Dale Pearson’s first two goals for Consett helped his new club get their League Cup campaign off to a successful start against one of his old ones. The big striker scored twice as the Steelmen came from behind to beat Newcastle Benfield 3-1 at Belle View in their opening Group D game.
Manager Terry Mitchell made five changes to the starting line-up from the weekend, with David Brown, Jake Stafford, Max Russell, Dan Hawkins and Joe Sloan coming in for Ross Wilkinson, Matty Slocombe, Calvin Smith, Andrei-Vasile Ardelean and Luke Carr.
The first 15 minutes saw the sides cancel each other out, and it was the 18th minute before the first chance of the game, when Ali Alshabeeb set up Sloan, whose shot was deflected wide. Three minutes later Consett had another chance when Dan Hawkins, playing in the No. 10 role, set up Pearson, but his shot was blocked .
The striker was relishing facing the club he played for last season, and almost had a goal on 27 minutes, when his shot on the turn from Brown’s left-wing cross came back off the post, and Hawkins’ follow-up was blocked at the expense of a corner.
Russell and Stafford both fired efforts wide as the home side continued to press, and on 35 minutes Pearson wanted a penalty after a coming together with centre-back Mechack Kanda as they contested a through ball, but the referee was having none of it.
Half-time: Consett 0 Newcastle Benfield 0
The second half started pretty much the same as the first, and was 10 minutes old before good work by Brown and Sloan set up Russell, who was having an excellent game on his full debut, but the midfielder’s shot was straight at the keeper.
Benfield had barely figured as an attacking force in the opening 45 minutes, but 12 minutes into the half Kyle Hayes almost presented them with a goal by fumbling Dennis Knight’s swerving shot, but recovered well to thwart Peter Glen-Ravenhill’s follow-up.
A minute later the Consett keeper, who been a virtual spectator in the first half, was called into action again to save from Knight again down at his near post, and then the Steelmen had a let-off when centre-back Mark Turnbull was given time and space to bring down Ben Richardson’s cross, but slashed his shot wide.
It was Benfield’s best spell of the game, and they got their reward on 62 minutes when Guilherme Baltazar’s miskick fell to Glen-Ravenhill, who made no mistake to give the visitors the lead.
Consett responded positively, and Alshabeeb fired wide from Pearson’s lay-off, and the winger then set up marauding right-back Jermaine Metz, who shot just past the far post from 20 yards. Consett got the goal they deserved on 71 minutes when Russell’s strong run was halted illegally 25 yards out, and Pearson stepped up to fire the free-kick into the top-right corner, which his former teammate Andrew Grainger got a hand to but couldn’t keep out.
In the 84th minute Pearson doubled his tally, shrugging off his man to run onto an excellent Brown pass, cutting into the box and finishing under the keeper to make it 2-1.
In the 87th minute Benfield striker Knight was booked for bringing down Russell from behind, and from the resulting free-kick Brown tried an audacious chip from 40 yards, but Grainger was alert to the danger and caught the ball under his crossbar.
But there was nothing the keeper could do about Consett’s third goal, which arrived in the first minute of added time. Russell surged forward from midfield and fed the ball out wide to Alshabeeb, who drove at the Benfield defence, played a fine one-two with Pearson, and slotted home from 12 yards to make it 3-1.
Alshabeeb almost had another goal in the dying seconds, but was just beaten to a through ball by Grainger, who came racing out of his area to fly-kick clear. When the final whistle went it was Consett who had taken pole position by winning the first game of Group D, putting many of the weekend’s frustrations behind them.
MATCH REPORT & PICTURES: GARY WELFORD
CONSETT: 1 Kyle Hayes, 2 Jermaine Metz, 3 David Brown, 4 Jake Stafford, 5 Arjun Purewal (captain), 6 Nick Allen, 7 Ali Alshabeeb, 8 Max Russell, 9 Dale Pearson, 10 Dan Hawkins (sub Andrei-Vasile Ardelean 66), 11 Joe Sloan. Subs not ssed: Calvin Smith, Matty Slocombe.
NEWCASTLE BENFIELD: 1 Andrew Grainger, 2 Jake Turnbull (sub Matty Parker 56), 3 James Novak, 4 Ben Richardson, 5 Mark Turnbull (captain), 6 Mechack Kanda, 7 Kurtis Russell, 8 Aiden Haley, 9 Peter Glen-Ravenhill, 10 Dennis Knight, 11 Guilherme Baltazar (sub Cyril Giraud 79). Subs not used: Paul Brayson, Alfie Gordon, Stuart Elliott.
|10/09/2019||7:30 pm||League Cup||2019-20|