Paul Simpson saluted goalscorer Kristian Dennis for pouncing to get Carlisle United’s season off to the perfect start.

The experienced frontman struck early on against Crawley Town.

And after that proved the decisive moment in United’s 1-0 win, manager Simpson highlighted the value of Dennis’s penalty-box attributes.

“It was probably a really scruffy one, but I’ve said to him that the first one of the season is always really hard to get,” the United boss said.

“I know that as a forward player myself from long ago that you want that first one.

“To get yourself up and running on the first game is really brilliant, and I’m delighted for him.

READ MORE: Carlisle United 1-0 Crawley Town - as it happened!

“You have to have goalscorers. Kristian Dennis is. Ryan Edmondson’s a goalscorer. I also think we’ll get goals from different parts of the pitch.”

Simpson admitted that United’s failure to score more goals was the only aspect of their opening-day performance that could have been improved.

Overall the manager was delighted with how his team applied themselves and often dominated and created a host of chances against Kevin Betsy’s visitors.

“The attitude, the application, the determination, work-rate…that was what I was expecting and hoping for,” Simpson said.

“Three points was what I was hoping for, as was a clean sheet.

“Being totally greedy I wanted more goals. I think when you look at the way the game was, it’s fair to say that we probably should have got more goals.

“We did create some good openings, and when you get the next goal you have that breathing space. They would have to come out a little bit, but overall I’m absolutely delighted that we got off to a winning start.

“I was really pleased with the support we got, but now we have to dust ourselves down and go again.”

United impressed against Crawley with a relentless first 30 minutes when they pressed and harried the visitors in their own half.

Simpson said this approach set the tone, adding: “I want a real front-foot mentality, for us to win it as high up the pitch as we can.

“If you’ve got a team like Crawley who want to play out from the back, you have to be prepared for it and be patient waiting for the opportunity to nick it. “I thought particularly in the first 30 minutes we did it well, created chances, and gave us that platform.

“We had some really good chances from being front foot and winning the ball back, and we’ve got to stay that way.”

United’s one goal proved enough as the Blues rearguard limited the opportunities to Crawley’s frontmen, including big summer signing Dom Telford.

Simpson, meanwhile, says being more ruthless in the box will enable United to win such games more comfortably.

“I just looked at the chances we created, and we had 19 opportunities that are classed as chances,” he said.

“I know the term is used loosely because one was Jordan Gibson’s free-kick which didn’t trouble the goals, one was Callum Guy’s shot which didn’t trouble the goalkeeper, but I just think if we can improve on those things, our decision-making and our technical ability, we can cause problems.”