Kendal Town Ladies suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat to league leaders Penrith at The Pye Motors Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Ladies, who returned to league action after three weeks of inactivity, put up a brave display against an in form opponent who had won all of their opening league games.

Penrith dominated large parts of the first half on a difficult playing surface which was not conducive to free-flowing football.

The visitors created numerous chances to score through both Hannah Coulthard and Ruth Hopton, while Kendal’s best opportunity fell to Vanessa Reid who saw her effort on goal fall wide of the left hand post.

Penrith opened the scoring after 38 minutes when Kendal captain Sarah McCabe reached for a header before inadvertently directing the ball into the net for an own goal.

The visitors, revitalised by the goal, added a second just before the half time break when Coulthard scored from close range past Gemma Charlton in the Kendal goal.

Kendal offered more of an attacking threat during the second half after a tactical change in formation during the break.

The changes almost had the desired effect as Penrith began to sit deeper into their own half while Michelle Banks in the Penrith goal had to make several saves as Kendal began to pose more of a threat.

Kendal pulled a goal back midway through the second half when Reid capitalised on a mistake at the back before placing the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

Penrith almost scored a third five minutes later, but Charlton made a good save to keep the Mintcakes in the contest.

As the half progressed Kendal missed a glorious opportunity for the equaliser when Joanne Thompson saw her close range effort on goal forced away for a corner by Banks.

From that point the game became more of a midfield battle, with chances at a premium as Penrith held on for a narrow 2-1 win.

Kendal travel to Penrith this Sunday in the reverse fixture.