Poor start to the new year from Whitley Bay

Whitley Bay on the attack in the first half against Penrith.

Whitley Bay on the attack in the first half against Penrith.

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Whitley Bay began the new year in disappointing style as they slumped to defeat at Hillheads against an in-form Penrith side.

Paul Chow, who needed stitches in a head wound during the Boxing Day victory over West Allotment Celtic, was missing from the Bay side and within 20 minutes they suffered another blow when captain Chris Reid limped off with a groin injury.

By that time they were already a goal down with Martyn Coleman’s shot from out on the left hitting the far post before rebounding along the line and going in off the near post to give the Cumbrians an 11th minute lead.

Reid was replaced by Michael McMullen, back in favour and making his first appearance since scoring in a pre-season friendly.

Soon after the change, Whitley briefly threatened when a long crossfield ball from Paul Robinson found Alex Kempster on the left wing and as he was about to break clear he was brought down by Penrith defender William Paul.

Robinson took the free kick but in the absence of Chow and Reid, Whitley lacked an aerial threat and the ball was comfortably collected above his head by keeper Joshua Richardson.

After struggling to make an impact in the opening half hour, Whitley had a good ten-minute spell before the interval and with 39 minutes played, Craig McFarlane cut in from the left and exchanged passes with Peter Watling before firing in a shot that Richardson blocked at the expense of a corner.

Two minutes later Marc Ellison also saw a shot blocked but a minute before the break Coleman wasted a great chance to double the lead after a slip in the Bay defence left him clear on goal but his shot was off target.

Coleman was proving to be the main threat for the visitors and nine minutes into the second half he was denied by Dan Gladstone.

But just 60 seconds later the Cumbrians doubled their lead thanks to Grant Davidson’s glancing header from a left wing corner.

Shortly past the hour mark, Robbie Bird’s cross gave Kempster a chance but his header was saved by Richardson.

It was a rare attempt on target by Whitley who struggled particularly in midfield with passes too often going astray.

They failed to put the Penrith defence under any sustained pressure and never really threatened to get back in the game.

Any lingering hopes were extinguished after 81 minutes when Aden Wainwright slammed home the loose ball from six yards after Whitley had failed to clear their lines after Gladstone had kept out an earlier effort.

In the closing stages Robinson picked up an injury and was replaced by new signing Hylton Laws.

Whitley Bay: Gladstone, Brooking, Reid (McMullen 21), Laws, Ellison (Prosser 63), Berry, Bird, McFarlane, Watling, Robinson (H Laws), Kempster.

Subs not used: Day, Chow.