A goal 30 seconds from the end of extra time ended New Hartley’s hopes of reaching a third cup final this season when they lost 4-3 to Ryton & Cracrook in the Sunderland Eye Infirmary Cup quarter-final.
A mix-up in the Hartley defence allowed Ryton to take an early lead through Malik Marvell, but this was short lived as Hartley levelled through top scorer Ryan Drane.
Two more goals were added before the break with Scott Gunn putting the home side back in front but again Hartley hit back with a fine strike from Dean Briggs.
Once again Gunn fired Ryton back in front with his second of the game but on 88 minutes Hartley made it 3-3 when a long range Briggs effort rattled the crossbar and Nathan Watt was on hand to slot home the rebound.
The game seemed to be heading for penalties until Marvell scored Ryton’s winner with seconds remaining.
Having already claimed the league title, Hartley have two cup finals to look forward to, starting with the Durham County Cup final against Ryhope on Wednesday, May 15, at Nissan’s ground (7pm), and on Monday, May 20, they face Bedlington Terriers Youth at Blue Flames in the Northumberland Junior Cup Final (7pm).