Consett suffered their first league defeat of the season tonight when a lacklustre performance resulted in a 1-0 home loss to Whickham.
The Steelmen showed little of the attacking verve which was such a feature of their play in the opening month of the season, and slid to their second defeat in four days, following their weekend FA Cup exit.
Once again they were the authors of their own undoing, when a stray pass let in visiting striker Zak Atkinson to round exposed keeper Kyle Hayes and slot home in the 67th minute.
Whickham were well organised, worked hard and deserved their win, but Consett looked strangely tentative from the off, with their confidence appearing to have taken a knock from the mauling at Marske.
Luke Carr brought a good save from Whickham’s teenage keeper Regan Ward in the 11th minute, and Ross Wilkinson had a header saved four minutes later.
But those were their best chances in a first half which produced lots of huffing and puffing, but little in the way of clear-cut opportunities.
Whickham had chances of their own, with Atkinson volleying just wide, and Hayes having to save from Conor Newton after the ball was given away at the back.
Consett almost levelled within a minute of Whickham’s goal. Jermaine Metz’s cross found Dale Pearson, who laid it off to Jake Orrell, and the midfielder’s shot was sliced over his own crossbar by former Steelman Dale Burrell as he tried to clear.
The best chance of an equaliser came six minutes from time, when Orrell’s cross was turned goalwards by Pearson, but Ward made a good reaction save, pictured top. The ball was only cleared as far as sub Dan Marriott, but his follow-up clipped the outside of the post.
Whickham were reduced to 10 men in the 88th minute when Scott Robson picked up his second yellow card of the night – the visitors collected six in all – but even five added minutes couldn’t help Consett conjure up a goal.
They did come close, when Orrell’s excellent cross from the byline picked out Darren Holden. The full-back did well to control the ball with his first touch, but his second saw his volley fizz inches beyond the far post.
The celebrations from the visitors’ changing room showed how much the win meant to them against a side who put 14 goals past them in two meetings last season. Tonight Consett couldn’t manage one, and paid the price.
- Full match report and pictures to follow.