PENRITH 2 WHITLEY BAY 0
Saturday 6th April
This was a rather scrappy and typical end of season game which sadly provided little entertainment for the fans. Chances were at a premium and while Dan Lister made one fine save in the second half, neither goalkeeper had a busy afternoon.
Although bottom of the table, Penrith came into the game on a good run of form, with just one defeat in their previous six games and with consecutive clean sheets.
They looked to be the side with greater desire and they took a tenth minute lead, capitalising on a misplaced pass which handed them possession deep inside their own half. Breaking quickly from defence, Davidson played the ball through to Clarke who found Martyn Coleman in acres of space on the right edge of the Whitley box and the prolific striker showed his quality as he coolly slotted the ball across Lister and in to the far corner of the net.
Whitley’s first attack of note came in the 24th minute when Peter Glen-Ravenhill broke down the right and his cross was pushed clear by keeper Stuart Dixon just ahead of Luke Salmon. Just past the half hour, Olly Martin headed narrowly beyond the far post from Salmon’s right wing corner then two minutes later, with Whitley coming more into the game, they were denied what looked like an obvious penalty when Salmon went down under a heavy challenge as he closed in on goal. However, instead of a spot kick, referee Jack Gordon signalled a corner which the Cumbrians defended effectively.
One goal behind at the interval, Whitley looked more lively in the early stages of the second half but they were still struggling to string passes together and the disciplined home defence allowed them little time on the ball.
Ten minutes after the restart, another justifiable claim for a penalty was turned down after another uncompromising tackle, this time on Jonathan Wright, who limped off shortly afterwards, to be replaced by Andrei Ardelean. On the hour, a rare shot on target for Whitley by skipper Glen-Ravenhill was comfortably saved by Dixon. Five minutes later McFarlane burst forward down the right and his pass found Ardelean whose attempt was blocked.
Whitley had a fortunate escape in the 71st minute when Coleman was played clear down the right, took the ball past Lister and looked sure to score but his shot struck the outside of the upright and went behind. Their luck did not last long as barely 60 seconds later, another ball down the right flank reached Adam Main, who played it wide of Lister before slotting it accurately inside the near post to double the lead and effectively end Whitley’s hopes of getting back in the game.
Eleven minutes from time Lister made the best save of the day when he pushed a powerful shot from substitute Brown over the bar to prevent a third goal. Whitley were being denied space and time on the ball by a determined home defence intent on keeping a third clean sheet in eight days and to the disappointment of the excellent following of away fans, they failed to capitalise on a rare opportunity when it finally arrived. It came when Olly Martin got past his man down the left and his dangerous cross was pushed out by Dixon but there was no Bay player on hand to slot home the loose ball.
Having languished well adrift for much of the season, Penrith are suddenly the ‘form team’ and this latest victory lifted them to within three points of second bottom Whickham. Whitley meanwhile remain in 12th place but with two teams still capable of overtaking them in the final week of the season.
WHITLEY BAY: Lister, McFarlane, Walton, Christensen( Ramsey 77mins), Anderson, Hassan, Glen-Ravenhill(Brannen 68mins) ) D Wright, J Wright(Ardelean 58mins) Martin, Salmon subs not used: Redford, Taylor
Referee: Jack Gordon
Long trip to Cumbria brings no reward
PENRITH 2 WHITLEY BAY 0