After a gruelling Junior Cup run which has included three extra time and penalty kick games Penrith Royal fell at the last hurdle after losing 3-2 in the final to Cartmel & District Reserves at Parkside Road, Kendal on Wednesday evening.
Cartmel who play in the North Lancashire League boasted a fine league record winning 13 of their 15 games this season and started as strong favourites playing against the Penrith side who have only managed to win 6 of their 20 league games this season in the Westmorland League Division Three.
Cartmel shaded the opening stages and with better finishing could have taken an early lead, however Royal began to gradually get a foothold in the game and began to look dangerous themselves with Alex Jackson and Craig Willan testing Cowperthwaite in the Cartmel goal and Jamie Armstrong missing the upright by a couple of inches.
The opening goal came on 19 minutes when a cross into the box from Morgan Dennison eluded everyone and somehow the ball ended up in the back of the net leaving Royal keeper Tom Watson with no chance. Royal soon rallied back and within 5 minutes the game was level after Matty Glen powered home a close range header from a corner.
Both sides continued to attack at every opportunity and both teams had chances to get their noses in front and in the last 5 minutes of the half Cartmel missed a host of chances with the Royal goal leading a charmed life.
The second half was only 7 minutes old when the Penrith side went ahead when Jamie Armstrong caught Cowperthwaite off his line and finished in some style from all of 30 yards. Royal player manager Alan Parkin was replaced by Joe Tyson Brown and as the game wore on Royal were more than comfortable with the back four of Alex Glen, Tom Jackson, Dane Rumney and Nicky Fletcher coping with anything the Cartmel side could throw at them.
As the game entered the final 20 minutes a speculative long ball forward seemed to catch the entire Royal side out and Ryan McKenny was allowed the luxury to run the entire half on his own and he finished coolly over Watson.
Royal left back Tom Jackson was replaced by Andy Braithwaite after picking up an injury.
The goal knocked the stuffing out of the Royal and Cartmel began to dominate and they took the lead with 10 minutes to go when the ball evaded everyone in the box from a corner and Alasdair Daggett bundled the ball over from a couple of yards out.
Royal had no option but to push forward in search of an equaliser, Lewis Renvoize going closest from long range, Craig Willan picked up a late knock and was replaced by Jonny Lawlor but as much as Royal tried to force the game into extra time the Cartmel side held out to gain their third success in the competition.