Scott McCarthy’s second-half strike earned Whickham a crucial three points as they beat Penrith 1-0 at the First Mortgage Glebe.
Scott McCarthy was brought down in the area by Luke Miller on 23 minutes, but the resulting penalty from the striker was saved.
Charlie Exley’s cross struck the top of the bar just after the half-hour mark, while the visitors went close in added time at the end of the first-half.
McCarthy produced a neat finish to put Whickham ahead on 56 minutes and the striker should’ve put the Lang Jacks further in front just two minutes later.
Tom Scothern rattled the bar and the hosts avoided a scare late in the game as they held on for the victory, which lists them up two places in the Division One table.
Mark Convery handed debuts to both Dan Staples and Kieran Downey and it was the home side that started brightly.
Stevens broke into the area and drew an excellent low save from the ‘keeper, while Conor Newton struck wide of the post shortly after.
Penrith created a couple of good openings before the 20-minute mark. Shaun Gardner tested Staples, while the ‘keeper denied Jonny Studholme, who tested the ‘keeper after a 60-yard dash.
The Lang Jacks had the perfect opportunity to go ahead after McCarthy was brought down in the area by Miller on 23 minuets. The striker stepped up and had his penalty saved by the ‘keeper.
Gardner and Newton exchanged chances before the half-hour mark, with the latter volleying inches over the bar.
Whickham started to turn the screw further as Exley struck the bar with a cross, Stevens prodded agonisingly wide of the post and McCarthy fired into the side-netting.
Penrith closed out the half with two good chances, in additional time. Adam Main’s shot was pushed away by Staples before Gardner had an opening, but lobbed the ball over the bar.
With the wind behind them, and kicking down the slope, Convery got a response after half-time. Scott Robson tested the ‘keeper before the hosts took the lead on 56 minutes.
The ball come across the penalty area and McCarthy produced a neat finish to put the Lang Jacks ahead, despite the visitors claiming the ball hadn’t crossed the line.
Whickham should’ve doubled their advantage two minutes later. McCarthy broke into the area and had only the ‘keeper to beat, but opted for power instead of precision and blazed wide of the target.
It wasn’t until the 80th-minute when either side had another opening as the two sides were tested in difficult conditions.
Scothern picked up the ball and sent a rasping drive goalwards, which rattled had the ‘keeper beaten, but struck the crossbar and went behind.
There was a heart-in-mouth moment for the home side on 88 minutes after a frenzy in their own penalty area saw Staples make two brilliant saves, another shot was then blocked before the ball was scrambled clear.
In the third minute of additional time, new signing Liam Doyle struck the ball sweetly and was denied by a great save from Miller in the Penrith goal.
Nevertheless, the Lang Jacks negotiated the remaining minutes to see the game through. Convery’s side take on Ryhope CW in the league at home on Wednesday evening.
Whickham: Staples, McAndrew, Exley, Downey, Galbraith, Burrell, McCarthy, Scothern, Stevens (Doyle, 76), Newton, Robson
Substitutes: Howard, Wilson, Collins, Cranston
Penrith: Miller, Faustino, Holliday, Johnson, Moynan, Studholme, Gardner (Metcalfe, 87), Main, Connelly (Brown, 72), Davidson, Brown
Substitutes: Paul, Hewson
Goals: 1-0, 56 min, McCarthy
Referee: Sam Packer
Assistants: David Holmes and Matthew Carroll
Photo: Will Matthews