“One of my proudest moments” says Coyles after scratch side “give everything”
PENRITH AFC ended their Northern League Division I season with a 6-0 defeat at Sunderland RCA on Saturday.
Only 11 players travelled, with manager Andy Coyles having lost the services of others due to injury and unavailability.
Coyles called that situation “really disappointing”. “I would go on record as saying it’s extremely poor and it’s not a true reflection of the amount of work that every single one has done, on and off the field this year,” he told the Herald.
However, Coyles — a Northumbria University lecturer and head coach of the England Universities men’s football team — said: “I’ve been involved in a number of clubs at a number of different levels — and I’m talking international, semi-professional, professional, grassroots.
“But Saturday I would say is one of my proudest moments — to see 11 boys turn up, knowing fine well that there are only 11 men on the pitch; and they’ve given their all against a Sunderland team fighting for fourth in the Northern League.
“I’m really proud of the boys who turned out. Normally defeats stick with me for a long long time, but I actually think that loss will be forgotten about very quickly because what I will remember is the 11 lads who travelled, and gave absolutely everything. That means more to me than the result.”
Penrith finished bottom of the Division I table, three points behind Whickham, but club officials understand they will receive a relegation reprieve, two other teams having resigned around the start of this season.
Coyles was appointed caretaker manager in October and was faced with a major rebuilding job after a host of players left Frenchfield Park. But hard work behind the scenes, the return of key players and the signing of others prompted an impressive turnaround.
Nominating his highlight of the season, Coyles plumped for a 3-1 win over 2018 FA Vase finalists Stockton Town in February — four months after a chastening 8-0 defeat in the away fixture with a scratch squad; and also, one week later, an impressive 6-3 win at high-flying Bishop Auckland.
“It was just a clear sign and evidence of drastic change in such a short space of time,” Coyles reflected.
He and his players will now continue preparations for their Cumberland FA Senior Cup final clash against Carlisle United, at Brunton Park on 30th April (7pm kick-off).
SUNDERLAND RCA 6,
PENRITH AFC 0
Penrith’s uphill battle, with an 11-man squad, was a whole lot steeper after just half an hour.
Sunderland opened the scoring on seven minutes as unmarked Dominic Moan headed home a cross from the right. Then, 15 minutes later, Penrith were reduced to 10 men as defender Angelos Eleftheriadis was shown the red card for pushing over Nathan O’Neill as he ran through on goal. Dylan Elliott converted the resulting penalty.
O’Neill made it 3-0 from long range on the stroke of half-time. And in the second period, the hosts scored three more through Michael Charlton, Luke Page and Moan again.
Penrith: Forrester, Hebson, Paul, Law, Eleftheriadis, Johnson, Jack Brown, Moynan, Max Brown, Lee, Holliday.