Draw is a blow to Morpeth title hopes

Matthew Grieve puts Morpeth ahead in their match against Ryhope CW. Picture by Chris Chambers (CJC Photo).
Matthew Grieve puts Morpeth ahead in their match against Ryhope CW. Picture by Chris Chambers (CJC Photo).

Ryhope 1-1 Morpeth Town

Morpeth Town’s title hopes were dealt a blow when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Ryhope CW on a frustrating afternoon at Ryhope Recreation Park on Saturday.

Matthew Grieve latched onto a loose ball in the area and rifled home to break the deadlock for the visitors just after the hour mark.

But Danny Lay headed in an equaliser 13 minutes from time and the points were shared after Morpeth negotiated a tricky final period.

There was frustration at either end with Michael Hall striking the crossbar with a brilliant volley midway through the first-half, whilst Morpeth’s Ben Sayer also hit the woodwork four minutes after half-time.

Nick Gray and Dave Malone’s side hadn’t been in action since the victory over Newcastle Benfield in mid-January, but went close to going ahead in the opening exchanges.

On 23 minutes Morpeth rode their luck when Hall rifled a shot which bounced back off their crossbar.

Early in the second half Sayer’s shot was pushed onto the bar with a brilliant save from Jonathan Ball.

Grieve finally found the net after 62 minutes, when he followed up on Ball’s initial save to steer the ball past him.

But on 77 minutes Ryhope drew level when Chapman’s inch-perfect cross was headed back across goal by Lay and past a helpless Dryden in the Morpeth goal.

Morpeth are due to face Shildon away tomorrow night and on Saturday, they are at home to West Auckland Town.