PENRYN Athletic boss Harry Pope expressed his pride with his side despite missing out on the Combination League title on the final day of the season.

Penryn finished their campaign at the top of the table last week but had to hope that defending champions Perranporth failed to beat RNAS Culdrose in their final game on Saturday.

But goals from Justin Searle and Luke Wort earned Perran a 2-0 win to retain their title and condemn Penryn to second place.

“I’m gutted to go to the very last game of the season [and not win], obviously it not being in our hands was the problem and that’s something we’ve got to look at for next year, but going into the last game of the season with there still being a possibility of winning it, I’m proud of the lads.”

Although they missed out on the ultimate prize, it has still been a fantastic first season in charge for

Pope, who replaced Terry Jarvis at the helm of the Kernick Road club last summer.

Penryn scored a whopping 129 goals from their 36 games this season – an average of 3.58 per game– and conceded just 31 goals, the strongest defence and most potent attack in the division.

Ryan Reeve was responsible for almost a third of that tally with 40 goals across the campaign.

Athletic can also boast an unbeaten home record in the league, winning 15 and drawing three of their 18 games at Kernick.

Pope took inspiration from old documentaries of former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Fergusonwhen implementing that brand of free-scoring football.

He said: “The old school United players always said that Fergie used to bang on about goal difference and I’ve done the same to my boys. Whenever we’ve been in a situation where we’re three or four up I say to them ‘make sure you don’t stop, because the game might be won but at the end of the season we might be looking for goal difference.’”

Pope, who won the Combination League during his time with Carharrack, is optimistic ahead of the new St Piran League.

“It’s another promotion which is a good thing for the club, stepping up a level and the Peninsula League is now the next target for us. I want to try and get another promotion and I’d like to do it with another league title under our belts. It’s a brand new trophy so hopefully we can try and be first name on it.”