Ryhope CW suffered a 2-1 away defeat in the Northern League Cup quarter-final, at the hands of Newcastle Benfield.

A Joey Melvin goal gave the Wearside club a half-time lead. However, second half goals from Jack Devlin and Paul Brayson ensured Newcastle Benfield booked their place in the semi-final.

Colliery Welfare headed into the game with a threadbare squad, with only two substitutes in the shape of manager Gary Pearson and Stephen Ramsey who is on his way back from injury.

The first chance fell to James Ellis in the 13th minute. Melvin picked up the ball and hit the byline, he attempted to cut the ball back to Ellis in the centre who couldn’t get the ball into his feet for a strike.

Ellis and Melvin combined again and the latter was the first to test either ‘keeper in the 20th minute shooting from just outside the box after an Ellis through ball.

The breakthrough came in the 40th minute, Nathaniel Skidmore put Benfield goalkeeper Andrew Grainger under pressure, the ball fell to Melvin who ran through on goal and finished expertly from an acute angle.

Ryhope had a good chance to double their lead straight away, Ellis found space to shoot but his shot was easy for Grainger to deal with.

Newcastle Benfield came out after the break with intent and put Ryhope under pressure straight away.

However, it was Colliery Welfare who had the first good chance of the second half. Ellis got in behind the defence, but shot straight at Grainger who came out to meet him. A bobble stopped Melvin from being able to connect with the rebound, before Josh Home-Jackson got hold of the ball and fired over.

The game changing moment came in the 67th minute, Benfield finally made their pressure pay off.

Brayson got hold of the ball just outside the box and held up well, before teeing up Devlin who fired coolly low into the bottom-left corner.

Prolific veteran striker, Brayson, started to look dangerous and had a good chance soon after. He got hold of the ball inside the box and forced Ryhope goalkeeper Jonny Ball into a save with his feet.

Last time the sides met, Ryhope won it in stoppage time. This time it was Paul Brayson for Benfield who got the winner in the 91st minute, he got on the end of an Elliott Forbes ball into the box to smash home his 41st competitive goal of the season on the volley.

On going out of the cup, Colliery Welfare manager Gary Pearson said: “It was a cagey cup affair. In my view I think we had the lion’s share of the first half and they had the lion’s share of the second half.

“I think the main differences were that when they had chances, and they didn’t have many, they took them.”

On the difference between the first and the second half, Pearson added: “It was obvious they would come out of the blocks fast. I called what they would do.

“In the first half they didn’t know what to do with us. We came with a game plan, playing with a back three and two forwards. We let the two centre-halves have the ball as neither of them are ball players, they’re good centre-halves but when they had the ball, possession usually turned over and we countered on them.

“It worked perfectly in the first half, so we expected them to change in the second half. In my views, one of the key differences was that we didn’t have subs. We had me, I haven’t played this season or last, and the other was Ramsey who we are bringing in slowly as he’s coming back from a double leg break last season.

Explaining the switch to back four from a back three in the second half, Pearson added: “For around 15 to 20 minutes they came at us.

“We soaked the pressure up well but they were doubling up on Adam Cocks. We switched to back four to get two wide men in place to help out the full-backs. It worked to a certain extent, but they kept piling the pressure on and they broke us down in the end.”

On whether going out of the cup may help them deal with the fixture backlog, Pearson said: “No definitely not, I’d still rather be in the cup and have this fixture backlog.

“Give us another few cup games for me, I’ll take them all day long. It keeps your season alive and keeps things interesting. We have got a fixture backlog, but I believe we’ve got enough ammo to deal with it.”

Pearson was pleased with the performance in general, saying: “All of them have done well tonight. I couldn’t grumble.

“I thought they were very resilient and it took a great finish at the end to beat us.”

“In terms of standouts you’ve got to mention Joey Melvin. He’s been a bit-part player, he frustrates you at times when he takes too many touches. Tonight he worked hard and got his goal.”

Ryhope move onto a league game at Team Northumbria at the weekend. They will hope to take confidence from the league win against Newton Aycliffe, and the positives in this performance into that game.