City v Penrith



This tie put together a side going well in a Step 6 division against another with no wins in twelve games in a Step 5 league, and by all accounts, Penrith were lucky to reach this stage after scraping through in extra time against County League Gosforth. City drafted Jake Simpson and Tom Short into defence, and the late arrival of David Renyard meant he had to start on the bench, with Keiron Blair replacing him. Penrith included Hayton, Moynan and Shields who have all worn City jerseys in the past.

It was a very slow start to the game and, for much of the evening, the match almost felt more like a friendly than a cup-tie. Ironically, with the first chance of any description, City took the lead as Simpson’s well-struck free-kick bounced back off the bar and was scrambled in by Greenslade. The first attempt from Penrith was fired well over by Davidson, and then City responded with McCartney’s shot saved by Fowler.

Penrith were close to an equaliser as Hebson’s cross deflected off Hoolickin and forced Ballantyne into a quick reaction save. Slack’s shot was too high after 25 minutes and Ballantyne was in action again four minutes later as he had to dive to foil Shields. City had scored twice from Lucock corners on Saturday, and another one here on 32 minutes was headed wide by Greenslade. Penrith had continued to grow into the game, and Ballantyne had to be alert to claim Hebson’s cross.

The first booking of the game went to Armstrong for a foul in the 35th minute. Simpson tried an ambitious effort from fully 40 yards and this was off target. As half-time approached, Ballantyne continued to be the busier keeper as he saved again from Shields, before he had to struggle to tip over an awkward corner.


Whether City were showing complacency or just not playing very well, the second half belonged mainly to the visitors, who could hardly have been full of confidence and yet always looked the better side. Short produced a fine goal-line clearance to prevent a goal from Davidson. Two City changes saw Reed on for Armstrong, and Renyard on for Blair. As Penrith pressed, Gardner’s cross flew over the 6-yard box. It was no real surprise when Penrith equalised on 58 minutes but the manner of the goal was shoddy from City’s viewpoint. Davidson, probably the tallest player on the field, was left in acres of space to head in from 10 yards out.

A header from McCartney after 62 minutes was saved by Fowler and Simpson was wildly off target after 65 minutes. At the other end, Ballantyne saved from Hebson and, in the 70th minute, the City keeper stopped Gardner’s shot. Hoolickin became the second player into the referee’s note-book after a foul on half-way.
In the 78th minute, Penrith took the lead with a fine strike from Gardner that flew past Ballantyne from the edge of the box. City tried to respond but Shiel’s shot was wide. With five minutes remaining, it looked game over as another fine strike, this time from Robley, flew past the City keeper.

With a minute left, City threatened to grab a lifeline as Reed broke clear and beat Fowler to score. However, Penrith held on through the last few minutes for a deserved victory. City now have just one win in five as a poor run of form threatens to derail the season and it is a worry that the last five games have seen seven goals conceded in the last ten minutes of games.

TEAMS- CITY- Ballantyne, Jake Simpson, Greenslade, Hoolickin, Short, Armstrong, Shiel, Slack, McCartney, Lucock, Blair SUBS- Renyard, Heath, Reed, Townsley, Addison
PENRITH- Fowler, Yarker, Paul, Davidson, Moynan, Johnson, Hebson, Hayton, Shields, Robley, Gardner SUBS- Brown, Forrester, Wilson, Burrus, Smith

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