First half goal sinks Cumbrians ...
Carlisle United enjoyed a much improved second half but ultimately had nothing to show for their efforts as Luton dug deep to hold on to their first half lead to claim their first Football League victory in five seasons.
Luton started on the attack but an early corner was wasted as Robson headed the deep delivery high into the air for Gillespie to catch.
A looping free kick followed but the Carlisle stopper was able to watch it all the way as he plucked it from beneath his bar, and Meppen-Walter slid in with a timely challenge on Robinson as the Hatters enjoyed the bulk of the possession.
United settled and a long throw from Grainger had Paynter interested. He muscled his man out of the way but his flicked header was right at Tyler.
A lapse in concentration in midfield left Cullen with a clear run into the box and he had the width of the target to aim at as he drew the keeper off his line. He chose to bide his time and his shot was disappointing as it curled well wide of the upright.
Good work from Marrow put the hosts on the attack when he robbed possession in the middle of the park. He carried it forward and spread it wide for Symington but the low cross was hacked away before Paynter could pounce.
An incisive pass from Symington set Potts away on a direct run as the action ebbed and flowed and the big midfielder suddenly found himself with just the keeper to beat. He hit it on the run and Tyler had to be careful as it rattled into his midriff.
Carlisle went close again on the half hour when O'Hanlon clipped the ball out from the edge of the box. Amoo took it on his chest and spun his marker but he couldn't keep it down as it angled over the bar.
The Hatters stunned United with a flowing move which left Mark Cullen with a tap in at the far post following slick work from Benson and Howells. The pair combined to work their way through and the goal, when it came, was a simple close range push into an empty net.
Luton stayed tight as United probed forward and crosses from Amoo and Symington were blocked at source with Carlisle once again on top of the possession stats. And the visitors almost sprung the offside trap when Cullen whipped a curling cross into the six yard box. Benson lunged for it but he couldn't quite find the touch.
Carlisle came sharply out of the blocks for the start of the second half and a cross from Symington had Luton stretched. Dicker picked up the pieces and his determination brought a corner which was eventually half cleared to Meppen-Walter. He opened himself up for the shot but his long range effort flew high into the Warwick.
United were denied what appeared to be a clear penalty on 50 minutes when Elliott slipped the ball back to Symington. He picked out Paynter and a deft header was stopped in its tracks by McNulty's hand. The officials consulted but nothing was given.
More home pressure took Potts into the box and Tyler had to dive to punch his cross away from the danger zone. The blue shirts stayed forward and a Symington set piece found Meppen-Walter on the rise. His header had to be tipped over as it sped for the roof of the net.
The attacks came in waves and another Potts pass bobbled agonisingly across the face of an empty goal. Paynter got there but it was a tight angle and a combination of keeper and post prevented the big striker from claiming his debut goal.
Paynter went even closer as Amoo created space for a cross which had the striker more than interested. His header had Tyler beaten but it shaved the wrong side of the post on its way behind for a goal kick.
Carlisle went close again when Tyler misjudged the flight of a deep cross and Dicker spun away with the ball at his feet. The angle was tight and he was unlucky to see his shot smash into the side netting.
The Hatters almost landed a sucker punch on 76 minutes when they found themselves with men to spare in the United half. Benson should have finished it off but he couldn't wrap his boot around the pass at very close range.
Carlisle kept pushing and they were close again when Paynter put his foot through a loose ball from 19 yards. Tyler was relieved to see it whip just over the angle of post and bar.
Elliott was next to sweep one wide but it just wouldn't go for the Cumbrians and Luton were left to celebrate in front of their fans come the final whistle.
Luton - Cullen (30)
Luton - Connolly (63)
Carlisle United - Gillespie, O'Hanlon, Meppen-Walter, Grainger (Elliott 46), Symington, Robson, Potts, Marrow, Dicker, Paynter, Amoo (Kearns 76). Subs - Hanford, Sweeney, Thirlwell, Brough, Dempsey.
Luton Town - Tyler, McNulty, Lacey, Drury (Stevenson 79), Benson, Howells (Rooney 83), Griffiths, Cullen, Robinson, Connolly, Wilkinson. Subs - Justham, Franks, Wall, Mpanzu Ruddock, Guttridge.
Referee - Mr Nigel Miller
Attendance - 6,760 (1,088 away fans)