Andy Coyles hopes his Penrith AFC players will have learned lessons they can take into next season from their Cumberland Cup final defeat.

The Bonny Blues lost a third straight final in the competition on Tuesday evening as they fell to a 3-1 loss to Carlisle United at Brunton Park.

Two first-half own goals by Stuart Johnson and Tyler Bowman put United in the driving seat at half-time. Shaun Gardner gave the Bonny Blues hope when he pulled a goal back after the restart, only to then be denied from the penalty spot by Carlisle keeper Louis Gray. And Charlie Birch then made sure of the win with a superb late long-range chip.

Whitehaven-born Penrith manager Coyles said: “It was a tough one to swallow, really.

"I think, with our first-half performance, we let ourselves down in a big way and I thought there were three or four people who were being carried. It took a good half-time discussion and I mean as a whole, where we changed the formation slightly and made a substitution, which seemed to work initially. 

“We got back into the game and I think the penalty was the deciding factor. If we score that, I think we go on and win the game. But after missing that, psychologically, it’s deflating.

"Overall, I think the best team won on the night. Some may disagree with that but fair play to Carlisle.”

While Carlisle’s side was largely made up of youngsters, Coyles said: “We have a lot of young lads, as well.

“They are still learning the game and they will have certainly learned a lot on Tuesday. They will have probably realised and learned how quickly the ball needs to be moved in certain areas of the football field in order to have productivity in the attacking third.

"I think it’s a learning curve for all, including myself.”

Coyles, who hopes to keep the core of his side together for the start of the 2019/20 campaign, also is head coach of England men’s University’s team and enjoyed success with them at the Home Nations tournament.

He said: “It was a good achievement. I think it was 12 years since the England lads had last won the tournament.

"We beat Scotland 3-1 in the first game and then drew 1-1 with Wales in the second when we scored a 95th-minute equaliser. It was a good standard of football, as well.”