Carlisle United 2 Salford City 1: Carlisle United marked the long-awaited return of fans to Brunton Park with an impressive victory over Salford City.

With 2,000 supporters back in the ground under the new Tiered Covid-19 rules, Lewis Alessandra and Rhys Bennett scored for the Cumbrians.

Di'shon Bernard headed a late consolation for the visitors but United held on to give their returning faithful plenty to cheer about as they moved up to fifth in League Two.

With season-ticket holders and about 300 more fans with general-sale tickets back in the stadium, Carlisle put on a positive display.

With Alessandra and Danny Devine called into the side at the expense of Joe Riley and Gime Toure - Devine making his first Blues league start - Chris Beech's team were on the front foot.

Aaron Hayden failed to get a headed attempt on target from early set-piece pressure, while big-spending Salford lost Ian Henderson to a head injury midway through the half.

Carlisle remained on top with Bennett narrowly failing to divert a George Tanner shot past Hladky.

Luke Burgess went close with an attempt for Salford but the impressive Tanner then put a long-range effort narrowly wide and Omari Patrick curled one over from distance.

Alessandra then broke the deadlock with a sweet, curling left-footed shot from the edge of the box.

Turnbull missed a good headed chance to level as Salford tried to fight back, Tanner then almost setting up Kayode at the other end and Mellish seeing a finish from Patrick's cross blocked.

After the break, Ashley Hunter tested Paul Farman from distance before Patrick almost picked out Kayode after a run down the left.

A superb run by Kayode to battle past defenders on the other side then should have set up Devine, but the midfielder was not ready for the cross, which struck his leg and enabled Salford to clear.

The visitors then applied pressure with Burgess put in to the right but shooting across goal and wide.

Bruno Andrade then had the ball in the net after a left-wing cross, but the offside flag denied Salford.

Defender Bennett then got on the end of Guy's set-piece with a diving header to make it 2-0.

Further good work from Kayode almost set up Mellish and Salford then cleared off the line as Hayden tried to turn in Tanner's cross.

United suffered a blow on 75 minutes when Guy went down injured and couldn't continue, Dean Furman taking his place.

Alessandra volleyed over late on before Bernard headed in a left-sided cross for Salford in the 90th minute.

Keeper Hladky came up for an injury-time corner, which saw Carlisle break up the pitch, but sub Toure couldn't quite hit the target.

The Blues, though, held on for a deserved victory, Beech and his players saluting their supporters in the Paddock, Main Stand, Warwick Road End and Pioneer Stand at the end of a positive night on and off the pitch.

United: Farman, Tanner, Anderton, Hayden, Bennett, Devine, Guy (Furman 75), Mellish, Alessandra (Riley 90), Patrick (Toure 86), Kayode. Not used: Norman, Hunt, Reilly, Dixon.

Goals: Alessandra 34, Bennett 56.

Booked: Guy, Mellish, Kayode, Tanner.

Salford: Hladky, Touray, Lowe, Eastham, Clarke, Hunter (Dieseruvwe 73), Andrade, Bernard, Burgess, Turnbull (Denny 60), Henderson (Armstrong 22). Not used: Evans, Boyd, Threlkeld, Smith.

Goal: Dieseruvwe 90.

Booked: Touray, Bernard.

Ref: Graham Salisbury.

Crowd: 2,000.