Consett produced a disjointed performance as they laboured to a 1-1 draw with newly-promoted Thornaby at a wet Belle View Stadium in a rare Friday night game.
Following a goalless first half where the visitors had looked the more threatening, a Calvin Smith goal looked to have set Consett on their way to victory. However, Lewis Green swiftly equalised for Thornaby to give them a well-deserved point.
After the disappointment of exiting the FA Cup at Dunston, there were three changes to the Consett line-up with Nick Allen and Dan Hawkins replacing Jake Stafford and Luke Carr (who was unavailable) while Mark Foden, on loan from Blyth Spartans, played in goal as cover for the holidaying Kyle Hayes.
There was a familiar face on the Thornaby bench for supporters who go back as far as the old Belle Vue in the form of popular former right-back Andrew Burton.
The game started in driving rain, and it was Thornaby who looked the brighter. Loanee Foden had to be alert as early as the third minute to keep out a snap shot from Lewis Murphy. The former Ross County stopper produced an even better save on 11 minutes, denying Luke Drummond with an athletic save following a scramble from a corner.
The Steelmen were really struggling to find their rhythm, and had to wait until the 21st minute for a sniff of goal as Nick Allen fizzed a ball across from the left to Dan Hawkins, who was well placed to score. However, a heavy first touch allowed a Thornaby defender to recover and block the effort.
On 25 minutes, Thornaby again caused problems from a corner and Foden was called into action again, making two good saves in quick succession at his near post from Daniel Chapman.
Both sides then spurned good chances to take a lead into the break. Consett’s came on 34 minutes as excellent build-up play from Calvin Smith and Andrei Ardelean sent Ali Alshabeeb through on goal. However, the wide man snatched at the chance and blazed the ball well over the bar.
Thornaby then missed probably the best chance of the half on 39 minutes as Benjamin Jackson surged past two white shirts down the left and his ball found Chapman alone in front of goal 10 yards, but the finish was lacking and the ball sent well over the crossbar
The rain had eased once the second half started and Consett made a better start to this period, controlling possession but struggling to make any serious inroads into the visiting defence. There was a half chance on 57 minutes as Hawkins was set up by good work from full-backs Metz and Allen, but his effort from the edge of the area was deflected just wide.
However, the home faithful only had to wait until the 58th minute for the breakthrough as Alshabeeb made good progress down the right and his teasing cross found Calvin Smith six yards out, and the midfield man bundled the ball into the bottom-right corner.
Hopes that this would act as a springboard for the Steelmen were soon dashed though as Thornaby equalised in the 61st minute through midfielder Lewis Green. Consett lost possession in midfield and Green surged forward before giving Foden no chance from 20 yards.
The closest Consett would get to a second goal was on 67 minutes as Darren Holden unleashed a venomous shot from 25 yards, which James Dawson did extremely well to palm round the post.
Thornaby responded and came close to a winner themselves in the 72nd minute as the pacey Jackson again dribbled into the box and Foden had to react quickly at his near post to keep the striker’s shot out.
That was the last real clear-cut chance of the game. Despite both teams clearly wanting to push for a winner, a combination of good defending and poor final passes meant they each had to settle for a point, and while our visitors would surely have taken that at the start of the game, they actually looked a little disappointed as they left the field. Consett, meanwhile, know that better performances will be needed if they are to challenge at the top of the table.
MATCH REPORT: ANDY BALL
PICTURES: JOHN PAUL HARDY/ANDREW THOMPSON
|16/08/2019||7:45 pm||Northern League Division One||2019-20|