Tag: belle vue park

Tony Bradley thanks the Consett AFC ‘family’ after his tragic lockdown loss

Consett AFC stalwart Tony Bradley has thanked all his friends at the club for their support after he suffered a tragic loss during the coronavirus lockdown.

Tony, who is a supporter of many years’ standing, and was the groundsman at our old Belle Vue Park ground, lost his partner Audrey Cox on 8 May after a short illness. She was 73.

A mother of two, and a dearly loved grandma and great-grandma, Audrey was also a familiar face at our games until she took ill, and used to help out in the boardroom kitchen at the old ground.

Speaking on behalf of Audrey’s family, Tony said: “We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the many friends who helped in giving our beloved Audrey a wonderful send-off.

“I would personally like to thank Frank and Dianne Bell, John Hurst, and all the club members, supporters and everyone else for their generosity.

“We were really touched by the many cards, donations and food parcels we received, and appreciate all your words of kindness.”

On this day in our history: 15 May 2013 – Newcastle United help us say a fond farewell to much-loved but worn-out Belle Vue Park

Consett said goodbye to their crumbling old Belle Vue Park ground on this day in 2013, but a strong Newcastle United XI proved to be party poopers by winning 6-0.

The result wasn’t important, however; the evening was all about giving Consett fans the chance to watch their team at their home of 63 years for the last time.

After a decade of delays, legal wrangling and false starts, the Steelmen were at last leaving the ground, which had been built by voluntary labour from the town’s steelworks just after the Second World War.

Much-loved and admired though the ground was, it’s fair to say it had seen better days; its infrastructure had been deteriorating for years, and the club was constantly having to spend hard-earned money on repairing the worn-out facilities – “we were just fighting one fire after another” as former chairman John Hurst put it.

A new purpose-built stadium at Crookhall, complete with a 3G pitch, was waiting for the club, in exchange for giving up the remainder of their 99-year lease on the ground.

But first they had to give the old ground the send-off that it deserved. Sunderland Reserves had been the first visitors back in 1950, so it was only right that they played a part in the farewell, and a friendly was played on 8 May – with future England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford among those who featured for the Black Cats!

What should have been the last league game, on 11 May, saw Consett draw 2-2 with recent FA Vase winners Spennymoor Town, but that honour fell to a re-arranged game against Newcastle Benfield two days later, after the ground’s ageing floodlights failed in the original fixture a fornight earlier, causing it to be abandoned.

So to the final Consett game at Belle Vue Park, and Newcastle United legend Peter Beardsley agreed to bring an XI to mark the occasion. The Magpies included three players with first-team experience, as well as a young Ryan McKinnon – now where have we heard that name before?

A young Ryan McKinnon was in the Newcastle United XI which provided the opposition for Consett in their last game at Belle Vue Park. Pic: Gary Welford.

Consett were missing a number of first-team regulars, including 35-goal top scorer Michael Mackay, who had gone on holiday, but acquitted themselves more than adequately in the first half.

Newcastle started on the front foot and in the first minute Michael Richardson played in Inman, who rounded Consett keeper Peter Jameson with ease, but was left with too tight an angle to score.

However, the striker – recently back from a productive loan spell at League One side Crewe Alexandra – didn’t have to wait long to make amends, as a Carl Piecha error let him through on goal again, and this time he made no mistake, rounding Jameson with ease before finishing into the empty net.

A minute later Inman broke through again and centred for Rolando Aarons, who blazed over when it looked easier to score. A rout looked on at this point, but in fairness to Consett they stayed calm and steadily made their way into the game.

The next period of the game was scrappy, but the Steelmen slowly became the better side and in the 34th minute Aris Guerin-Lokonga forced a good save from Jonathan Mitchell with a 20-yard effort, following a surging run from Piecha.

A minute later Guerin-Lokonga was unlucky to see his close-range effort from a Mark Eccles pull back loop over the bar. Steven Aiston was next to try his luck on 40 minutes when he turned his marker and shot narrowly over.

Matty Slocombe took over the armband after Carl Piecha went off. Pic Gary Welford.

The final action of note came in the 41st minute when Piecha again powered forward from defence and hit a great 25-yard shot but Mitchell was again equal to it.

There were no less than eight half-time subs, five of them for Consett, and this seemed to knock the home side out of their first-half time rhythm.

The first minute of the half started identically to the first, with Inman rounding Jameson, but this time the keeper brought the Scottish Under-21 international down, and James Tavernier made no mistake from the spot, blasting into the roof of the net.

It was 3-0 on 50 minutes when Richardson again played in man of the match Inman, who made no mistake, calmly finishing past Jameson.

Consett recorded what would prove to be their only on-target effort of the half on 51 minutes when Luke Sullivan hit a scorching 25-yard free-kick, very similar to one he’d scored against Billingham Synthonia, which brought the best from Mitchell. It was a shame it didn’t go in, as it would have been a fitting final home goal at the old ground.

Luke Sullivan’s free-kick goes over. Pic: Gary Welford.

However, Newcastle soon made it four in the 53rd minute. Jameson made a very good save from a Quinn effort, but Aarons was on hand to make up for his earlier miss by finishing from close range.

Presumably to the relief of the Consett back line, Inman was withdrawn at this point but Quinn made it 5-0 on the hour mark, finishing from close range after good set-up play from Richardson.

The visitors seemed to take their foot off the gas at this point and they were certainly less threatening without Inman. Indeed, the next point of interest was the sixth and final goal in the 88th minute, when Streete pounced on a loose ball six yards out and turned smartly to finish into the bottom corner.

Despite the scoreline, all concerned seemed to go home happy with what was a fitting final game for Consett at Belle Vue in front of a good crowd of 750 – two more than had watched the league game against Darlington 1883 back in August.

As fans filed out of a Consett game at Belle Vue Park for the last time – though there was still the League Cup final to play in four days’ time – they were left to reflect on the games and players they’d seen there, and look forward to a new beginning.

The sun sets on a Consett match at Belle Vue Park for the last time. Pic: Gary Welford.

Consett: 1. Peter Jameson, 2. Michael Pearson (sub Craig Robson), 3. David Brown, 4. Jack Stanger, 5. Carl Piecha (sub Andrew Cuthbertson), 6. Ian Davidson, 7. Matty Slocombe, 8. Calvin Smith (sub Scott Canham), 9. Aristote Guerin-Lokonga (sub Luke Sullivan), 10. Steven Aiston (sub Ryan King), 11. Mark Eccles (sub Kieran Martin)
Newcastle United: 1. Jonathan Mitchell, 2. Jamie Sterry, 3. McAuley Gillesphey, 4. Steven Logan (sub Jonathan Quinn), 5. James Tavernier, 6. Ryan McKinnon (sub Remie Streete), 7. Rolando Aarons (sub Greg Olley), 8. Brandon Miele, 9. Michael Richardson, 10. Brad Inman (sub Tom Heardman), 11. Romain Amalfitano (sub Alex Gilliead).

On this day in our history: 13 May 2013 – a low-key last league game defeat at Belle Vue Park

Consett brought down the curtain on 63 years at Belle Vue Park on this day seven years ago with a game they didn’t have to expect to play.

The Northern League ordered that they play relegation-threatened Newcastle Benfield again after floodlight failure caused the original fixture to be abandoned two weeks earlier, with 12 minutes left to play.

Far from being the great occasion which would have befitted the last Northern League game at the ground, this Monday evening match was typical end-of-season fare, with few chances at either end, and Benfield – who led 2-0 when the 29 April game was curtailed due to bad light – doing enough to make sure of 1st Division survival, by winning 2-1

Manager Kenny Lindoe made one change to the side which had drawn 2-2 with FA Vase winners Spennymoor Town on Saturday, with Ian Davidson coming in at centre-back for Carl Piecha.

With the skipper and vice-captain Craig Robson missing, the honour of captaining Consett in their last-ever competitive game at Belle Vue fell to 19-year-old Matty Slocombe – who had recently agreed to sign on contract for next season and was being touted as a captain for the future.

Benfield included three ex-Steelmen in their line-up – Gary Ormston, Brian Dodsworth and Richie Slaughter – with a fourth, Steven Brown, on the bench. Their player-manager was Steve Bowey, who would go on to be a player-coach at Consett.

Consett’s David Brown halts Benfield’s Brian Dodsworth. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

Consett showed first, and they had their first chance on eight minutes, when David Brown’s cross from the left picked out Aris Guerin-Lokonga, who beat his man and got to the by-line, only to see his cross cut out by a combination of goalkeeper and defender. The resulting corner was half-cleared to Michael Mackay, whose volley from the edge of the box went a yard wide of the right-hand post.

Benfield’s first chance came on 13 minutes when Michael Pearson was penalised for handball a few yards outside the box, and Paul Talbot curled a free-kick over the wall, but straight at Peter Jameson, who clutched the ball at the second attempt.

Consett keeper Peter Jameson saves Paul Talbot’s free-kick. Pic: Gary Welford.

The opening goal came on 37 minutes, and it came from a player who made almost 250 appearances in Consett colours. Unfortunately, however, he now plays for Benfield! A cross was swung over from the right, Jameson came to challenge in the air and missed, Ian Graham kept the ball alive in the danger area, and old boy Ormston swept it into the corner to give the Tynesiders a lifeline.

Consett old boy Gary Ormston makes it 1-0 to Benfield. Pic: Gary Welford.

Three minutes later it was 2-0, and this time there was an element of fortune about the goal. Dodsworth sent over a corner from the left, it was flicked on at the front of the six-yard box, and Benfield player-manager Steve Bowey leapt for a header at the back post. He missed the ball, but it came off the post, struck him as he landed, and went in!

The ball goes in off Steve Bowey (No 10) for Benfield’s second goal. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

A minute into added time at the end of the first half Consett got one back. Ever-present midfielder Calvin Smith, playing his 57th game of the season, played a long ball from inside his own half, which visiting keeper Jake Cunningham rushed out to meet. Guerin-Lokonga beat him to it and set up Mackay, who fired past two defenders into the unguarded net from 16 yards for his 35th goal of the season.

Michael Mackay reduces the arrears. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

The second half was an anti-climax, with Benfield content to sit on their lead, and a tired-looking Consett putting in plenty of huff and puff, but simply playing out their season.

Their best chance came six minutes into the half when Sullivan’s corner was helped on at the front post, and Pearson, coming in late, was inches away from getting on the end of the loose ball.

Consett’s Luke Sullivan chests the ball down. Pic: Gary Welford.

Benfield had a couple of chances to clinch the game: Ian Graham flashed a shot over from Dodsworth’s corner, then Pearson spared Jameson’s blushes after the keeper came out of his box to kick clear, missed his clearance, and Bowey passed to Young, whose shot was cleared off the line by the stand-in centre-back.

Jack Stanger and Calvin Smith try to stop Gary Ormston. Pic: Gary Welford.

A glut of substitutions followed in the last 20 minutes, and the only real chance fell to one of the subs, Steven Aiston, whose thunderous injury-time volley, heading for the top corner, was blocked by a superb piece of defending by Benfield skipper Kevin Leighton.

Dodsworth flashed a shot across the face of goal in added time, but it didn’t matter, because Benfield were safe, and Consett had played their last proper match at Belle Vue. The presentation of commemorative medals to those who had taken part in the last game closed the lid on 63 years of history.

Consett captain Matty Slocombe receives his memento. Pic: Gary Welford.

Consett: 1 Peter Jameson, 2 Matty Slocombe (captain), 3 David Brown, 4 Jack Stanger, 5 Michael Pearson, 6 Ian Davidson, 7 Kieran Martin (sub Cuthbertson 71), 8 Calvin Smith (sub Mark Eccles 81), 9 Aris Guerin-Lokonga, 10 Michael Mackay, 11 Luke Sullivan (sub Steven Aiston 74). Subs not used: David Robson, Ryan King.

Newcastle Benfield: 1 Jake Cunningham, 2 Mark Turnbull (sub Lee Mason 23 (sub Steven Brown 86)), 3 Paul Talbot, 4 Gary Ormston, 5 Peter Snowdon, 6 Kevin Leighton (captain), 7 Brian Dodsworth, 8 Richie Slaughter, 9 Stephen Young, 10 Steve Bowey (sub Gareth Williams 69), 11 Ian Graham. Subs not used: Sam Norris, Carl Paterson.

On this day in our history: 11 May 2013 – Consett honour FA Vase winners Spennymoor – then go toe to toe with them

Consett shared the spoils with FA Vase winners Spennymoor Town in a highly entertaining 2-2 draw on this day in 2013, on what should have been the last league game at Belle Vue Park.

It was intended to be Consett’s last competitive fixture at the old ground, and would have been a more than suitable way to sign off, as, even though there was little more than pride to play for, both teams went at it hammer and tongs.

However, we had been told by the league that we had to re-play a game against Newcastle Benfield which had been abandoned with 12 minutes left when the floodlights went out, as that could still have a bearing on who was relegated from the Northern League 1st Division.

The Steelmen made two changes from the previous game against Marske, with Peter Jameson replacing Chris Elliott in goal, and Luke Sullivan coming in for Ian Davidson, with David Brown reverting to left-back.

Luke Sullivan attacks down the Spennymoor flank. Pic: Gary Welford.

Spennymoor’s 16 included 11 of their Wembley winners, but they were without the injured Gavin Cogdon, and they had an outfield player, Carl Beasley, in goal, with both their regular custodians missing.

Consett afforded their visitors the privilege of a guard of honour onto the field, but, after an early scare, proceeded to play the better football, with the wind at their backs.

Moors threatened first on five minutes, when Andrew Stephenson played in Michael Rae, but the centre-forward’s lob over the advancing Jameson dropped just wide.

Consett striker Michael Mackay gets up highest to win a header. Pic: Gary Welford.

The game was being played largely in midfield, with both teams looking to play a passing game in blustery conditions.

It was 25 minutes before Consett registered their first serious attempt on goal, with Sullivan’s free-kick from 20 yards flashing just over. On 32 minutes Calvin Smith tried his luck from a setpiece slightly further out, and again wasn’t far away.

Three minutes later the Steelmen were ahead, with a well-crafted goal. Kieran Martin was the architect down the right, finding Michael Mackay’s feet just inside the box. The 34-goal top scorer turned, only to see his shot blocked by a defender, but the ball fell handily for his strike partner Aris Guerin-Lokonga, who fired into the bottom corner from just inside the box.

Aris Guerin-Lokonga make it 1-0 to Consett. Pic: Gary Welford.

Four minutes later Spenny should have levelled, but Rae, who was given the freedom of the penalty area, headed over from Stephen Capper’s right-wing cross. Three minutes later Rae had another chance, and this one was even easier, but he headed wide from Kallum Griffiths’ cross.

Right on half-time Consett doubled their lead, and there was an element of good fortune about it. A backpass sold stand-in keeper Beasley short, and when he rushed out of his box to meet it, he could only blast the ball against Guerin-Lokonga. Despite the attentions of Chris Mason, the ball rolled in to make it 2-0.

Lokonga makes it 2-0 as Beasley crashes the ball against him. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

Spennymoor made an attacking substitition early in the second half, bringing on Steven Richardson for Stephenson, and the change paid immediate dividends, as they pulled a goal back on 51 minutes. Graydon’s pass set up Craig Ruddy in the left-hand channel, and the little winger’s shot found its way past Jameson with the help of a deflection.

Rae had another chance when he burst clean through the middle, but fired over, and then Consett had skipper Carl Piecha to thank for a great saving tackle on Richardson as he homed in on goal.

Consett skipper Carl Piecha clears from Spennymoor’s Michael Rae. Pic: Gary Welford.

Little was seen of Consett as an attacking force in the second half, but they had two good chances to restore their two-goal lead. On 73 minutes, good link-up play between Guerin-Lokonga and Mackay set up Sullivan, but his curling effort was straight at the keeper.

Five minutes later a lovely piece of skill from Guerin-Lokonga saw him beat two men, but Beasley saved his shot well down at his near post.

Consett were finding it hard to get out of their own half due to the stiff breeze, and the inevitable happened on 86 minutes when the league runners-up levelled. Capper was the provider with a cross from the left, but Jameson will have to hold up his hands after coming to punch the ball, but being beaten to it by Mason, who headed into the unguarded goal.

Consett’s Matty Slocombe attacks the Spennymoor defence. Pic: Gary Welford.

The visitors threw everything forward as they went for the win. Richardson should have scored when clean through, but fired wide, and in the last minute he was even closer, hitting the post from Anthony Peacock’s pass. When the final whistle went, it was honours even – just about a fair result.

  • Spare a thought for the Consett team who, on this date in 1968, had to play two games in one day! Good cup runs and bad weather had left the newly-renamed Steelmen playing catch-up with their Wearside League fixtures, and this was the only way to finish their season.

Silksworth Colliery Welfare were their opponents for a 3pm kick-off at Belle Vue Park, and were duly despatched 5-0, with goals from Doug Morris, Austin Lee, Owen Lee (2) and debutant David Lumley.

Then at 6.30 they ran out against to complete their season with an ‘away’ game against Sunderland Structural Steel which had been switched to Belle Vue.

The visitors didn’t have an advantage in facing tired opponents, however, as they had already played a game in the afternoon, too, drawing 2-2 with Pyrex SC.

It was the Steelmen – fielding largely the same side – who ended their season on a high, winning 3-0 with goals from Doug Oxley, Austin Lee and Doug Morris.

On this day in our history: 6 May 2013 – Consett lose to bogey team Marske as they begin their long goodbye to Belle Vue Park

Consett lost 2-1 to one of their bogey sides, Marske United, on this day in 2013, in what they hoped* would be their penultimate game at their crumbling old Belle Vue Park ground.

But they felt they deserved at last a point from this Bank Holiday Monday encounter, which came three days after a long-overdue win at Whitley Bay (featured here).

There was a VIP guest in the shape of North West Durham MP Pat Glass, who was introduced to the teams as she paid a visit to the old ground as the club began a long goodbye which would include games against both Sunderland and Newcastle United.

North West Durham MP Pat Glass met both teams before kick-off. Pic: Pat Glass.

Manager Kenny Lindoe made two changes to the side which had won at Hillheads, with skipper Carl Piecha returning and youngster Kieran Martin making his first start. They took the places of Craig Robson – missing for just the second time this season – and Steven Aiston.

It was Martin, on loan from Sunderland Academy, who had the game’s first chance on two minutes, cutting in from the left but hitting his shot straight at Scott Allison. On 10 minutes top scorer Michael Mackay got his first sight of goal, but his header from Aris Guerin-Lokonga’s cross lacked power and was an easy take for the Marske keeper.

The visitors’ first proper opening came on 18 minutes, when John Alexander found a gap in the Consett defence, and homed in on goal, but Chris Elliott stood up well to pull off a double save at the expense of a corner.

Consett keeper Chris Elliott thwarts Marske striker John Alexander. Pic: Gary Welford.

The Steelmen didn’t heed the warning, however, and seven minutes later Marske were ahead. They were caught napping by a short-corner routine on the left, and captain Adam Wheatley stole in to head home.

On 33 minutes Marske had what they thought was a valid penalty appeal turned down as centre-forward David Onions, who had raced clear of a static back four, went down under challenge from Piecha as he shot, but the referee wasn’t interested.

Two minutes later they had doubled their advantage, however, when Karl Charlton’s ball down the left flank put Alexander in, and he went round the advancing Elliott to finish from an acute angle.

Little else of note happened in the first half, and the interval was reached with Marske 2-0 in front.

Kieran Martin made his first start for Consett. Pic: Gary Welford.

Four minutes into the second half it was almost three, as Alexander got on the wrong side of his marker, and was only thwarted by a brave save by Elliott, who hurt himself in the process, but was OK to continue after treatment.

The game to-ed and fro-ed for a while as Consett patiently sought a way back in, and Marske went more direct in their search of a killer third goal, and there were chances at both ends.

Calvin Smith put a tantalising free-kick across the face of goal which no team-mate could get on the end of, while Elliott denied Onions with a flying save as he tried to catch him out with a lobbed effort.

Calvin Smith on the attack for Consett. Pic: Gary Welford.

Smith hit a 20-yarder just wide, then Alexander put his lob over Elliott just too high after being played in by Charlton. Back at the other end, Martin scuffed a shot just wide, then Smtih was just inches away with a 30-yard free-kick which beat the goalkeeper but also the crossbar.

On 79 minutes Martin, who’d made a lively full debut, came the closest yet to reducing the arrears when he curled an effort just wide from the edge of the box after Guerin-Lokonga won the ball in the air and Andrew Cuthbertson laid it off to him.

Two minutes later Consett went even closer: Mackay reacted quickest when a defender could only head David Brown’s cross up in the air, and was the width of a crossbar away from grabbing his 35th goal of the season after his half-volleyed effort struck the woodwork.

Aris Guerin-Lokonga runs at the Marske defence. Pic: Gary Welford.

Consett finished the game strongly, and there were chances for Guerin-Lokonga, who blazed over, and Mackay, whose one-on-one was saved by Allison, before they got one back in the second minute of injury time.

Ian Davidson’s free-kick from the right was sliced into his own net by midfielder Josh Myers, pictured top, but there simply wasn’t enough time for the home side to force the equaliser which they deserved.

Consett: 1 Chris Elliott, 2 Matthew Slocombe, 3 Ian Davidson, 4 Andrew Cuthbertson, 5 Michael Pearson (sub Ryan King 72), 6 Carl Piecha, 7 Kieran Martin, 8 Calvin Smith, 9 Aris Guerin-Lokonga, 10 Michael Mackay, 11 David Brown. Subs not used: Peter Jameson, David Scorer, Luke Sullivan, David Robson.
Marske: 1 Scott Allison, 2 Ryan Grier, 3 David Wells (sub Mitchell Morris 66), 4 Leon Carling, 5 Adam Wheatley, 6 Scott Matthewman, 7 Chris McGill (sub Curtis Collantine 80), 8 Josh Myers, 9 David Onions, 10 John Alexander, 11 Karl Charlton. Sub not used: Nathan Tidy.

  • Consett hoped this would be their penultimate game at Belle Vue, with the last one against Spennymoor Town due on 11 May, but were still waiting for the Northern League to decide if they had to re-play a game against Newcastle Benfield, abandoned a week earlier, with 12 minutes left, when the floodlights failed.

On this day in our history: 5 May 2001 – Consett continue their fine late-season form by making it five wins in a row

Consett continued their good end-of-season form on this day in 2001, beating Jarrow Roofing 2-0 at Belle Vue Park for their fifth successive win – their best run of the campaign.

Despite being without 26-goal top scorer Tony ‘Tiger’ Halliday, for their third home game in a row, Colin Carr’s side scored early when they took the lead after just five minutes with a fine individual goal from Kieran McGinley.

He picked up the ball inside his own half and ran through the Roofing defence before sliding it past the advancing keeper McGilvray.

The goal meant that after going 31 games without scoring, the young midfielder – who was named Players’ Player of the Year – had five in his last nine games.

Consett could have doubled their advantage after 16 minutes when Trevor Laidler set up Mark Outterside, but his shot was easily saved. Roofing showed little in the first half, with Bangura’s shot over the bar their only threat.

The game was more open in the second period, with both sides creating chances. Five minutes fater the break Roofing striker Paul Chow broke clear, and his pass gave Hague a golden opportunity, but he shot wide when he should have scored.

After 53 minutes Consett went close to getting the all-important second goal when Laidler’s clever reverse pass put Colin Mcleod in on goal, but he shot straight at the keeper.

But a minute later McLeod made up for that miss when he cleverly turned a defender before firing a low shot into the bottom corner to give the home side a two-goal cushion.

Colin McLeod doubled Consett’s lead. Pic: Andrew Pearson.

Consett could have gone further ahead almost immediately when McLeod set up McGinley, but he dragged his shot wide when well-placed.

After 63 minutes Chow created an opening for himself when he beat a defender, but Consett keeper James Platten – their only ever-present in a 49-game season – turned his shot round the post.

With nine minutes left Roofing almost got a foothold back in the game when Garrett headed narrowly over from Moore’s free-kick.

But it was the Steelmen who finished in the ascendancy, with substitute David Young shooting just past the upright after a good run, and with two minutes left McGilvray did well to keep out McGinley’s shot.

The Steelmen had three home games left after this, and draws with league champions Bedlington Terriers and Billingham Town were followed by a last-game win over Newcastle Blue Star, to extend their unbeaten run to eight games, and lift them to a final position of 10th.

Consett: 1 James Platten, 2 Johnny Brown, 3 David Hagan, 4 Rod Butler, 5 Jeff Sugden, 6 Kieran McGinley, 7 Gary Cowley (sub David Young), 8 Alan Batey, 9 Colin McLeod, 10 Trevor Laidler, 11 Mark Outterside.

On this day in our history: 29 April 2006 – Consett close in on 100 points as club records continue to tumble

Consett recorded another fine win – their 32nd of the season in the league – as club records continued to tumble on this day back in 2006.

Kenny Lindoe’s attack-minded team had already won the Arngrove Northern League 2nd Division championship with six games to spare.

But the 5-0 win over Whickham at Belle Vue Park on this day took them to within one point of the magic 100 in an incredible 2005-06 campaign, and was the 17th game in which Consett had hit five goals or more.

Carl Piecha gets up highest at a throw-in. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

Kenny continued to rotate his squad to ensure it was used fully during the hectic final month of the season. Gary Ormston, Robbie Blemings and Scott Macdonald returned to the side in place of Colin McKenzie, Paul Curry and Kraig Wilkinson as the Steelmen adopted an attacking 3-4-3 formation.

The game was played in pleasant spring sunshine and had something of an end-of-season feel to it in the first 25 minutes. Neither keeper was unduly troubled, with a long-throw move from Whickham that John Mohan gathered easily and a Damian Maw effort that cleared the visitors’ crossbar the only incidents of note.

Consett opened the scoring in the 26th minute with something of a bolt out of the blue. Robbie Blemings took possession of a loose ball just inside his own half and carried it forward unchallenged for some 30 yards. Having been virtually invited to shoot the young defender did so, finding the bottom corner with a powerful strike from distance.

Robbie Blemings opens the scoring for Consett. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

The goal handed the initiative to Consett, and they never for one moment looked like giving it up. After Andrew Bulford volleyed a punched clearance from Robinson back over the bar, the Steelmen doubled their lead on 36 minutes.

Bulford produced some great work down the right flank before putting over a cross and Robinson’s punch was again ineffective. The ball fell to Carl Piecha who sent a spectacular left-footed strike into the net, despite facing away from goal and the ball bouncing at about shoulder height.

On the stroke of half time Consett added a third, and once again it came gift-wrapped courtesy of the generous Whickham defence. Michael Mackay crossed from the left and found Bulford, whose shot somehow squirmed through Robinson for his 13th Consett goal.

Andrew Bulford, left, is congratulated after making it 3-0. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

Any hopes the visitors may have had of clawing their way back into the game were soon dashed as Consett netted twice more in the opening four minutes of the second half. Kraig Wilkinson made it 4-0 with his first touch after coming on as a substitute, reacting well to reach Bulford’s off-target volley and steer it home from the edge of the six-yard box.

Consett went nap on 49 minutes when Piecha’s cross was only partially cleared and the referee spotted the use of a Whickham hand in the melee that followed. Mackay converted the resulting penalty for his 40th goal of the season – two of which having been scored for Durham City.

Having scored five and with 40 minutes still remaining the home supporters could have been forgiven for thinking a slaughter was on the cards. However, there was surprisingly no further scoring, due partly to some profligate Consett finishing and some good defending from a Whickham side who could have been forgiven for throwing in the towel.

Carl Piecha sets Alan Oliver away down the flank. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

Indeed, Mohan was forced into making his first real save of the match within two minutes of Consett’s fifth, denying Andrew Elliott a headed goal. Bulford went close on the hour mark, before the crowd were given the rare chance of seeing a goalkeeper score from open play. Consett were awarded a free-kick just outside the area, which Mohan travelled upfield to take, but his shot was deflected wide. From the corner, Mackay sent a glancing header just wide.

Whickham’s best chance came on 73 minutes when Richard Brodie rounded Mohan and played the ball across to substitute James Ramshaw. The ball was behind him, but somehow the former Consett player scooped the ball wide from a yard out.

Michael Mackay challenges the Whickham keeper for a cross. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

At the other end, chances were raining in on the Whickham goal with Alan Oliver, Mackay, Bulford and Blemings all going close in the space of five minutes. As the game entered the final 10 minutes, Blemings was in action in defence, getting back to block Graeme King’s shot with Mohan beaten.

Three minutes from time Mackay used his strength to create space for a shot, but was denied another goal for impressive collection by a brilliant one-handed stop from Robinson. Then, with time almost up, Chris Douglas saw a dipping volley go just over the bar, and the Steelmen knew they were just going to have to settle for five.

Their final game, two days later against FA Vase quarter-finalists Crook Town, saw the Steelmen end their record-breaking campaign with a 2-1 win, which gave them an incredible 102 points from a 38-game season, and a final goal difference of +103.

Consett: 1 Mohan, 2 Oliver, 3 Johnson (Wilkinson 46), 4 Ormston (Hagan 76), 5 Maw, 6 Blemings (Douglas 75), 7 Piecha, 8 Brown, 9 Bulford, 10 Mackay, 11 Macdonald.
Whickham: 1 Robinson, 2 Barnes (Ramshaw 69), 3 Morgan, 4 Lister, 5 Hedley, 6 Boyle, 7 Cavanagh, 8 Elliott, 9 Brodie (Robson 77), 10 King, 11 Hutchinson.

On this day in our history: 27 April 2011 – Barton batters Benfield to avenge Consett’s biggest defeat of season

Consett exacted sweet revenge on Newcastle Benfield for their heaviest defeat of the season on this day in 2011, to go second in the league.

An inspired half-time substitution and second-half goal blitz saw them leapfrog over their visitors and Whitley Bay, as well as take their goal tally past 100 in the league for the season.

David Hagan, still in caretaker charge after manager Kenny Lindoe’s heart attack the previous month, made three changes to the side which beat his old club Tow Law on Easter Monday. Teenager Peter Jameson replaced Barry Poskett in goal, Richard Forster came into central defence for Carl Piecha, and Dale Burrell replaced Richard Slaughter wide on the right.

Benfield, who had knocked their hosts out of the League Cup at Belle Vue five weeks earlier, included one ex-Steelman, Brian Dodsworth, who had scored twice in their 4-2 extra-time win, in their line-up.

Consett and Benfield shake hands before the game. Pic: Gary Welford.

The visitors, who had inflicted a 5-1 defeat on the Steelmen back in August, started brighter, and their first chance came on seven minutes, when Chris Feasey’s snap-shot from the edge of the box looked to have Jameson beaten, but arrowed just wide of his right-hand post. Dodsworth then tested the young keeper with a shot which he saved comfortably at the near post.

On 11 minutes Burrell put Consett in all sorts of problems when he lost possession to Stuart Wright in the right-back position. The No 11 crossed hard and low to the front post for Dodsworth, but Ryan Bell did well to get a challenge in, at the expense of a corner. The same Benfield pair combined from the flag-kick, but Dodsworth put his header straight at the keeper.

Having rode the early pressure, Consett slowly came into the game, and Marc Walton had a decent chance on 16 minutes, when he chased a through ball into the box, and got away a shot before being flattened by Benfield keeper Colin Paxton. The referee waved away Walton’s appeals for a penalty. The incident seemed to fire up Walton, and a minute later he tried a shot on the turn, but hit it straight at the keeper.

Consett striker Marc Walton holds up the ball. Pic: Gary Welford.

On 27 minutes Consett had a remarkable double save from Jameson to thank for preventing them falling behind. A cross from the right was headed powerfully goalwards by Wright from inside the six-yard box, and the 18-year-old made a fine save. The Benfield player looked certain to net the rebound, until the grounded Jameson stuck out a leg and booted the loose ball away.

There were no further scoring opportunities, and the teams reached the interval at 0-0, with Benfield having had the better chances by far. In a bold move, Hagan brought on Gavin Barton, who had missed the previous five games, for the second half, joining Walton and Lewis Teasdale in a three-man attack.

Within three minutes of the restart it had paid dividends, as Barton broke the deadlock. Jamie Poole started the move out on the left, passing to Anthony Lund, who ran at the Benfield defence. As he reached the edge of the area he slipped the ball to Walton, whose initial shot was blocked by the keeper. Barton was first to react, picking up possession and taking a touch to steady himself before tucking the ball away into the bottom-left corner.

Consett’s Jamie Poole delivers from a wide position. Pic: Gary Welford.

Two minutes later it was 2-0, and this time Barton turned provider. Poole’s ball forward was headed on by Teasdale, and Barton waited for Walton’s run into the box before picking him out. The No 9 took a touch and prodded the ball home across the keeper for his fourth goal in as many games.

Walton almost made it three when he latched onto a long ball from Danny Craggs, but shot into the side netting, and Forster put a header from a Craggs free-kick straight at the keeper.

Benfield almost found a way back into the game when they sprung Consett’s offside trap and Shaun Bell’s shot hit the post, with Craggs getting in a superb block on Wright’s follow-up.

The next goal was a crucial one, and when it came on 64 minutes it fell to Consett. Richard Slaughter, on as a sub for Anthony Lund, delivered a pinpoint cross from near the right-hand corner flag, and Barton aimed a firm header down to the keeper’s right. Paxton seemed to have it covered, but the ball squirmed from his grasp and over the line. It was Consett’s 100th league goal of the season, and Barton’s 24th, drawing him level with top scorer Jamie Poole.

Consett keeper Peter Jameson gets up highest. Pic Ron Aitcheson.

Barton almost grabbed his hat-trick two minutes later when Paul Antony’s stray pass fell to him and he tried to curl a shot inside the far post, but didn’t get enough bend on it. The unmarked Walton would surely have scored if he had passed, but things were going so well for Barton that no one blamed him for going for goal himself.

The visitors had a great chance to reduce the arrears when a long ball found substitute Johnny Mann, who looked a certain scorer as he honed in on goal, but Jameson got fingertips to his shot to turn it round the far post.

With three minutes remaining, Consett got a fourth, and Barton completed his hat-trick, picking up substitute Mark Patterson’s mishit shot, and sticking it away from close range. He celebrated with a somersault, as the goal marked his second treble of the season and took him one ahead of Poole in the race to be top scorer.

Dodsworth, who could have earlier seen red for lashing out at Ryan Bell after they contested a header, almost grabbed a consolation right at the death, but Jameson capped an excellent performance by palming his well-struck effort over the bar.

Not this time … Consett’s Marc Walton goes close. Pic: Ron Aitcheson.

When the final whistle went Consett had moved up to second in the table, having turned round a four-goal deficit on Benfield, though both they and Whitley Bay, who dropped to third, had two games left to play.

Bizarrely, despite scoring a second-half hat-trick, Gavin Barton found himself on the bench again for the next game – and came on again and scored two more goals as Consett beat Ashington 2-1 to confirm them as runners-up to champions Spennymoor Town.

Benfield would finish fourth, though gained some consolation in the form of the League Cup, beating Spennymoor in the final to prevent them making it a league and cup double.

Consett: 1 Peter Jameson, 2 Ryan Bell, 3 Anthony Lund (sub Richie Slaughter 56), 4 Craig Robson (captain), 5 Richard Forster (sub Mark Patterson 77), 6 Andrew Cuthbertson, 7 Dale Burrell (sub Gavin Barton 46), 8 Danny Craggs, 9 Marc Walton, 10 Lewis Teasdale, 11 Jamie Poole. Sub not used: carl Piecha.
Benfield: 1 C.Paxton, 2 Turnbull, 3 Paterson, 4 Antony, 5 Leighton (captain), 6 R.Paxton, 7 Feasey (sub Mann 60), 8 S.Bell, 9 Dodsworth, 10 Chilton (sub S.Fenwick 70), 11 Wright. Subs not used: R.Fenwick, Finnigan, Bangura.

On this day in our history: 25 April 2002 – Consett guarantee 1st Division safety in their very last game

Never let it be said that Consett don’t keep things interesting for as long as possible.

It was on this day in 2002 that they finally guaranteed their Albany Northern League 1st Division, with a 2-0 win over Durham City in their final game of the season.

It was a reasonably comfortable win over sixth-placed Durham, who had contested a two-legged FA Vase semi-final against Whitley Bay less than four weeks previously.

In a near-disastrous April in which just six points had been accumulated from a possible 24, Consett saved their best performances for their three hardest games, Whitley Bay, Tow Law and this one, played on a Thursday night at Belle Vue Park.

Alan Batey, who went off injured at half time at Tow Law on Tuesday was unfit, so Johnny Brown came in as Consett reverted to the back three that had been so successful against Whitley Bay the previous week. Otherwise it was the same team as the one that did so well without reward against The Lawyers.

Consett started brightly and had the first real chance of the match on 12 minutes when the ball broke to Tony Halliday in the box, but the Durham defence blocked his goalbound shot.

After that initial scare Durham took control of the game. On the quarter hour Mark Hutchinson had a shot from distance which bounced awkwardly in front of James Platten, but the Consett keeper managed to divert it for a corner.

Colin McLeod lays the ball off to Tony Halliday. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

A couple of minutes later Platten was called upon again to make a good save from a 30-yard attempt from Mudd. Then after 20 minutes an acrobatic effort from Taylor sailed over Platten’s head and, thankfully for Consett, over the bar too.

Having survived this onslaught Consett pressed forward again, and Darren Grimes did well to get a shot on target despite the ball just refusing to sit for him. Riches in the Durham goal held it well though.

In the 35th minute it was Consett who drew first blood. Chris Hodgson lifted a cross into the box from the left and Colin McLeod’s looping header hit the bar. As the ball bounced back into play Macca went to knock in the rebound, but Durham’s Emmerson got there first and headed it into his own net.

Emmerson’s own goal gives Consett the lead. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

Having eased the nerves a little with a goal before half-time, Consett reduced the stress levels still further by getting a second seven minutes into the second half. Macca smacked one from 25 yards out which was heading straight for the keeper, however it bounced wickedly right in front of Riches and reared up over him into the net. If the pitch had robbed Macca at Tow Law two days ago, then this was payback time.

Durham responded to going 2-0 down by bringing on ex-Bedlington striker and leading scorer Lee Ludlow, however he made little impact. Consett were defending resolutely and the impressive Chris Hodgson was covering every blade of grass in an unfamiliar midfield role, and as a consequence Durham were kept at bay.

In the last quarter of an hour things livened up a bit. First Durham sub Keith Douglas did well to get over a high bouncing ball to drive a volley low to Platten’s left, which he did well to tip round the post, then on 78 minutes an indirect free-kick was hit well by Irvine, but Platten caught it easily.

Durham clear their lines as a throw-in lands in their box. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

Four minutes from time Consett might have got a third when McLeod held the ball up well before laying it off to Neil Lowdon, whose angled shot went narrowly over. There was still time for a couple of close efforts from Durham before the end, but the feeling of relief was tangible when the referee blew the final whistle.

The curtain came down on Consett’s season and they had avoided the relegation trapdoor, finishing 17th with Ashington filling the final relegation place alongside Thornaby and Seaham Red Star.

Sadly, Consett’s luck would run out, and they were relegated the following season, which signalled the end of Colin Carr’s 15-year tenure as manager.

Consett: Platten, Grimes, Davison, Butler, Sugden, Brown, Suddes, Lowdon, McLeod, Halliday, Hodgson.
Durham City: Riches, Shingleton, Emmerson, Mudd, Walklate, Hutchinson, Milburn, McQuade (Douglas), Dunwell (Baxter), Taylor (Ludlow), Irvine.

On this day in our history: 24 April 2010 – a rare home win at the end of a strangely lop-sided season

It’s been 10 years since we played a game on this date, and it brought a rare home win in a remarkably lop-sided season.

Chester-le-Street were our opponents, and it’s a game they won’t thank us to recall, as we relegated them from the 1st Division with a 3-1 win.

Our final Belle Vue Park game of the season, it was only our fifth home win in a season where we picked up maximum points 14 times on our travels – an away record bettered by only champions Spennymoor Town.

The programme was under no illusions about the sad state of affairs, which had seen home attendances plummet.

“There’s no getting away from it, it’s an awful record, and we should be thankful that our away form has been so good. Thirteen away wins (with two games still to play) is championship form; four wins at home is the mark of relegation fodder.

“No, the pitch doesn’t help, the lack of home games in the start and middle of the season didn’t either [we didn’t have a home game between December 5 and February 20], and it can’t have been much fun playing in front of what amounts to not much more than one man and his dog as our season tailed off.”

A glance at the record books shows Consett were without a home win in their last eight games, with their previous home success coming in a 1-0 win over West Allotment Celtic on 6 March. We had used a staggering 45 players during the course of the season.

Our third-bottom visitors were desperate for points too in their bid to avoid the drop, and it was a case of ‘here we go again’ when we conceded the first goal on 13 minutes.

Kyle Bird hit a free-kick into the box for Andy Armstrong to head down, and Nathan Fisher – who’d played one game for us at the start of the season, before departing for Chester, where he’d become the league’s top scorer! – fired in.

Consett rallied, and equalised after 33 minutes when Armstrong was penalised for pulling Gary Ormston back inside the area, and the referee pointed to the spot.

Goalkeeper Ian Aitken pulled off a great save to turn Steven Huggins‘ penalty onto the post, but the midfielder reacted quickest to fire home the rebound.

The Steelmen took the lead just before the hour, when Andy Cuthbertson, who was facing his old club, got to the left byline and crossed for top scorer Gary Ormston to head home for his 16th goal of the season.

Top scorer Gary Ormston gave Consett the lead. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

The result wasn’t sealed until the final minute, when Huggins played a great crossfield pass to Sean Best, who cut into the box and fired in a shot which was deflected past his own keeper by the unlucky Armstrong.

A draw at Bedlington and a win at Morpeth in our last two away games lifted Consett to 10th, while this defeat and another in their final game at Penrith saw Chester-le-Street’s 12-year stay in the top flight come to an end.

Consett: 1 Sam Grieveson, 2 Andrew Burton, 3 David Pounder, 4 Jonjo Dickman, 5 Graham Irving, 6 Paul Collins, 7 Steven Huggins, 8 Andrew Cuthbertson, 9 Guy Bates (sub Brian Dodsworth), 10 Gavin Parkin (sub Sean Best), 11 Gary Ormston.