, Hunt, Charters, Malley.

Goal: Mellish 45.

Cheltenham: Flinders, Raglan, Tozer, Boyle, Blair, Hussey, Thomas, Chapman, Sercombe, Williams, May (Lloyd 83). Not used: Harris, Freestone, Sang, Clements, Addai, Reid.

Goals: Boyle 15, Thomas 36pen.

Ref: Andy Haines.