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Hatters mark return with victory

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Mark Cullen netted the only goal as Luton laid down a marker on their return to the Football League at Brunton Park.

Cullen struck on the half-hour mark and it proved to be enough as the Hatters made an impressive start to life back in the fourth tier after a five-year absence.

Luton had the better of the first half exchanges against a Carlisle side much changed from last season's relegation outfit, but their defence, well marshalled by skipper Jim McNulty, had to survive a second half onslaught.

Cullen wasted a great early opening created for him by Benson, bursting through into the box only to drag his shot wide of the left-hand post.

However the Hatters looked sharp and first to the ball and took the lead on the half hour when Jake Howells and Benson combined cleverly on the right and Benson's low ball across the six yard box left Cullen with a tap in at the far post.

There was a brisker look about Carlisle after the break and they had Luton defending desperately as Billy Paynter twice went close and Mark Tyler tipped over a soaring Courtney Meppen-Walter header.

Carlisle were unable to inject quality into their final ball and Benson almost made it 2-0 in added time forcing Mark Gillespie to scramble away his angled effort.

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