Consett tasted defeat for the first time in pre-season in today’s final friendly against Morpeth Town – but will take plenty of positives from their 4-3 loss.
The Steelmen gave as good as they got for much of an incident-packed game against a team who will be playing two divisions higher than this season.
Although it was a friendly, both teams played it like a cup tie, and Consett manager Terry Mitchell will be delighted with some of the football his side played.
Morpeth, who won the Northern Premier League East Division title last season, went in front after just two minutes, when Sean Reid was allowed to carry the ball deep into the Consett half, and smashed a shot past Kyle Hayes from 20 yards.
A minute later they had a chance to double their lead when Shabz Mohammed played through Ben Harmison, but the striker couldn’t convert past Hayes.
The hosts had their first chance 12 minutes in when Luke Carr stole the ball from Ben Sayer, but the midfielder’s shot was blocked. After a frustrating opening 20 minutes the home side started growing into the game and almost levelled with a fantastic team move.
Max Russell played the ball to Ali Alshabeeb down the right , and he passed it to Ardelean. The striker flicked the ball behind him for the on-running Carr who found Holden on the opposite wing. Holden got his shot away, but saw it tipped round the post by Morpeth’s trialist keeper.
Holden was a handful for the opposition all afternoon and showed his threat again in the 28th minute. Morpeth’s defenders stayed compact as Consett pushed forward so Holden drove at them, beating two players before dragging his shot a yard wide.
Eventually the pressure paid off for the home side as they equalised through Carr in the 31st minute. He played a perfect one-two with Holden, which left him with a tap-in from six yards out.
Hayes denied Morpeth an instant response a few minutes later as Reid troubled the Consett defence again. Harmison played a killer ball through the two centre-backs for Reid to latch onto, but Hayes stayed big to block the shot, keeping the score at 1-1.
Morpeth did get their second goal in the 39th minute as Harmison blasted the ball home from inside the six-yard box. Sayer floated a ball to the back post which was headed across goal into the path of Harmison to strike home with ease.
Only a minute later Consett found their equaliser through Ardelean. Right-back, Russell found space on the wing again and cut the ball across the box into the path of Ardelean who managed to strike it past the trialist keeper, despite him getting a hand to it.
It remained 2-2 at half-time, and it took the visitors only six minutes of the second half to regain the lead for a third time. Sayer showed quick feet to waltz past three Consett players in the box and slip the ball past Hayes. It was a fantastic solo effort from the former Northern League Player of the Year.
In the 61st minute Consett almost responded again as Holden and Carr combined again. The keeper managed to keep out Holden’s driven strike with his feet. But Holden was not to be denied, and got his goal and Consett’s third with 64 minutes played. Ardelean ran past Holden, making a bit more space for his angled low shot into the far corner, leaving the keeper rooted to the spot.
Consett made three changes on 70 minutes, and one of the newcomers, Lewis McGeoch, came close to giving the hosts the lead for the first time with 15 minutes left to play. He flicked an Ardelean cross towards the top-right corner, forcing the keeper into a great save.
Foalle scored what proved to be the winner on 76 minutes with a great goal. He cut in from the left and unleashed a curling effort into the far corner, giving Hayes no chance.
Consett tried their best to equalise for a fourth time, with sub Josh Gray having a shot blocked and Holden being thwarted by the keeper at close range, but simply ran out of time at the end of a thrilling game.
MATCH REPORT: ADAM WEBB
PICTURES: GARY WELFORD
CONSETT: 1 Kyle Hayes, 2 Max Russell (sub Jermaine Metz 70), 3 Trialist (David Brown) (sub Adam Male 70), 4 Matty Slocombe, 5 Nick Allen, 6 Ross Wilkinson (captain), 7 Ali Alshabeeb (sub Lewis McGeoch 70), 8 Calvin Smith, 9 Andrei-Vasile Ardelean (sub Joe Sloan 80) , 10 Luke Carr (sub Josh Gray 81) 11 Darren Holden (sub Alex Johnson 87). Sub not used: Jack Brown (GK).
MORPETH TOWN: 1 Trialist (Phil Holgate), 2 Joe Walton, 3 Michael Turner, 4 Ben Sayer, 5 Kris Thackray, 6 Jeff Henderson, 7 Jack Foalle, 8 Shabz Mohammed, 9 Ben Harmison, 10 Sean Reid, 11 Wayne Phillips (captain). Subs used: Liam Henderson, Stephen Forster, Marcus Giles.
|27/07/2019||3:00 pm||2019-20 Pre-season|