RICHMOND Town lost their second cup semi-final in a week at Ryhope Colliery Welfare last Saturday.
With a strong wind blowing from one end of the pitch to the other, this was always going to be a game of two halves; Ryhope going in at half time 3-0 up with wind playing a part in all their first half goals. The killer goal came just after the break when Martin Metcalfe’s powerful shot into the wind made it 4-0. The Dalesmen managed three second- half goals with the wind behind them but just couldn’t do enough to take the game into extra time.
Ryhope’s first two goals were almost carbon copies of each other. Both came from corners floated into the area with first Scott Donaldson’s header going in off the bar and then Jack Pounder heading home after the Richmond defence failed to clear.
Nathan O’Neill’s long-range punt would not normally have troubled Adam Cunningham in the Richmond goal, but a sudden gust took the ball beyond the ‘keeper’s reach and into the back of the net just after the half-hour mark.
Town’s fight back began within a minute of Metcalfe’s 51st minute strike. Kalumn Holbrook scored from the spot after Ben Darville had been brought down in the area.
When centre-back Simon Pinkney then blasted the ball in from a Liam Darville header in the 72nd minute, the Dalesmen must have sensed a cup comeback on the cards.
Shots flew in from all angles from Holbrook, Richard Thompson and even a curling effort from near the half way line from captain Jason Newall; though none of them seriously tested Ryan Graham in the Ryhope goal.
In the second minute of injury time it was a moment of farce that led to a thrilling finish.
With the wind gusting into his face, Graham tried to launch the ball out of the area, only for it to thunder against the chest of Richmond winger Michael Layfield and fly into the back of the net.
Richmond made one final effort to score an equaliser as the added time ticked away, but even with everyone forward, Scott McNichol’s lastgasp effort was easily saved by Graham.