Penrith 1 Ryhope CW 1 – Ebac Northern League Division One

Penrith should have won this game, but they only have themselves to blame for their failure to record their first league win of the season.

But hopefully the management team and players will be buoyed by a robust performance that was full of effort.

The game finished all square and for the first 15 minutes or so, there wasn’t an awful lot to choose between the teams either as they traded attacks.  It was a bit scrappy and just needed a player to put his foot on the ball to get some passing and flowing football going.

Multiple returnee/prodigal son Martyn Coleman had the first shot in anger in the 19th minute with an effort from a tight angle that was just off target.  At the other end Robbie Bird back heeled the ball to James Ellis whose goal-bound shot was kept out with Grant Davidson just getting a foot to it.  Davidson was the most influential player on the pitch, seeing a lot of the ball in midfield.

The home team had their best spell between the 26th  and 38th minutes with a series of chances:  Coleman with a sharp turn and shot, Shaun Gardner with a thumping free kick and Ryhope keeper Joe Atkinson getting the slightest of touches to a Davidson shot.  (A couple of minutes Atkinson was replaced by Jonathan Ball after picking up an injury.)

Unfortunately for Penrith they went behind after laying a goal on a plate for Ryhope.  A collision between centre back Tyler Bowman and keeper Tom Fowler allowed a through ball by Ryhope captain Chris Trewick to fall for Ellis who rounded the keeper and tucked it away from an acute angle.

Two minutes into first half added time they compounded their problems by squandering a golden opportunity to score.  Coleman sent a cross over from the right, giving Adam Robley a clear header right in front of goal, but the No. 11 could only place it against the bar

Coleman started the second half with a pile driver of a free kick from 25 yards out that Ball could only push away, diving down to his right.

Ryhope picked their pace from the last 20 minutes of the first half.  Their best two openings of the half fell to Michael Rae and Ellis – the first a through ball from Ellis to the No. 9 that was put a foot or two too far, allowing Fowler to run out and grab it.  The second came after Matthew Weirs beat the offside trap and crossed to Ellis but his shot was ballooned over the bar.

Penrith grabbed a well-deserved equaliser in the 83rd minute when Angelos Eleftheriadis was in the right place at the right time to plant a header into the Ryhope goal amid a crowded box as the visitors defended a corner.  The cheers on and off the pitch were as much relief as celebration.

Apart from the goal, Penrith had a whole host of shots as the match closed out, but too few were on target or really troubled Ball; they also failed to convert their pressure in the last five minutes into a match-winning goal.

Regrets?  Penrith will have a few today.

Mike Snowdon