It’s been coming, hasn’t it, that first goal of the season for last term’s 16-strike top scorer Jon Mellish, and it was a goal typical of the way he plays as he stepped in to wallop a touch from Tristan Abrahams into the back of the net from all of two-yards out.
Having already covered every blade of grass, he visibly settled even more into his stride after his net buster had crossed the line and was deservedly nominated as man-of-the-match, both online and by the club’s sponsors.
“He’s a great lad and he scored a great goal,” manager Chris Beech said. “He’s very honest and I’ve often said, what more do you want from a Carlisle player.
“A goalscoring midfielder who aims for ten goals a season will often score five or six scruffy ones. I’ve scored worse goals than that one from Jon myself.
“The belters you get all get replayed and everyone thinks you score all your goals like that. For Jon, he’s broke his duck but he’s also very valuable in stopping goals against.
“I won’t have to look, I already know his work rate will show that he ran harder and longer than anybody else. That’s what he does. Long may that continue.
“He has been part of goals we’ve scored already this season and he’s got his own reward today.”
“But he brings more than goals,” he continued. “He’s just a great personality and person. It’s like a throwback, because a lot of players these days come through academies and they can all Cruyff turn and do certain things, but his biggest attribute is the fact he’s a north-east lad with a fantastic outlook.
“He’s as honest as they come. But here’s his challenge, he’s got one goal at the moment so there’s 15 more to go to match last year.”
“Having said that, I’ve never known a midfielder from last season to score 16 and none of them be penalties or free kicks,” he added. “That’s just ridiculous, especially he was a converted centre half and he was on the release list in that position.
“We played him in a reserve game and he scored a hat-trick, and I noted that he’s very good at getting the ball back. You’re tied to your position as a centre half, but as a midfield player you can do more, and he’s brilliant with it.
“As well as his goal he actually stopped Salford from scoring near the end, and that’s as important. Then there’s his work rate. It’s almost like he picks the ball up and runs with it, but he does that with his feet.
“You need that drive and determination and what was really pleasing from him, if you go back 12 months he was probably scoring more goals at that point, but he’d drive like that then pass straight to the opposition.
“Now he’s retaining the ball and that’s only going to stand him in good stead to play in teams that are going to win games.”