Penrith boss Dave Hewson said his players will learn a great deal from the experience of coming up against Carlisle United’s professionals.

The Frenchfield Park club went down to an 8-0 defeat against United, who fielded two different XIs in each half.

Penrith had pushed United close for spells in the first half and, after Tristan Abrahams' Blues opener, came close to equalising before the quality of Chris Beech’s side told.

Hewson said Tuesday’s friendly – watched by 670 fans – had been an important occasion on and off the pitch.

“It was a great occasion for the club,” he said. “I was so pleased for the chairman and all the committee to see so many fans here at Frenchfields. I wish it could be like that every week!

“And it was a good experience for the boys. It’s a really tough ask to come up against a strong team like Carlisle – well, two strong teams – but I was really pleased with how we acquitted ourselves on just a lovely evening of football.

“For the first 35 minutes or so I thought our discipline and organisation was superb to a man. We followed instructions to a T, limited Carlisle to very few chances and had a couple of sniffs ourselves.

“But their quality and fitness came through, along with a fresh XI for the second half.

“All credit to Carlisle – I thought their approach to the game was very professional. They played with intensity, they showed their class and hats off to them, because it can be so easy for a team like Carlisle to come here and not approach the game that way. Credit to their management team and players.

News and Star: Dave Hewson (photo: Barbara Abbott)Dave Hewson (photo: Barbara Abbott)

“As for our players, they can see that’s the level you’ve got to get to if you’re going to play the professional game.

“They’re not going to be able to come up against players like that or play in front of crowds like that every week. They’ve got to take as much from it as they can, and I hope they enjoyed it.”

Hewson said he is still hoping to add to his squad ahead of the Northern League Division One season, which gets under way on July 31.

Penrith have also arranged a home friendly against Carlisle City tomorrow (kick-off 2pm) after their schedule game against Millom was called off because of Covid-19 affecting the visiting side.

Former Workington Reds boss Hewson said: “Hopefully there’ll be some more additions. We’re trying to look at some more players, but also hope to keep the experience and the regulars and stalwarts we’ve got – they’re so important to the club, the likes of Grant Davidson, Kyle May, Adam Main.

“We’ll be making sure we secure those boys so we can get the young boys through alongside them.”

Hewson said part of pre-season has been affected by Covid, with some players having to isolate and miss training and games.

But he added: “We’re raring to go. We’re glad to be back playing and we want to make the most of the opportunity we’ve got.

“We want to get back to winning ways as soon as we can. Our priority is to stay in the league, compete in the league and keep Penrith FC where it wants to be.

“It’s going to be a tough ask but we’re very much looking forward to it.”

Hewson, meanwhile, has brought in a new assistant manager in Mark Banks, who is also an education officer and coach at Carlisle United’s Community Sports Trust.

The Penrith boss said: “Mark is an experienced coach, is from a good coaching background and brings something different to the club.

“He’s in assisting me, working with the first team, and I look forward to working with him more and seeing what impact he can have at the club.”