NIGHTMARE WEEK SEES BLUES HIT ROCK BOTTOM
A NIGHTMARE week for Penrith began on Saturday with a 5-0 FA Vase trouncing at Eccleshill United and ended with a 5-2 defeat by lowly Crook Town on Wednesday.
However, that was not all, as the Blues also had three points deducted for fielding an ineligible player, Mike Bell, whose registration had expired the previous day. They have also been told by the Northern League that the game in which Bell played — a 3-2 victory over Morpeth Town — has been declared null and void and will have to be replayed.
This means Penrith are now anchored at the bottom of the league without a point — leaving them a mountain to climb.
“We will just have to start again now,” said manager Geoff Byers. “We have just given every team eight games start and now have to try to catch up.”
He said the registration mix-up, which happened when Bell returned to the team after being out of action for a long while through injury, was an oversight, but should have been picked up.
“In the Northern League you can actually sign somebody on the day of the game so we had a chance to pick it up then, but didn’t.”
Wednesday’s defeat by Crook Town was described by the manager as “pathetic”.
“We started off brightly and should have had a couple of goals before the one we scored and then John Wharton had a chance and hit the goalie.
“After that, though, they thought they had done enough. The first three Crook goals all came from our mistakes. It was pathetic. It was like Sunday league — they thought they only had to play for 20 minutes.”
It was a similar story at Bradford on Saturday when the Blues crashed out of the FA Vase with a 5-0 defeat by Eccleshill United — the team they beat 6-0 in the FA cup earlier in the season.
However, the visitors did not get off to the best start when David Lawson was left in Carlisle, John Wharton and Dale White failed to turn up and Richard Walton had to pull out with an ankle injury.
“Without our strongest squad we don’t have enough people or experience and I am still on the lookout for players,” said Byers.
He added that he would be contacting Neil Fox and Alan Scott who are on Penrith’s books but have been on the sidelines for lengthy spells due to injuries in the hope that they will be back in action soon.
Penrith included midfielder Liam Armstrong in the squad on Wednesday, but the former Carlisle United youngster who has just been released by Queen of the South has told Byers that he is unavailable on Saturdays due to work commitments.
Today the Blues hope to get back on track when they travel to Stockton with what will hopefully be a full-strength side, and on Wednesday Billingham Synthonia visit Southend Road.
PENRITH began promisingly and took the lead with a Colin Daglish goal in the 14th minute.
However, Danny Key equalised for Crook in the 33rd minute and David Bellamy added a second two minutes later.
The visitors made it 3-1 with a goal in the 43rd minute, but David Lawson gave Penrith hope when he pulled a goal back just before half-time with a 20-yard shot.
Crook sealed the game midway through the second half with goals from Marram and Langley.
ECCLESHILL exacted revenge for their 6-0 defeat by Penrith in the FA Cup earlier in the season by hammering five past the inept visitors.
The Bradford side went in front after just two minutes when number nine Rusby ran through to beat goalkeeper Nigel McCombie with the Penrith defence standing still, appealing for offside.
The Blues fought back but when Eccleshill number 10 Cotton forced in the second on 43 minutes, Penrith were in trouble.
After the interval, a mix-up in defence enabled Senior to make it 3-0 after 50 minutes.
Five minutes later Quinn made Penrith pay for failing to clear the ball and, in the 80th minute, substitute Corbally fired in the fifth.