PENRITH secured only their third away win of the season with a hard-fought North One West win against local rivals Carlisle in a game that swung both ways.

It looked as if either side could have claimed the victory before Penrith took control in the final quarter with two tries to seal the 34-24 win.

It was not a game of high quality throughout but the various changes of fortune to both sides kept a large crowd well entertained.

Many of those present had turned out to pay their respects to former youth player Grant Taylor, 22, who passed away suddenly while on holiday in France on February 24.

Carlisle are having a difficult season but the visiting coaching team were not expecting an easy ride and that is just how it turned out.

It was probably the best team the city side had turned out all season and they ran their local rivals close especially bearing in mind they were reduced to 14 men early in the game.

There was also the sad sight of long-serving Dan Holmes suffering a broken arm near the end.He later underwent surgery before announcing his retirement.

A Carlisle spokesman said:  “Dan, and brother Josh, have served this club well in a long career through age group rugby and senior men’s rugby, and he will be a big miss from the playing squad, but we understand the reasons for his decision. We wish him a full and speedy recovery.”

As for the game Penrith had a dream start, first Andy Muir and then Adam Howe made inroads up the middle of the pitch before the ball was switched to the backs and Brad Taylor ran deep into the home 22.

The Penrith forwards then took over and had a number of drives for the line but importantly kept their patience and Howe eventually bulldozed over. Mike Fearon converted.

If that was the wake-up call Carlisle needed, then they took full advantage of it, as Penrith indiscipline gave the home side territory deep into the visitors’ half. 

A line-out catch and drive was skilfully manoeuvred down the pitch and with quick ball spread right across the back line, winger Euan Forlow skipped down the left touchline and into the corner for a try on his first team debut.

Carlisle scored four tries in the game and all of them were preceded by the visitors conceding a penalty that was kicked to the corner for an attacking line-out. The home line-out functioned well and they were able to take advantage of the visitors' indiscipline.

The conversion failed after the opening try and it was Penrith who were able to extend their advantage when Fearon stroked over a penalty from an infringement at the scrum.

Then after 13 minutes came the pivotal point in the game. Arran Pamphilon ran a ball back towards the forwards and was taken out by a high tackle from Angus Fulton which the referee deemed a sending off offence as the Penrith player left the field with a badly broken nose.

Carlisle were now a man down and this had the effect of making them raise there game and at times it looked as if they had the extra man.

Carlisle raised their intensity and Penrith were also guilty of indiscipline at the breakdown which gifted Carlisle territory. 

After 25 minutes a penalty attempt by Telford drifted wide in the wind. From the restart Carlisle secured the ball, but another penalty gave the hosts the chance for an attacking line-out. 

Keeping the ball tight, they went through a number of phases, working the ball closer to the line, until second row Carl Wills, burrowed over by the posts for Carlisle's second try, and the 12-10 lead after Telford's conversion.

Penrith struck back immediately after Ben Higgens won quick ball at a four-man line-out. George Graham ran round the stand-off in a training ground move creating the overlap and Matt Allinson made the most of it to set up the try for Matty Boustead. 

They scored another converted try shortly after, again from a line-out, Howe ran the ball up in midfield and when it came to the backs Allinson found Jamie McNaughton with a long pass and he beat the last defender to run to the line.

Penrith's penalty count was keeping them on their own line as the first half ended and after a number of lineouts where the home side failed to breach the desperate Penrith defence a deft cross-field kick from captain Chris Auld found Forlow unmarked on the right to bag his second try.

It was Carlisle's third of the afternoon, reducing the deficit to 17-24 at half time.

Carlisle kept the intensity going from the start of the second half, and Penrith were guilty of more indiscipline, gifting Carlisle two five-metres line-outs. 

Though they were thwarted at the first attempt, the second they used to great effect, spreading the ball across the field until centre Tom Knowles latched on to a pass and crashed over for the fourth try land Telford’s conversion levelled the scores.

As the game went into the final quarter Penrith's penalty count decreased as the pressure from the home side started to fade, their huge efforts when reduced to 14 men were beginning to show.

Penrith were able to get their noses in front following good ground made up the middle of the field first by Boustead and then Josh Winder, and when the ball came wide Taylor was able to set McNaughton up to run in at the corner unopposed.

The scoring was completed when number eight Josh Dowson broke blind from a scrum and made the extra man count. First Graham, and then Taylor, took their men out to allow Manny Mbatha to go over in the corner.

There was no disgrace in this defeat as Carlisle probably played their best game of the season. Penrith played the numbers game very well, and with speed in the backs took their opportunities well, in a typically hard-fought Cumbrian derby game.

There will be some aching bodies during the week, hoping to be restored for their next instalments on Saturday.