PENRITH 3 WHITLEY BAY 1
Saturday 24th March
Whitley’s poor run of form continued at Penrith as a second half hat trick from striker Martyn Coleman earned victory for the Cumbrians. Andy Gowens made one change from the side that performed well without reward at Shildon in midweek, Callum Johnston coming in for the unlucky Chris Salmon.
There were few chances of note in a first half where passes frequently went astray as both sides struggled to retain possession. In the 13th minute, Rhys Groves made an important interception, conceding a corner to prevent Coleman from going clear on goal. Eight minutes later, Johnston got a shot on target as he cut in from the right but Penrith keeper Stuart Dixon got down low to gather the ball.
Tom Flynn, making his 100th Bay appearance then produced an excellent one handed save, pushing a goalbound effort from Coleman over the bar. The strong and physical home side were seeing more of the ball during the opening stages but Whitley gradually came more into the game as half time approached and with 42 minutes played, a left wing corner was nodded back across goal by Liam Brooks where Jack Walker leapt to get a header on goal but Dixon made the save.
Three minutes after the interval Coleman capitalised on a defensive mistake as Groves appeared to be shepherding the ball out of play for a goal kick but misjudged the pace of the ball and allowed the powerful Penrith striker to get in front of him, cut in from the by-line and drive a shot beyond Flynn to put the hosts in front. The goal gave the Cumbrians a boost and minutes later, Murray-Jones was then denied by Flynn as the Bay keeper came out to smother the ball and prevent a shot on goal.
Whitley got back in the game with 59 minutes played when Josh Nearney crossed from near the right corner flag and as the ball flew across the face of goal, Peter Glen-Ravenhill bundled it into the net from close range.
The equaliser spurred Whitley on as they produced their best football of the game and put some pressure on the home defence with several pacey runs from midfield but the final ball lacked penetration and Dixon was not seriously tested. In the 68th minute, Flynn pulled off a fine point blank save from a Murray-Jones header but four minutes later the Cumbrians grabbed a crucial second goal when danger man Coleman skipped past two defenders on the left side of the 18 yard box before firing a tremendous shot into the roof of the net giving Flynn no chance.
Whitley conceded a third goal in controversial circumstances four minutes later, when a clear foul on Nearney in midfield was allowed to go unpunished and the ball ran through for Coleman who advanced but went down just inside the box as Flynn raced out to block the ball. A penalty was awarded but with Bay fans fearing a red card for Flynn, referee Matthew East merely spoke to the keeper and did not even issue a caution. Coleman then dispatched the penalty in classic style, high into the top corner to complete his hat trick.
Despite late substitutions, Whitley could find no way back into the game and Penrith saw out the closing stages comfortably. The difference between the sides was Coleman, who produced the sort of clinical finishing that was lacking in the Bay performance.
WHITLEY BAY: Flynn, Nearney, Walker, Hall, Groves, Williams, Glen-Ravenhill, Haley(Anderson 78mins), Brooks(Jasper 73mins), Johnston, Potter(Bell 77mins)
Substitutes not used: Summers, Salmon.
Referee: Matthew East