New Hartley Juniors’ hopes of ‘retaining’ the Durham County Youth Cup were denied by a Ryhope winner five minutes from time in the final.
The game, played in pouring rain at Washington Nissan’s ground, looked to be heading into extra time with both defences hard to break down.
However, in the 85th minute, good wing play saw a cross into the Hartley penalty area find an unmarked Brian Norton who headed home into an empty goal.
Hartley threw everything at Ryhope in the final five minutes but the Wearsiders hung on to lift the cup.
Hartley had gone close to breaking the deadlock in the second half with Nathan Watt going close twice and substitute Toy Spratt forcing the Ryhope keeper into saving with his feet.