Gretna 2008 FC 0 Carlisle United 1: Sonny Hilton's superb strike handed Carlisle United victory in their friendly at Gretna.

The Fulham loan man cracked home a fine effort from outside the box early in the second half.

And that was enough to separate the sides on a night new goalkeeper Michael Kelly made his first Blues appearance.

Kelly played the first 45 minutes at Raydale Park in front of a 235 crowd and was largely untroubled.

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United, with Gavin Skelton in charge and Paul Simpson watching on, also got minutes into the legs of Corey Whelan, with young pros Jack Ellis, Lewis Bell and Gabe Breeze also featuring along with a host of youth team players.

Carlisle played in their familiar wing-back system, with Ellis, captain Whelan and Potts the three central defenders, and Bell and youngster Aran Fitzpatrick on right and left respectively.

Ryan Carr and Kai Nugent occupied central midfield with Hilton in a more advanced role behind frontmen Nic Bollado and Mason Hardy.

Gretna made the early running with Russell Currie giving Carlisle a second-minute scare, the forward getting behind Ellis and dinking the ball across goal, as young Blues defender Alex Potts cleared off the line.

Another break by Currie saw Kelly outside his box to make a tackle to deny the Gretna man.

Bollado then went close for the Blues when he met a low Hilton corner and saw his shot blocked on the Gretna line.

Chances were at a premium as United’s young side struggled to connect the final pass.

At the back, Whelan took control of things with Gretna only making sporadic openings, Ben Muir shooting narrowly wide from outside the box and Ben Spelman heading a near-post cross too high.

Nugent was unable to profit when home keeper Jack Main spilled a cross, and the teenage midfielder then fired a low shot too close to the Gretna No1.

Bollado looped a header onto the roof of the net before half-time.

United replaced new boy Kelly with Breeze in goal at the break, and were soon into the lead thanks to an inspired moment from Hilton.

The 21-year-old picked the ball up in space 25 yards out and sent a fierce shot high past Main to give Carlisle the lead.

It proved the one moment of true quality in the game, Bollado later having a goal ruled out for offside and Carr failing to convert a Hilton corner.

Nugent then saw a shot spilled by the keeper, who recovered just in time to claw the ball back from the line.

Gretna came close to a leveller when a free-kick was volleyed against the Carlisle bar by sub Conor Duffy.

The hosts twice had late claims for a penalty turned down, with challenges deemed to have been made just outside the box.

Gretna: Main, Gormley, Muir, Dickinson, Teviotdale, Caves, Mbewe, Munro, Currie, Fraser, Spelman. Subs: C Duffy, D Duffy, Johnston, Carmichael, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist.

Carlisle: Kelly (Breeze 46), Ellis, Whelan (Swinburn 62), Potts, Bell, Fitzpatrick (Hill 62), Carr, Nugent (Allan 87), Hilton, Bollado, Hardy (Gordon 62).

Crowd: 235.