Consett stayed right in touch with the leading pack in Division One of the Northern League Division One with a 4-1 win over Ashington at Belle View Stadium.
The Steelmen had already gone close through Thomas McAloon, who was wearing the No 9 shirt in the continued absence of top scorer Dale Pearson, with the versatile attacker shooting into the side netting, when they took the lead after just four minutes. A fine pass from Luke Carr, who had missed the last two games through injury, picked out left-back Nick Allen‘s run into the box, and he hooked the ball over the keeper.
Ashington had their first sight of goal on 16 minutes when left-back Ben Gaffney cut in from the flank and hit a good low shot, which Consett keeper Kyle Hayes got down well to save.
Consett were forced to make a change on 26 minutes when Ali Alshabeeb, also back in the side after injury, had to be substituted after taking a knock, and veteran striker Michael Mackay took his place out wide.
Ashington should have equalised on 32 minutes when some sloppy passing from Consett gave away possession, and left Kieran Brannen clear on goal. Luckily for the home side the yioung striker dragged his effort wide of the left-hand post.
The importance of the miss became clear two minutes later when Consett doubled their lead with a superb goal. They broke from defending a corner, and Mackay switched play from the left with a wonderful crossfield pass. McAloon laid it off first time into the pathy of Matty Slocombe, who had timed his run from his own penalty area perfectly to beat the keeper with a controlled lob for his second goal in four games.
On 38 minutes Consett almost made it three when a slick passing move saw Allen burst through again on the left, but although his shot beat the keeper, it went the wrong side of the post and ended up in the side netting.
But two minutes before half-time the game was as good as won when Luke Carr picked up possession and smashed home an unstoppable effort from 25 yards. very similar to the one he scored against Lutterworth.
Half-time: Consett 3 Ashington 0
The game continued in the same vein in the second half, with Mackay heading just over from Jake Orrell’s left-wing free-kick in the 50th minute.
Ashington made a triple substitution in the 58th minute, but it did little to stem the tide of attacks they were facing. Consett thought they should have had a penalty in the 66th minute when Mackay seemed to be bundled to the ground as he went to meet Carr’s cross from the left, but the referee waved away their appeals.
With no spare keeper on the bench, there were a few anxious moments for Consett when Hayes collided with the post as he tipped a speculative effort from the left over the bar, but after treatment he was OK to continue.
The 75th minute saw Consett kill off any thoughts of a late Ashington comeback as they scored a fourth goal, with Calvin Smith powering home a header from six yards, pictured top, from another pinpoint Orrell corner. It was the midfielder’s 16th goal of the season.
To the visitors’ credit they kept going, and got a goal back in the 78th minute, when Gaffney’s ball in from the left was fired home by substitute Lee Scott. The same player almost grabbed a second four minutes later, but Hayes made a good raction save with his feet.
The game ended with Consett in control, however, and they had two more chances to add to their goal tally. First, Simon Jakab, on as a sub for skipper Arjun Purewal, ghosted in at the back post to get on the end on another excellent Orrell corner, but couldn’t get his rising shot on target.
Then, in the second minute of added time, Ashington keeper Adam McHugh pulled off the save of the game, flying to his left to keep out Mackay’s well-struck shot after the veteran striker’s pace took him past two defenders.
A home defeat for Shildon by league leaders Stockton means Consett are now just three points behind the third-placed Railwaymen, with a game in hand, and a fixture between the sides at Belle View still to come.
MATCH REPORT & MAIN PICTURE: GARY WELFORD
PICTURE GALLERY: WILL MATTHEWS
|25/01/2020||3:00 pm||Northern League Division One||2019-20|