Skipper hails “authority” brought to Blues by new boss

Date: Friday 19th January 2018

PENRITH AFC captain Grant Davidson has spoken of the “big buzz” brought to the club by the arrival of player-manager Kyle May.

Davidson also described the “authority” shown by May, who took charge in November along with first team coach Andy Coyles.

Before last weekend, the Blues had lost just two out of 11 league and cup matches since the pair were appointed following the departure of Jim Nichols.

West Auckland Town dented Penrith’s good run on Saturday as they scored twice, either side of an Andy Murray-Jones goal, to take three points away from Frenchfield Park.

But after the game, Davidson spoke about the positive impact made by ex-Workington centre half May, who has slotted in impressively alongside the long-serving Blues defender.

“There’s been a big buzz around the changing rooms since Kyle’s come in,” said Davidson.

“He enjoys the crack with the lads but at the same time knows when he has to be the manager and shows his authority very well. The lads know not to step out of line.

“He’s put his stamp on Penrith and we have taken to that really well. We know what is expected from us in each game. He’s brought his ideas and brought some good lads in to play.

“It’s a massive bonus to have him playing within the team, and it’s a huge help for us playing at the back with him as he organises the lads very well — not just at the back though; all over the pitch.

“We’ve been on a great run of form, which is mainly down to Kyle and Andy. The two of them have done a great job so far — and long may it continue.”

Davidson admitted that, on the pitch, May was helping him “massively”.

“He has the experience of playing at a lot higher standard, therefore I’m learning off him,” the skipper added.

“He helps me by covering for me if I’m going into a tackle or a header. I don’t have to worry now if I lose a header because automatically he is covering and cleaning everything up.”

May will serve a two-game suspension after he was sent off on Saturday for collecting two yellow cards in the space of a few minutes.

His ban, extended following a dismissal while playing for Shildon earlier this season, begins today as Penrith travel to Newcastle Benfield in Northern League Division I.

It will continue when the Blues host Sunderland RCA at Frenchfield Park on Wednesday (7-45pm kick-off).

l Teenaged midfielder Kian Smart made his debut for Penrith on Saturday. Smart, the son of former Carlisle striker Allan, has signed on a scholarship/work experience basis from Preston North End.

l Penrith’s midweek league cup tie at Whitley Bay was postponed.

PENRITH AFC 1,

WEST AUCKLAND 2

An impressive West Auckland side gave in-form Penrith a bloody nose in front of a healthy home crowd.

West went 1-0 up on 20 minutes. Alex Francis, with a glorious crossfield ball, began a fine move which involved Jamie Cobain and captain Ben Wood before Francis applied a neat, flicked finishing touch.

Home forward Martyn Coleman powered a shot into the side-netting before strike partner Connor Shields had an effort saved, and full back Kelvin James then hit the crossbar.

The Blues drew level three minutes after the interval. Half-time substitute Andy Murray-Jones was the man on target, smartly converting Coleman’s cross from the right.

But things went wrong for the hosts thereafter. Player-manager Kyle May was dismissed after picking up two bookings, both for fouls, in the space of three minutes.

And West scored a winning goal 13 minutes from time. Prolific marksman Nathan Fisher, introduced from the bench, slipped a shot beyond home stopper Stu Dixon and into the net.

Penrith: Dixon, Hebson, James, Moynan (Bell 78), May, Davidson, Smart (Murray-Jones 46), Main, Coleman, Shields, Robertson (Hayton 65). Subs not used: Lawson, Wallace.