Carlisle welcomed the first fans back to Brunton Park with a 2-0 win over Southend thanks to quickfire first-half goals from Omari Patrick and Josh Kayode.
The game was one of seven to get the green light for the return of spectators as part of a weekend series of EFL-wide Covid-19 safety tests.
Both sides suffered horrible starts to their respective campaigns, with heavy opening-day losses bringing cause for concern – Carlisle going down 3-0 at Cambridge while Southend were hammered 4-0 by promoted Harrogate.
But it was the 1,000 socially-distanced Cumbrians who had smiles on their faces once Patrick’s deflected volley saw him open his account for the season on 36 minutes and end a sluggish start to the game.
Three minutes later, the lead was doubled and the outcome sealed as fellow striker Kayode worked space to sweep a neat finish into the bottom corner.
The visitors had little to offer and, having just been given a further six-week extension to pay off a near £500,000 debt, it looks like there is trouble ahead on and off the pitch for the floundering Shrimpers.