Consett finished a roller-coaster season in style on this day 10 years ago, with a 14th away win of the campaign – a club Northern League 1st Division record – against already-relegated Morpeth in their final game groundsharing at Bedlington.
With first-choice goalkeeper Danny Staples just off his crutches, and stand-ins Sam Grieveson and Chris Moore unavailable, Kenny Lindoe gave a debut to former Durham City net-minder Aiden Vout, who became the 46th player used in the 2009-10 season.
In truth, he had so little to do that Paul Curry, who has played as an emergency custodian before, could have gone in goal and we would still have comfortably won.
Guy Bates had the ball in the net as early as the third minute with a crisp volley, but was flagged offside, but it only took another four minutes for the ex-Newcastle United reserve to get one that counted.
David Pounder, pictured top, played a glorious pass from the left which dipped over the centre-half’s head, and Bates finished with a deft chip over the goalkeeper.
On 15 minutes Morpeth had their best chance of the first half when Justin Millican’s left-wing corner fizzed across goal, but neither Alex Lawson at the front post nor Sean Sweeney, coming in late at the back, could apply the touch it needed.
Bates came close to doubling Consett’s advantage on 20 minutes when he latched onto a flick-on from Gary Ormston, playing in an advanced position, and smacked a powerful effort just over.
Steven Huggins, who was bossing the midfield, then played a lovely one-two with Bates to surge into the box down the right, but instead of going for goal himself he picked out Gavin Parkin at the back post, whose volley hit the bar.
The former Bishop Auckland man was not to be denied, however, and on 31 minutes he made it 2-0. Huggins again made inroads down the right, and passed to Ormston, who helped it on, and this time Parkin drove home, despite a defender’s attempted block.
Five minutes before half-time, Morpeth full-back Chris Shanks gifted possession to Bates on the edge of his own box, but keeper Jak Wells got him out of jail, saving the striker’s low effort with his feet.
Two minutes later he could do nothing about Consett’s third goal, however, and again it came down the right. Andrew Burton’s hard, low cross evaded first Pounder and then Ormston, but Bates made no mistake from eight yards, picking his spot and slotting the ball into the bottom-left corner.
It could have been four before the break, as first Bates and then Burton (with an overhead kick) and Pounder went close.
The second-half began how the first had ended, with Consett making most of the play. Ormston headed wide from Huggins’ right-wing corner, Burton saw Wells pull his well-struck 20-yarder down comfortably.
But the Steelmen nearly conceded in almost comical fashion when Graham Irving’s attempted clearance cannoned off Sweeney and flew just past the post, with Vout beaten.
The debutant keeper then had his first serious save, from Barrie Smith’s free-kick from the left edge of the box, but made a confident catch.
Jonjo Dickman volleyed straight at Wells before seeing the keeper pull off a good if slightly fortuitous save as he surged into the box after exchanging passes with Bates.
Consett were not to be denied for long, and when a Morpeth backpass fell to Bates, who was still contesting an earlier decision with the referee, he unselfishly squared for Brian Dodsworth, on as a sub just three minutes earlier, to finish from close range.
Four minutes Bates, passed up the chance of a hat-trick to set up David Pounder for his 11th goal of the season, and his 50th for the club.
odsworth found him with a quick throw-in down the left, and although no one would have blamed him for going for goal, Bates pulled the ball back for Prof to knock home.
It was the No 9’s last involvement of the game, as he was immediately replaced by youngster Robert Nolan, who somehow squandered a chance to make it six when Dodsworth latched onto a long ball and set him up for a chance which it seemed harder to miss.
It mattered not, for shortly afterwards the final whistle went, and Consett were left to reflect on what might have been if only their home form had matched that on the road.
Sadly, this was to be the last game in Consett colours for both Gary Ormston and David Pounder, who had played a combined 432 games, scoring 102 goals, as they left for Whitley Bay, where they won the FA Vase the following season.
It also marked the end of the road for two more popular players, Steven Huggins and Andrew Burton, who left Belle Vue for pastures new after just one season. They weren’t alone, however, as only four of the team which ended this season started the next one.
Morpeth Town: 1 Wells, 2 Shanks, 3 Haxon (captain), 4 Lawson, 5 Thorpe, 6 Grant, 7 Millican, 8 Smith, 9 Ford, 10 Sweeney (King 77), 11 Newton-Eddy. Subs not used: Jewitt, Swithenbank.
Consett: 1 Aiden Vout, 2 Andrew Burton, 3 Gavin Parkin, 4 Graham Irving, 5 Michael Coulthard, 6 Carl Piecha, 7 Steven Huggins, 8 Jonjo Dickman, 9 Guy Bates (sub Robert Nolan 78), 10 David Pounder, 11 Gary Ormston (sub Brian Dodsworth 70). Subs not used: Paul Curry, Liam Hubbuck.