Whitley completed the season in tremendous style with a comprehensive 4-1 victory at Penrith on Saturday. Their form in recent months has been hugely impressive and this latest success extended their unbeaten run to eleven games and ensured that they finished in sixth place.
On a fine, sunny afternoon Whitley started well and created the first chance with eight minutes played when Andy Robertson brought the ball down well inside the six yard box and knocked it past keeper Johnny Jamieson but defender Tyler Bowman got back to clear off the line for the Cumbrians. Four minutes later Tom Potter and Alex Kempster combined well down the right flank but when the ball was played low across the goalmouth it was cleared to safety.
Somewhat against the run of play Penrith took the lead in the 14th minute after they broke away down the right. Coleman’s shot from close range was pushed out by Tom Flynn but only as far as Andrew Murray-Jones who slotted home from six yards.
Whitley’s response was positive and they might have equalised five minutes later when a corner was played short and caught the home side napping giving Potter time to cut in before sending a low shot only inches wide and into the side netting.
Keeping up the pressure, Whitley got the goal their play deserved when Chris McDonald struck a stunning 25 yard shot across Jamieson and into the net off the far post with the keeper rooted to the spot. It was a superb strike and one of the goals of the season. All square after 21 minutes, Whitley were playing some neat and attractive football and they took the lead on the half hour when Potter fired the ball in from the right wing and with the home defence all at sea, Kyle Patton raced in unmarked to crash the ball home from six yards. It was the teenager’s tenth goal in Bay colours and his sixth in the last five games.
Whitley were troubling Penrith down both wings and an excellent run by Patton four minutes before the break took him past three opponents before his cross was met by Charmey, whose shot went over the bar. Moments before the half time whistle, Coleman’s cross into the Bay goalmouth was blazed out of the ground by Connelly.
Five minutes after the interval, Whitley won a free kick 25 yards out and in front of goal, but Charmey’s well flighted ball was pushed over the bar by Jamieson, who saved another long range effort from the Frenchman two minutes later. Whitley continued to pose the greater threat and Jamieson had to be alert to push a shot from Patton round the post just past the hour mark.
Little had been seen of Penrith’s 44 goal striker Martyn Coleman, who had been well marshalled by Callum Anderson, but when he did get a sight of goal in the 69th minute, his shot was well saved by Flynn.
With ten minutes left, Whitley made the game safe with a third goal, substitute Liam Brooks flicking the ball forward for Alex Kempster to volley powerfully past Jamieson. Two minutes later Callum Patton was not far off target with a free kick but with six minutes left, he set up Whitley’s fourth goal, playing Brooks clear to slot home from ten yards.
The home side, clearly tiring after a punishing schedule of fixtures in recent weeks, were under further pressure in the closing stages and only a brave save from Jamieson denied Charmey following some neat one touch football in the Penrith six yard box.
This was an extremely encouraging performance by Whitley’s young squad and at the final whistle they received a tremendous reception from the many Bay fans who had made the journey to Cumbria. It was Whitley’s biggest win at Penrith in over 40 years and left fans in good heart and optimistic for the future.