KYLE Dempsey says “hurtful” abuse from Carlisle United supporters helped fire him to a match-winning performance at Brunton Park on Saturday.

The midfielder came right the way through the Bluebirds’ ranks to make his professional debut for them a decade ago but was given a hammering by home fans on his return.

Much of the reaction stemmed back to the 28-year-old’s conviction for assault after an incident in nearby Maryport two years ago – with Dempsey receiving a 12-month suspended sentence after a hearing last March.

Driven by jeers, Dempsey scored Bolton’s third goal in a 4-1 rout as the club returned to second spot in League One.

Speaking after the game, a frustrated Dempsey said: “I haven’t been back here since I was 18, when I moved on to Huddersfield and since I left I have been nothing but supportive of this club. I have always wished them the best on social media when they got to the play-offs, I was glad to see them do well.

“But from the minute I went on to the field I got booed, even in the warm-up, every corner.

“I think the emotion showed in my celebration. There is only so much abuse you can take and I am going to give something back. It was one of those – if they kept giving it to me I was going to show something back.

“It was a special feeling, especially scoring in front of a packed away end and making sure we got three points again.

Dempsey was Carlisle’s player of the year in 2014/15 and scored 11 times in 51 appearances for the club before getting a move to the Championship with Huddersfield Town.

Surprised by vitriol from the terraces at his old club, he was happy to leave with three points.

“It is hurtful,” he said. “I went from Under-8s all the way through to the youth team and played a year here in League Two, thought I did well for them. I have been nothing but supportive.

“I honestly didn’t think it would be as bad as it was. But it could have just been a select few and that is what I have heard. It is what it is. I am buzzing with my own performance and it was a great day for us, so that is all that matters.”

Ian Evatt praised the midfielder’s performance and says he has tried hard to move on from his indiscretion – which also carried a heavy fine and 200 hours of voluntary work, plus the wearing of an electronic tag.

“Demps doesn’t have anything to prove to anybody,” he said.

“Anybody in life can make a mistake. People deserve a second chance and Kyle has served the time, taken the punishment, and he is rejuvenated. He wants to show people what a fantastic player he is and he is a good person.

“I am really pleased for him because sometimes it isn’t easy when you feel you have a point to prove and you are getting a bit of stick from the fans.”