Tag: Belle View Stadium

Consett lacking a cutting edge as they draw latest friendly with Crook Town

Consett had to settle for a 0-0 draw with Crook Town today in their latest behind-closed-doors pre-season friendly at a sun-drenched Belle View.

Terry Mitchell’s side were missing five attacking players for a variety of reasons, so it was no surprise they struggled to break down a well-organised visiting side.

Michael Mackay and Lewis Green had shots on target in an evenly-matched first half, but didn’t trouble keeper Ronan Makepeace, while Jamie Tumilty had Crook’s best attempt with a 25-yard free-kick.

The second half saw both sides make a multitude of changes, and one of Consett’s subs, Nick Allen, went close with an effort which Makepeace saved well down at his near post.

Keeper Kyle Hayes was twice called into action as Crook showed the attacking prowess which took them to third in the 2nd Division before last season was declared null and void.

But the best chance of all fell to young centre-back Simon Jakab, who rose highest to meet a right-wing corner in the 63rd minute, but powered his header straight at the keeper, pictured top.

  • Consett’s next game is a behind closed doors friendly against Northern Premier League side Pickering Town on Saturday, 15 August.

Birthday boy Ali ends Tow Law resistance as Consett make it two friendly wins in four days

A close-range header from diminutive forward Ali Alshabeeb proved to be the difference as Consett made it two friendly wins in four days tonight as Consett beat Tow Law Town 1-0.

Ali, who turned 20 today, headed home from a corner in the 58th minute as the Lawyers frustrated their hosts at a blustery Belle View.

The behind-closed-doors encounter saw manager Terry Mitchell start with six of the side who began Saturday’s game at Blue Star, and there were first pre-season run-outs for Simon Jakab and Jake Orrell.

Tow Law had three ex-Steelmen in their ranks in Mattie Moffat, Adam Knowles and Michael Brown, and plenty of experience in the likes of Daryll Hall, Jeff Smith and Barrie Smith.

The opening period saw Consett enjoying lots of possession, but Tow Law defending well, and it was 19 minutes before the Steelmen created their first chance, which keeper Lewis Graham saved well from Thomas McAloon after good build-up play from Luke Carr and Orrell.

On 26 minutes Consett were awarded a penalty when the lively Alshabeeb was fouled, but the keeper made a good save from Carr’s spot-kick, diving low to his left.

Adam Male almost caught out the keeper with a 20-yarder to his near post on 33 minutes, and just before half-time Graham pulled off a fine save from McAloon after some great wing play by Alshabeeb.

It remained 0-0 at half-time, and Consett made seven changes for the start of the second half, with only Alshabeeb, Male, Jakob and Jermaine Metz staying on. The subs included Michael Mackay and Antonio Agostinho, both tasting their first pre-season action.

The game continued in the same vein, with Consett enjoying lots of the ball, and Tow Law working hard to deny them chances, but the breakthrough came just before the hour.

Summer signing Carl Lawson delivered a right-wing corner into the six-yard box, and Alshabeeb got in front of his much taller marker to nod home, despite Graham’s best efforts to stop the ball crossing the line.

Another swathe of substitutions saw another new boy, Lewis Green, make his first appearance in a Consett shirt, but it was Agostinho who came closest to adding to the scoring, when his speculative effort was tipped over by the keeper.

For all their hard work, discipline and tidy football, Tow Law rarely threatened the Consett goal, with a 77th-minute Jeff Smith free-kick which flashed well wide their only effort of note.

  • Consett’s next game is on Saturday, 8 August, when they take on another 2nd Division side, Crook Town, in another behind-closed-doors friendly at Belle View.

The boys are back! Consett enjoy their first post-lockdown training session

Consett AFC’s players and staff are back in business, more than four months after they won at Atherstone to secure their place in the FA Vase semi-finals.

The partial easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions meant Terry Mitchell and his team were able to train last night for the first time since March.

Most of last season’s squad were present at the socially-distanced session, which went ahead after chairman Frank Bell completed a risk assessment for Belle View Stadium.

As well as the familiar faces there were two new signings, Lewis Green from Thornaby and Carl Lawson from Sunderland RCA, plus a handful of trialists.

Although full-contact training isn’t yet allowed under Government and FA guidelines, Terry and his staff gave the lads a good workout.

They put them through a series of drills, including dribbling, passing, set-up play and shooting, as well as general fitness work.

Terry said afterwards: “It was great to be back on the training pitch again with the coaching staff and players.

“There was an excellent turnout, it was great to see everyone again, and the lads’ base fitness levels look good.

“The two new lads were welcomed by all the players and staff, and they both showed good fitness levels and quality on the ball.

“We are all looking forward to seeing our fantastic supporters again when we can play games – sooner than later, we hope!”

A programme of pre-season friendlies has been provisionally arranged. Dates and opponents will be confirmed once we have a start date for the return of competitive football.

FA Vase update: The FA still aims to play the final at Wembley, with fans present

The FA has been in touch with Consett AFC and other semi-finalists in recent days with regard to its plans to complete the 2019-20 FA Vase competition.

Although all leagues at our level, Step 5, were declared null and void when the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak became clear, the game’s governing body is determined to finish the Vase, as well as the FA Trophy and FA Cup.

Consett are due to face Western League side Bitton AFC in one semi-final, while our Northern League rivals Hebburn Town play Southern League side Corinthian in the other.

This week, the FA has re-iterated its intention to play the final at Wembley, and said it is in close touch with the Government about when playing games with spectators present might be possible – though this obviously depends on further lifting of restrictions necessary to stem the pandemic.

It is understood the FA Vase and FA Trophy finals will still be played on the same day, and Wembley has been approached about available dates.

Once agreement has been reached over the finals, dates for the semi-finals will be arranged, and these are likely to be before the start of any new season.

Consett AFC Chairman Frank Bell said: “We are in the hands of the Government over when it is safe to play in front of a crowd again, and The FA over when the games can be scheduled, but we are just glad our dream of playing at Wembley is still alive after the unprecedented events of the last few months.

“Since lockdown restrictions began to be lifted we have carried out an in-depth risk assessment of measures which need to be in place in readiness for a restart, and have been preparing Belle View Stadium for a safe re-opening, with all the necessary social distancing measures in place.

“Our first team will begin socially-distanced training soon, and whenever The FA give us the green light to play again, I’m sure Terry and his staff will have the lads ready for the biggest game in the club’s history.”

No more tickets for the home leg of the semi-final will be sold until we know when the game will take place.

Join the Conny Army! Consett AFC season tickets for 2020-21 on sale now

Consett AFC is now taking applications for season tickets for the 2020-21 campaign.

With the lockdown brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic slowly starting to ease, we’re starting to plan for next season – whenever that might be.

Prices have been held from the 2019-20 season, and they all represent big savings on what you’d spend if you were paying at the gate game-by-game.

Please note that existing season ticket holders should keep their 2019-20 passes, as they will be used to gain FREE ADMISSION to our pre-season friendlies.

All details of prices and how to order your 2020-21 season tickets are in the accompanying graphic.

On this day in our history: 30 April 2016 – Consett end their home fixtures with a grandstand finish

Consett completed their home fixtures on a high on this day back in 2016, achieving a sixth consecutive win with a good 4-2 victory over Newton Aycliffe at Belle View Stadium.

The result saw the Steelmen, who were under the control of interim manager Mark Eccles, leapfrog their visitors to go sixth in the table – the highest they’d been all season.

They made two changes to the side which had beaten Bishop Auckland in midweek, with Nathan Steel and Josh Gray returning for Dan Hawkins and Jordan Nellis. The back four was a bit of a patched-up affair, with Matty Slocombe at right-back, Joe Grant on the left, and Jordan Lavery lining up alongside Stephen Little in the centre.

Goalmouth action against Newton Aycliffe. Pic: Gary Welford.

Thankfully, the visitors, who had lifted the Durham Challenge Cup for the first time the previous month, were without Consett old boy Mattie Moffat and his strike partner John Campbell.

Aycliffe had the first chance when centre-back Grant Hickman headed wide from a cross from the right, but the next half an hour saw Consett take control.

Luke Sullivan, in the mood for more goals after getting his 100th for the club in midweek, walloped a 30-yarder straight at Lewis Brass, then saw a shot come back off the keeper, but no-one able to react to the rebound.

Aycliffe’s Dennis Knight gets to grips with Consett’s Luke Sullivan. Pic: Gary Welford.

A great corner from the right by Lavery saw Sullivan and Calvin Smith inches away from getting a touch to take it past the keeper, then Sullivan was just off target from Gray’s cross.

It was against the run of play that Stuart Banks – so often a thorn in Consett’s side during his West Auckland days – gave the visitors the lead on 35 minutes, with Alan Harrison and Jordan Laidler swapping passes before setting up the winger for a simple finish.

The Steelmen responded by going back on the attack. Smith hit a 30-yarder straight at Brass, then his pass put skipper Danny Craggs through, but he made a hash of his attempted lob. Five minutes before half-time Consett got the goal their dominance deserved, however, when Steel headed home from Sullivan’s right-wing cross.

Nathan Steel’s header nestles in the net to make it 1-1. Pic: Gary Welford.

A minute later he almost had a second when Brass pulled off a fine save from another header from Craggs’ cross, and he went close with two more headers before the break as the visitors’ defence struggled to cope with his aerial threat.

Half-time was reached with the score still 1-1, and Consett went straight back on the attack after the break. Craggs blazed one over after being played in by Gray, but there was a warning that Aycliffe still posed a threat on the break, as Laidler hit a shot on the turn which struck the bar.

The odd break aside, it was all Consett, and Brass had to save a Craggs header, while Sullivan and Lavery put efforts just wide. The pressure was bound to pay off, and in the 72nd minute it did when Craggs’ shot in a crowded penalty area fell to Steel six yards out, and he fired home, despite appeals for offside.

Nathan Steel fires home to make it 2-1 to Consett. Pic: Gary Welford.

The lead lasted just four minutes, as Consett conceded a soft equaliser. Grant was adjudged to have fouled his man as he contested a header, and the resulting free-kick saw Dennis Knight fire into the top-left corner from out wide on the right – a goal which raised question marks over keeper Gareth Young’s positioning.

The goal was the signal for Consett to mount a grandstand finish, with Craggs missing a trio of chances. First his header from Gray’s cross was well saved by Brass, then the keeper was grateful to his post after the Consett skipper chased a through ball and went round him, but hit the upright. Craggs then curled a free-kick just wide as the Steelmen sought a winner.

On 84 minutes Consett got the goal their display deserved, as Sullivan cut in from the right and arrowed a shot across Brass and into the bottom corner. It was a strike worthy of winning any game, but the striker wasn’t satisfied.

Luke Sullivan makes it 3-2 to Consett. Pic: Gary Welford.

A minute from time Sullivan grabbed a second just-as-good but very different goal, beating the keeper with a deft chip after being played in by Craggs, who’d had an outstanding second half.

Aycliffe were a good side, but when the final whistle went they knew they’d been well-beaten by a convincing Consett display.

Consett: 1 Gareth Young, 2 Matty Slocombe, 3 Joe Grant, 4 Stephen Little, 5 Jordan Lavery, 6 Lewis Gibbons, 7 Luke Sullivan, 8 Calvin Smith, 9 Nathan Steel, 10 Danny Craggs (captain), 11 Josh Gray (sub 12 Jake Stafford 90). Subs not used: 14 Chris Mordue, 15 Jordan Nellis, 16 Ryan Cummings GK Ben Cole.
Newton Aycliffe: 1 Lewis Brass, 2 Aaron Brown, 3 Dennis Knight, 4 Grant Hickman, 5 Daniel Mitton, 6 Neil Pattinson (captain), 7 Paul Garthwaite, 8 Alan Harrison, 9 Jordan Laidler, 10 Zak Boagey, 11 Stuart Banks. Subs not used: 12 Jack Oliver, 14 Brian Close, 15 Mark Stephenson, 16 Andrew Green.

On this day in our history: 22 April 2017 – an unexpected last-day drubbing marks the end of another Consett rollercoaster ride

Tonight should have seen us complete our away fixtures for this season with a visit to Sunderland RCA – the same opponents, who, by coincidence, we played on this date three years ago.

Consett went into the game on a sunny Saturday at Belle View Stadium full of optimism, still hoping for a top-six finish. But a jaded performance at the end of a 55-game rollercoaster of a campaign saw them beaten 5-0 at home by mid-table RCA.

Mark Eccles, ending his first full season as manager, was forced to make two changes to the starting XI which had beaten Penrith 4-0 on Easter Monday, with Arjun Purewal on international duty and Dan Hawkins unwell. Jordan Lavery came in at left-back, with Clark Kay moving into central defence, and Matty Slocombe returning in midfield.

RCA, who’d had an 11-day break, were looking to bounce back from successive defeats to Marske United and Jarrow Roofing, and looked brighter from the start. The only surprise was that it took them until the 31st minute to take the lead, when Ryan Noble’s corner from the right was met, unchallenged, by one-time Consett player Stephen Callen, who headed in from six yards for his 20th goal of the season.

Ex-Consett player Stephen Callen makes it 1-0 to Sunderland RCA. Pic: Gary Welford.

Consett had two chances to level just before the break, but Craggs hit a 25-yard free-kick wide of the left-hand post, and Michael Sweet headed straight at Carmichael from Shaun Ryder’s cross, so half-time arrived with the visitors 1-0 up.

After a below-par first-half showing, Consett went straight on the attack at the beginning of the second, and a cross from the right reached Sullivan, whose shot was blocked for a corner. From the flag-kick the ball was headed just wide by Ryan McKinnon.

RCA were still a threat, however, and young keeper Ross Coombe made a double save to thwart Callen and John Butler. Just when Consett seemed to playing their way back into the game, disaster struck midway through the half as RCA doubled their lead.

Ryan McKinnon brings the ball out against two RCA players. Pic: Gary Welford.

Craig Hubbard picked the ball up in midfield and played it to Callen on the edge of the penalty area. The striker held the ball up before turning his marker and firing in a super shot into the bottom corner.

At 2-0 down, Consett brought on forward Jordan Nellis for defender Kay in a desperate attempt to change things, but on 72 minutes they gifted RCA a chance to wrap up the game when Callen put Butler clean through on goal, but Coombe stood up well to save, and the No 9’s follow-up effort was blocked and then cleared.

However, a third goal to clinch the game wasn’t far away. A long ball up to Callen was brought down with a delightful touch, and he again played in Butler, who this time made no mistake with a fine finish from the edge of the area.

With the match heading into stoppage time, RCA got a fourth goal as Consett appealed in vain for offside against Butler, who put the ball through the exposed Coombe’s legs.

Consett found RCA’s front two Butler and Callen too hot to handle. Pic: Gary Welford.

In the third minute of added time the humiliation was complete as Butler was again put through on goal, only to be upended by Jake Stafford. Colin Larkin, RCA’s regular penalty taker, handed the ball to Butler, who coolly fired past Coombe to complete a 15-minute hat-trick.

When the final whistle went it was a dejected-looking Consett team who trooped off the field after their heaviest defeat of the season, but they were still applauded by their loyal fans, who’d enjoyed as many ups as downs.

The campaign had been derailed by the Steelmen’s failure to find a settled side – six different goalkeepers, nine different centre-backs, and of the 37 players who’d donned the shirt, 15 of them played 10 games or less.

They enjoyed FA Cup wins at Clitheroe and Harrogate RA, and took National League side Curzon Ashton to two games before a single-goal replay defeat. In the FA Vase they had thumped Hebburn, before bowing out at home to a Pickering Town side they really should have beaten.

Keeper Ross Coombe finds one way of stopping RCA’s John Butler. Pic: Gary Welford.

In the league they were frustratingly inconsistent, only managing to win four games in a row once all season, though they did enjoy a 14-game unbeaten run (including cups) between the end of October and January. Disappointing though it was, this last-day defeat didn’t affect our final position, as Whitley Bay clinched 6th with a 4-1 win at Penrith, which meant Consett had to be content with 7th for a second successive season.

CONSETT: 1 Ross Coombe, 2 Adam Knowles (sub Jake Stafford 83), 3 Jordan Lavery, 4 Ryan McKinnon, 5 Clark Kay, 6 Shaun Ryder, 7 Lewis Teasdale, 8 Danny Craggs (captain), 9 Michael Sweet, 10 Luke Sullivan, 11 Matty Slocombe (sub Dan Hawkins 57). Subs not used: Chris Rogan, Mackenzie Milner.
SUNDERLAND RCA: 1 Jonathan Carmichael, 2 Ryan Noble, 3 Adam McGuinness, 4 Colin Larkin, 5 Greg Swansbury (captain), (sub Liam McBryde 83) 6 Craig Hubbard, 7 Karl Charlton, 8 James Armstrong (sub Brad Wilson 18), 9 John Butler, 10 Stephen Callen, 11 James Cassidy (sub Keiron Graham 88). Subs not used: Steven Stewart, Neil Bussey (GK).

Consett manager Mark Eccles looks on, unimpressed. Pic: Gary Welford.

On this day in our history, 8 April 2017 – Consett come out on top in ‘battle of the entertainers’ v Benfield

Consett came from behind three times against Newcastle Benfield to win the ‘battle of the entertainers’ 5-3 at a sunny Belle View Stadium on this day back in 2017.

Manager Mark Eccles made two changes to the side unlucky to lose at South Shields in midweek, with Jordan Lavery returning at left-back and Jordan Nellis up front in place of Clark Kay and Luke Sullivan, who were both unavailable. Benfield had one former Consett player, wide man Josh Scott, in their starting XI, and another, centre-back Stephen Tobin, on the bench. Their subs also included Matty Cornish, who would become a Steelman the following season.

The Steelmen’s teenage keeper Ross Coombe had already made two good saves before Benfield took the lead in the 9th minute, when skipper Mark Turnbull’s cross from the right evaded the central defenders, and John Campbell got in behind them to slot home.

Consett keeper Ross Coombe saves from Paul Brayson. Pic: Gary Welford.

It took 19 minutes for Consett to register their first shot on target, when Nellis’s backheel played in Craggs, whose shot cannoned back off keeper Andrew Grainger’s chest.

Four minutes later the scores were level, as Lavery’s free-kick was cleared as far as Dan Hawkins, who got to the byline and picked out Craggs, who finished from inside the six-yard box. It was the skipper’s 17th goal of the season – an excellent return from midfield.

Danny Craggs made it 1-1 midway through the first half. Pic: Gary Welford.

But two minutes later Benfield were back in front, when the 1st Division’s leading scorer, Paul Brayson, was left unmarked to head home his 40th league goal of the season from another Turnbull cross.

Within two minutes Consett were level again, as Jordan Nellis’s scuffed shot fell to Michael Sweet, who slotted home his 30th goal of the season to make it 2-2.

Michael Sweet made it 2-2 as Consett levelled for a second time. Pic: Gary Welford.

The game was going from end to end, and Craggs had a chance to put Consett ahead for the first time on 32 minutes, but his dipping 25-yard free-kick produced a good save from Grainger down inside his right-hand post.

Shaun Ryder, Matty Slocombe and Sweet all had chances before the break, as did Matty Fisher at the other end from a right-wing corner, but the score remained 2-2 at half-time.

Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger punches a Consett corner clear. Pic: Gary Welford.

The sides’ cavalier attacking attitude meant you knew it wasn’t going to stay that way, and although Hawkins had the first chance of the second half, firing just over from 20 yards, it was Benfield who scored next, taking the lead for the third time.

A superb Brayson pass left Joshua Scott with only the keeper to beat, and he obliged with the visitors’ 99th league goal of the season in the 56th minute.

Again the lead didn’t last long. Craggs was frustrated to only shoot wide from an acute angle from Nellis’s pass on the hour, but four minutes later the Steelmen were level for a third time. Turnbull could only look on in horror as the ball came off his head as he tried to cut out Jordan Lavery’s cross, and looped over the keeper to make it 3-3.

Mark Turnbull’s own goal makes it Consett 3 Benfield 3. Pic: Gary Welford.

The impetus was now with the home side, and two minutes later they took the lead for the first time in the game, as Hawkins won possession in midfield and slipped the ball through for Sweet, who beat Grainger to make it 4-3. It was his 31st goal of the season, putting him just two behind top scorer Sullivan.

Consett take the lead for the first time as Michael Sweet makes it 4-3. Pic: Gary Welford.

Hawkins had a chance to extend the lead with 15 minutes to go when he was played in by Craggs, but while his effort was well-hit, Grainger made the save look easy. But there was nothing the keeper could do three minutes later when Hawkins, who just about edged man-of-the-match honours, finished Matty Slocombe’s cross from 10 yards, to make it 5-3.

Man of the match Dan Hawkins completes the scoring. Pic: Gary Welford.

Sub Lewis Teasdale was keen to get on the scoresheet, but his 30-yarder was rising all the way as it cleared the bar. Hawkins almost made it six in the final minute, but was denied by the save of the game from Grainger, who tipped away the Consett man’s top corner-bound curler.

When the final whistle went it was Consett who had come out top in a game which was a superb advert for the Northern League, and the crowd of 467 were quick to show their appreciation for an excellent afternoon’s entertainment.
CONSETT: 1 Ross Coombe, 2 Nathan Lawrence, 3 Jordan Lavery, 4 Ryan McKinnon, 5 Arjun Purewal, 6 Shaun Ryder, 7 Matty Slocombe (sub 12 Jake Stafford 83 mins), 8 Danny Craggs (captain) (sub 15 Lewis Teasdale 76 mins), 9 Michael Sweet, 10 Jordan Nellis (sub 16 Mackenzie Milner 82 mins), 11 Dan Hawkins. Subs not used: 14 Chris Rogan, 17 Michael Brown.
NEWCASTLE BENFIELD: 1 Andrew Grainger, 2 Mark Turnbull (captain), 3 Dylan McEvoy, 4 Matty Fisher, 5 Laquan Esdaille, 6 Tom Bramley, 7 Scott McCardle, 8 Ursene Mouanda, 9 Paul Brayson, 10 John Campbell (sub 15 Alex Berhan 79 mins), 11 Joshua Scott. Subs not used: 12 Stephen Tobin, 14 Matty Cornish, 16 Mark Convery, GK Dan Mullen.

On this day in our history: 29 March 2016 – the night it rained goals at Belle View

A depleted Consett side served up a magnificent night’s entertainment as they beat Washington 8-5 in one of the craziest games in the club’s history, on this date in 2016.

Missing seven players through injury or suspension, they were three-up inside 12 minutes, contrived to throw away the lead and go behind early in the second half, then stormed back to win in a thrilling final quarter.

Interim manager Mark Eccles made six changes to the side which had drawn with Seaham Red Star a week earlier, Ryan Cummings, Jake Stafford, Dan Hawkins, Chris Mordue, Nathan Steel and Josh Gray coming in for the suspended Joe Grant and Luke Sullivan, injured Ryan McKinnon, Lewis Gibbons and Danny Craggs, and benched Jordan Nellis.

The game was a personal triumph for striker Michael Sweet. Stranded for much of the season out on the wing, he was played through the middle and looked in the mood for goals from the off. Just a minute in, he had a shot saved by keeper Carl Morris, but made no mistake in the fourth minute, when a ball down the left released Steel, and he unselfishly squared for his strike partner to tap in.

A minute later Washington almost levelled when John Butler went round Peter Jeffries and shot from an acute angle, but Stafford got back to clear his shot off the line.

On 10 minutes the same combination responsible for the opening goal struck again, with Sweet getting a little lucky this time, as his shot ricocheted back off him after hitting a defender and leaving the keeper helpless.

Michael Sweet makes it 2-0 to Consett. Pic: Gary Welford.

Consett were rampant, and on 12 minutes it was 3-0. Sweet was tripped by Adam McGuinness, and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty, though it was hotly contested by the visitors. With Sweet on track for one of the quickest hat-tricks in the club’s history, it was a surprise when Gray stepped up to take it, but he slotted it away. The winger, who was tormenting his man down the left, almost scored again on 15 minutes, but fired wide after driving into the box.

Conceding three goals so early on might have crushed some teams, but Washington showed they’re made of sterner stuff by slowly but surely playing their way back into the game. Butler brought a good save from Jeffries at his near post, and on 28 minutes the visitors were awarded a penalty when Steel climbed all over his man in the box. Washington skipper Mark Davison stepped up to take it, but Jeffries pulled off an excellent save.

Consett’s Nathan Steel and Washington’s James Cassidy. Pic: Gary Welford.

Hawkins saw a shot saved by Morris at the end of a great run from midfield, and although Steel netted the rebound, he was ruled offside. Steel was then a stud’s length away from converting from six yards out after a fine run down the left by the marauding Jordan Lavery.

On 34 minutes Davison made up for his penalty miss by powerfully heading home Conor Okus’s corner to make it 3-1, but Sweet should have restored the Steelmen’s three-goal lead almost immediately when he found himself running 20 yards clear, but hesitated, allowing Morris to make a crucial save. Just how vital a save it was became apparent when Butler at last got the better of Jeffries on 42 minutes, firing into the bottom corner when Consett failed to deal with a straightforward free-kick, then equalising a minute later after a defensive howler left him with just the keeper to beat.

Consett’s Josh Gray runs at Washington’s Steven Stewart. Pic: Gary Welford.

Consett were stunned, and things looked even gloomier at the second period, when skipper Dan Madden failed to emerge, complaining of a hamstring injury. The impetus was now with Washington, and Butler had the first chance of the half, but lifted his shot over the bar. James Cassidy fired just wide, and Butler was again denied by Jeffries, but the keeper could do nothing when Gray misdirected a header past him on 58 minutes for an own goal which gave Washington an unlikely lead.

The Steelmen looked utterly deflated, but to their credit responded well, and on 69 minutes they got a deserved equaliser to make it 4-4. Calvin Smith’s shot was going wide, but Steel kept the ball alive at the back post, and Jordan Nellis, who had replaced Madden at half-time, prodded home from close range.

Josh Gray scored at both ends. Here he converts Consett’s penalty. Pic: Gary Welford.

A minute later it was 5-4, as Steel burst through on the right, rounded the keeper, got a lucky bounce, and walked the ball into the empty goal. On 76 minutes, Consett scored a sixth, when the pass of the night from Smith played in Nellis, and the striker slipped the ball under the advancing Morris. Two minutes later Consett thought they had a seventh when Nellis’s ball across the face of goal was tucked away by Sweet, but the ‘goal’ was disallowed for offside.

If the fans thought the excitement was over they were wrong. Nellis rattled the post from Sweet’s cross, and on 80 minutes it was 7-4, as Sweet completed a well-deserved hat-trick from Steel’s cross, again benefiting from a ricochet off the keeper. A minute later Butler completed his hat-trick to ensure Consett couldn’t quite see the game out comfortably.

Consett’s Michael Sweet beats Washington’s keeper to the ball. Pic: Gary Welford.

Nellis almost made it three hat-tricks in the game when he burst past two defenders, and saw his shot cannon back off the bar. But fittingly the last word went to Sweet in injury time. He took Gray’s pass with his back to goal, held off his man and turned to complete the scoring in a game which was tremendous entertainment for the fans, but the sort which gives managers nightmares.

CONSETT: 1 Peter Jeffries, 2 Ryan Cummings, 3 Jordan Lavery, 4 Jake Stafford (sub 12 Paul Buzzeo 61), 5 Dan Madden (captain) (sub 14 Jordan Nellis 46), 6 Dan Hawkins, 7 Chris Mordue, 8 Calvin Smith, 9 Nathan Steel, 10 Michael Sweet, 11 Josh Gray. Subs not used: GK Ben Cole.

WASHINGTON: 1 Carl Morris, 2 Steven Stewart (sub 14 Brian Rowe 61), 3 Adam McGuinness, 4 Paul Wardle, 5 Greg Swansbury (captain), 6 Michael Tait, 7 James Cassidy, 8 Conor Okus, 9 John Butler, 10 Mark Davison, 11 Anthony Callaghan. Subs not used: 12 Chris Wallace, 15 Chris Winn, 16 Aaron Croft, 17 Tristan Mitford.

On this day in our history: 28 March 2015 – Mackay makes it to 250 in nine-goal thriller

Michael Mackay’s 250th goal for Consett was the highlight of a goal-laden win over Bedlington Terriers at a gale-battered Belle View Stadium on this day back in 2015.

The Steelmen made two changes to the side which had won at Celtic Nation in midweek (read about that game here), with Scott Martindale returning in defence and Josh Gray starting on the wing, in place of Mark Eccles and Adam Nicholls respectively. Terriers had two future Steelmen in their ranks – centre-back Stephen Little and striker Jordan Nellis.

Despite kicking into the wind, the visitors drew first blood, with Andrew Keenan opened the scoring after just two minutes, firing home from Stephen Young’s pass, but Luke Sullivan levelled within a minute, touching home Danny Craggs’ cross from point-blank range.

On six minutes Sullivan could have scored again when Gray’s cross from the left picked him out, but Terriers keeper Luc Glasper pulled off an excellent save to keep out his header.

David Brown gets stuck in to Bedlington’s Scott Thompson. Pic: Gary Welford.

Bedlington were finding it hard to get out of their own half, and Consett created several chances. Craggs’ inswinging corner was touched over by Glasper, Sullivan headed over from Brown’s flag-kick, Calvin Smith fired just wide from 20 yards after winning possession from a throw-in, and Moore set up Sullivan for a powerful drive which was straight at the keeper.

Consett needed a lead to take into the second half, when they would be facing the wind, and they got it on 22 minutes when skipper Dan Madden headed home Craggs’ corner from 12 yards. A minute later Gray almost made it three, but was denied by another excellent save by Glasper, who beat away his 25-yarder.

Gray then came close with a diving header from Chris Moore’s cross, but it flew just over the bar. On the stroke of half-time Sullivan had a glorious chance after muscling his way past two defenders, but rolled his shot just the wrong side of the post. In added time Consett got the extra-goal cushion they craved, when Brown’s right-wing corner was flicked on at the near post and headed past his own keeper by left-back Calum Donohue at the back post for an own goal which made the half-time score 3-1.

Consett’s Josh Gray tries a diving header. Pic: Gary Welford.

Bedlington, who had come back from 4-1 down to win the reverse fixture 6-4 back in December, clearly fancied their chances of a similar revival, especially with the strong wind at their back, and they almost reduced the arrears within a minute of the restart when Lee Scott had a header cleared off the line.

Jordan Nellis was started to cause problems, and fired a shot across the face of goal when he should have tested Longstaff. Consett were coping with the wind well, and created a couple of chances of their own, Glasper bravely saving at Sullivan’s feet after a great run and cross by Gray, and a volley by Gray which ballooned over the bar.

Midway through the half Mackay had a glorious chance to grab his 250th goal for the club when a pass sent him clear, but Glasper pulled off another fine save, and the ball was scrambled clear before Gray could react to the rebound.

Bedlington keeper Luc Glasper thwarts Michael Mackay. Pic: Gary Welford.

On 70 minutes Bedlington got the foothold in the game they wanted when Jordan Nellis burst through the middle and made it 3-2. The No 11 then combined with Young to set up Scott, who, to Consett’s relief, put his shot over the bar.

Another goal was needed to settle the nerves, and it came on 75 minutes. Mackay’s cross from the right was intended for Sullivan, but right-back Adam Harvey beat him to it, putting through his own goal.

A defender puts through his own goal to make it 4-2 to Consett. Pic: Gary Welford.

A minute late the game was as good as won when Consett went 5-2 up, and the 301 fans present could say they witnessed a piece of club history. Moore’s ball from the right saw Mackay turn his man, pictured top, and fire home goal No 250 of his Consett career – a remarkable achievement.

The Steelmen were now rampant, and centre-back Stephen Little almost scored an unprecedented third own goal in the 82nd minute as he tried to deal with Sullivan’s pullback, only for the post to come to his rescue, and he got back to clear up his own mess.

Consett weren’t to be denied for long, however, and a minute later another excellent cross by man of the match Gray picked out Sullivan at the back post, who headed home to make it 6-2.

Consett’s Calvin Smith challenges Bedlington’s Liam Davison. Pic: Gary Welford.

Bedlington sub Andrew Ferrell made it 6-3 in injury time with a fine 30-yard lob after spotting Longstaff off his line, but the goal failed to take the gloss off another impressive performance by Colin Myers’ revitalised Consett side. The win was the seventh in eight games since he took over, and the goal glut took the total scored in this fixture to an astonishing 31 in the last three games!

Consett: 1 Joe Longstaff, 2 Jack Walker, 3 David Brown, 4 Dan Madden (captain), 5 Scott Martindale, 6 Calvin Smith, 7 Chris Moore, 8 Danny Craggs,
9 Michael Mackay, 10 Luke Sullivan, 11 Josh Gray. Subs not used: Ben Cole, Adam Nicholls, Dale Stones, Kieran Jewitt.