Birtley returned to winning ways on Saturday with two goals from Callum Smith proving decisive in 2-1 win over Penrith.
Match photos can be viewed HERE!
Match programme can be viewed HERE!
Birtley made a number of changes to the starting line-up with Lewis Exley returning at left-back, Sam Hedley joined Callum Turnbull in the middle of defence whilst Alex Francis missed out with injury. Ben Pentland came in at right-back replacing Josh Strassheim who dropped to the bench. Liam Wotherspoon returned in midfield and Drew Lake made his first start of the season.
The Hoops thought they should have had a penalty after just two minutes when Stephen Hall was brought down in the box, those appeals were waved on. It took 24 minutes for the first goal and real opportunity. A long throw-in by Glen Hargrave caused mayhem in the Penrith back line and Callum Smith remaining free at the back post to smash the ball home from close range.
Penrith must have thought they had levelled when they missed a clear opportunity to score on the half hour mark. Only a miraculous bit of defending from Lewis Exley prevented an equaliser on 34 minutes, before Liam Wotherspoon repeated the same heroics soon after to ensure Birtley went into the break ahead.
HALF TIME | Birtley Town 1 – 0 Penrith
Penrith would have found themselves unfortunate to be behind at the break but only had themselves to blame for not equalising in the early stages of the second half. Luke Hunter ended up baring down on goal following a simple long ball however Alfie Gordon managed to tip around the post. The relief was short lived when Hunter made instant amends by equalising from the resulting corner.
It took Birtley until the 83rd minute to regain the lead. Jack Robson dribbled down the right-wing and his looping cross came back off the bar. The ball dropped to Callum Smith who emphatically smashed home the rebound.
Penrith should have levelled instantly when substitute Oliver Reay was through on goal but he decided to chip Alfie Gordon, only for his effort to go sailing over the bar. Birtley had Callum Turnbull to thank for a brilliant late block in the dying stages before a string of Alfie Gordon saves kept Penrith at bay which later earned the goalkeeper the MOTM award. Sam Hedley and Ben Pentland also producing excellent defensive clearances to ensure all three points remained with The Hoops.
FULL TIME | Birtley Town 2 – 1 Penrith
Attendance – 121
Player of the Match – Alfie Gordon
Foss was pleased with the three points: “It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t a great performance however after losing the last three games it was about getting three points on the board. We were just about down to the bare bones with injuries and holidays. It was the result that mattered and we got that. Now we move onto Tow Law and hopefully we have a few people returning from injury.”
H2H v Penrith – (all games)
P2 W1 D1 L0 GF4 GA2
|NL Div 2
|S. McAvoy | B. Smith x2 | C. Hepple
|NL Div 2
Birtley have back to back games against Tow Law on the horizon. An away game in the league on Saturday is followed by a home tie in the Durham Challenge Cup on Tuesday.