Chris Beech admitted it was a thrill to see Carlisle United put on a show for returning supporters and joked: We fed the lions!

Some 2,000 fans watched the Blues beat Salford 2-1 on the landmark night fans came back to Brunton Park.

United produced an impressive display as Lewis Alessandra and Rhys Bennett scored against their big-spending visitors, who got a late consolation through Di’shon Bernard.

Beech said it was a special feeling to see such a positive showing in front of United's faithful.

The head coach said: “That’s the real deal, isn’t it? That’s a five-star performance. It was excellent.

“It was a shame they [Salford] scored, but it didn’t really make me feel that nervy – I felt more in control than we have previously when we’ve conceded.

“I’m so pleased for the supporters and extra pleased for the players. There’s extra pressure to perform [in front of fans] and we’ve fed the lions, haven’t we!”

There were chants of “United, United” as Carlisle got the better of Salford, with fans back at the ground under new Tier 2 Covid-19 rules.

Beech also showed his joy at full-time and added: “There were goosebumps on my neck when we’d won the game.

“I’ve not had that [this season]. I know winning’s vital and important, but if you can’t share it with anybody, sometimes it’s like, ‘what the heck’s going on?’

“We always knew we’d get to this point.

“Talking to the girls in the office, they’ve received 12,500 phonecalls [about the game]. I got messages off Manchester United’s scout who wanted to watch his left-sided centre-half [Salford’s on-loan Bernard], and see how George Tanner is getting on, and he couldn’t even get through. So he’s texting me last night to try and get a ticket.

“It’s amazing we’ve got so many people who are so interested. I suppose we’ve helped create that interest. And we’ve fed the lions!”

He added: “We were playing a very good opponent, who are financed very heavily to try and keep building.

“We asked a lot of questions of Salford and they answered a lot, because they’re a good team and did very well to stay in a game they could possibly get some points out of.

“But in terms of how we played and what we did, I’m very pleased with that.

“I’ve been saying it, but the fans haven’t been able to come, all they’ve been able to do is listen to BBC Cumbria. Now they can see it themselves. I’m just pleased we’ve shared that with them, I’m very thankful of that.

“It was also great before the game – I spoke to a few of the supporters and it was good to see them, good to talk to them, because I’ve not seen anybody since March, besides a few people when you walk around the ground in the week.”