Consett shared the spoils with FA Vase winners Spennymoor Town in a highly entertaining 2-2 draw on this day in 2013, on what should have been the last league game at Belle Vue Park.
It was intended to be Consett’s last competitive fixture at the old ground, and would have been a more than suitable way to sign off, as, even though there was little more than pride to play for, both teams went at it hammer and tongs.
However, we had been told by the league that we had to re-play a game against Newcastle Benfield which had been abandoned with 12 minutes left when the floodlights went out, as that could still have a bearing on who was relegated from the Northern League 1st Division.
The Steelmen made two changes from the previous game against Marske, with Peter Jameson replacing Chris Elliott in goal, and Luke Sullivan coming in for Ian Davidson, with David Brown reverting to left-back.
Spennymoor’s 16 included 11 of their Wembley winners, but they were without the injured Gavin Cogdon, and they had an outfield player, Carl Beasley, in goal, with both their regular custodians missing.
Consett afforded their visitors the privilege of a guard of honour onto the field, but, after an early scare, proceeded to play the better football, with the wind at their backs.
Moors threatened first on five minutes, when Andrew Stephenson played in Michael Rae, but the centre-forward’s lob over the advancing Jameson dropped just wide.
The game was being played largely in midfield, with both teams looking to play a passing game in blustery conditions.
It was 25 minutes before Consett registered their first serious attempt on goal, with Sullivan’s free-kick from 20 yards flashing just over. On 32 minutes Calvin Smith tried his luck from a setpiece slightly further out, and again wasn’t far away.
Three minutes later the Steelmen were ahead, with a well-crafted goal. Kieran Martin was the architect down the right, finding Michael Mackay’s feet just inside the box. The 34-goal top scorer turned, only to see his shot blocked by a defender, but the ball fell handily for his strike partner Aris Guerin-Lokonga, who fired into the bottom corner from just inside the box.
Four minutes later Spenny should have levelled, but Rae, who was given the freedom of the penalty area, headed over from Stephen Capper’s right-wing cross. Three minutes later Rae had another chance, and this one was even easier, but he headed wide from Kallum Griffiths’ cross.
Right on half-time Consett doubled their lead, and there was an element of good fortune about it. A backpass sold stand-in keeper Beasley short, and when he rushed out of his box to meet it, he could only blast the ball against Guerin-Lokonga. Despite the attentions of Chris Mason, the ball rolled in to make it 2-0.
Spennymoor made an attacking substitition early in the second half, bringing on Steven Richardson for Stephenson, and the change paid immediate dividends, as they pulled a goal back on 51 minutes. Graydon’s pass set up Craig Ruddy in the left-hand channel, and the little winger’s shot found its way past Jameson with the help of a deflection.
Rae had another chance when he burst clean through the middle, but fired over, and then Consett had skipper Carl Piecha to thank for a great saving tackle on Richardson as he homed in on goal.
Little was seen of Consett as an attacking force in the second half, but they had two good chances to restore their two-goal lead. On 73 minutes, good link-up play between Guerin-Lokonga and Mackay set up Sullivan, but his curling effort was straight at the keeper.
Five minutes later a lovely piece of skill from Guerin-Lokonga saw him beat two men, but Beasley saved his shot well down at his near post.
Consett were finding it hard to get out of their own half due to the stiff breeze, and the inevitable happened on 86 minutes when the league runners-up levelled. Capper was the provider with a cross from the left, but Jameson will have to hold up his hands after coming to punch the ball, but being beaten to it by Mason, who headed into the unguarded goal.
The visitors threw everything forward as they went for the win. Richardson should have scored when clean through, but fired wide, and in the last minute he was even closer, hitting the post from Anthony Peacock’s pass. When the final whistle went, it was honours even – just about a fair result.
- Spare a thought for the Consett team who, on this date in 1968, had to play two games in one day! Good cup runs and bad weather had left the newly-renamed Steelmen playing catch-up with their Wearside League fixtures, and this was the only way to finish their season.
Silksworth Colliery Welfare were their opponents for a 3pm kick-off at Belle Vue Park, and were duly despatched 5-0, with goals from Doug Morris, Austin Lee, Owen Lee (2) and debutant David Lumley.
Then at 6.30 they ran out against to complete their season with an ‘away’ game against Sunderland Structural Steel which had been switched to Belle Vue.
The visitors didn’t have an advantage in facing tired opponents, however, as they had already played a game in the afternoon, too, drawing 2-2 with Pyrex SC.
It was the Steelmen – fielding largely the same side – who ended their season on a high, winning 3-0 with goals from Doug Oxley, Austin Lee and Doug Morris.