Tag: Consett AFC

Draw for the Durham Challenge Cup is made – and Consett are exempt to the first round

The draw for the opening round of the 2020-21 Durham County Challenge Cup has been made by Durham FA – but it doesn’t affect Consett.

Although three Northern League 1st Division clubs will be taking part in the Preliminary Round, we aren’t one of them.

Bishop Auckland, Ryhope CW and Hebburn Town have all got ties in the opening round of seven fixtures.

Nine more clubs have byes, and another 16 – including ourselves – are exempt until the 1st Round.

Consett have won the Durham Challenge Cup seven times, most recently in 2018, when Mark Eccles’ team beat Dunston 4-2.

Our previous win before that was in 2007 (read all about that here), and the one before that in 1969, when we became the first Wearside League club to lift the famous old trophy (recalled here).

The Preliminary Round ties, due to be played in the week preceding Saturday 24 October, are:
Bishop Auckland v Horden Community Welfare
Silksworth CW v Ryhope CW
Durham City v Easington Colliery
Washington v Hebburn Town
Crook Town v West Auckland Tunns
Birtley Town v Brandon United
Sunderland West End v Billingham Synthonia

Byes: Boldon CA, Chester-le-Street Town, Chester-le-Street United, Darlington Town, Durham United, Gateshead Rutherford, Jarrow, Ryton & Crawcrook Albion, Wolviston.

Exemptions: Billingham Town, Consett AFC, Darlington FC, Esh Winning, Gateshead FC, Hartlepool FC (Wearside League), Newton Aycliffe, Seaham Red Star, Shildon AFC, Spennymoor Town, Stockton Town, Sunderland AFC, Sunderland RCA, West Auckland Town, Whickham, Willington.

The 1st Round is due to take place in the week preceding Saturday 19 December.

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.

Consett to face Northern Premier League side Pickering Town in friendly

Consett have added a friendly match against Northern Premier League club Pickering Town to their pre-season schedule.

The game against The Pikes, who play in Division One North West of the NPL, will take place at Belle View Stadium at 2pm on Saturday, 15 August.

At present, Government and FA guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus mean the game must be played behind closed doors.

We have met once before, in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Vase in season 2016-17, when Pickering won 3-1 at Belle View. Our goal was a late consolation from Michael Sweet.

Matty Slocombe, pictured in action above, is the only player involved in the game who is still at Consett.

Pickering were in the Northern Counties East League at the time, but were promoted at the end of the following season, and have been a Step 4 club ever since.

They play at the same level as our former Northern League rivals Dunston and Marske United, and it is hoped the friendly might become an annual fixture.

Consett begin their pre-season friendlies with a 3-2 win at Newcastle Blue Star

Consett kicked off their pre-season preparations with a 3-2 win over Northern Alliance opponents Newcastle Blue Star.

A strong side took to the field at Scotswood Sports Centre, containing nine of the XI which started our last game, at Atherstone in the FA Vase 6th Round back in March.

Blue Star had a host of former Northern League players in their side, including ex-Steelmen Josh Scott and Andrew Bulford, while their recently-appointed director of football Lee Clark was among those watching the behind-closed-doors fixture.

It was the home side who took the lead in the 12th minute. Callum Johnston – one of several new signings made for a big promotion push – lobbed keeper Kyle Hayes from the edge of the box.

Consett responded well, with Dale Pearson missing a couple of chances, and Calvin Smith hitting the post with a first-time effort from Darren Holden’s cross.

Blue Star almost doubled their lead in their 32nd minute when Connor Lane hit the bar with a free-kick from 25 yards, but the next goal came from Consett five minutes later when Matty Slocombe’s pass sent Pearson in on goal, and he rounded the keeper to make it 1-1.

Right on half-time the Steelmen took the lead, with Alshabeeb’s precise through ball leaving Pearson with only the keeper to beat, and he obliged to make the half-time score 2-1 to Consett.

Both sides made a plethora of substitutions at the break, with only four of Consett’s starting line-up emerging for the second half. One of the subs, the returning Matty Cornish, played a big role in the goal which made it 3-1 in the 57th minute, setting up new signing Carl Lawson, who curled a peach of a finish into the top corner, pictured top.

On 64 minutes it should have been four when the keeper saved from Lawson, and two Thomas McAloon follow-ups were stopped first by the post and then a defender on the line.

With both sides now making rolling subs, it was hard to keep track of who was where, but Blue Star did get a goal back on 71 minutes when Consett lost possession at the back, and Liam Anderson stroke the ball home.

Cornish, who has been playing college football in the USA, looked lively up front, and it took a good save to deny him a goal in the 73rd minute, and another chance right at the death glanced the outside of the post.

It finished 3-2 to Consett, and both sides were happy with a good, competitive workout for their first post-lockdown game.

  • Consett’s next game is against Tow Law Town on Tuesday 4 August, but again Government/FA guidance on stopping the spread of Covid-19 means it must be played behind closed doors.

Consett add friendly game against Crook Town to their pre-season schedule

Consett will play one of the Northern League’s oldest clubs, Crook Town, as part of their pre-season preparations, it has been confirmed.

The Black and Ambers were 3rd in the 2nd Division, and looked a good bet for promotion, when last season was abandoned.

They will visit Belle View Stadium on Saturday, 8 August, but under current Covid-19 restrictions the game will be behind closed doors.

The meeting will be our first since 21 March 2015, when we won 4-0 at their Millfield ground in a 1st Division fixture.

Our goals that day were a hat-trick from Michael Mackay, pictured in action above, and a strike from Aris Guerin-Lokonga.

Crook are managed by Jamie Tunstall, a young manager who encourages his team to play good football. Their squad includes Harrison Scott, a defender who had a spell at Consett in the 2017-18 season.

Their main goal threat is Daniel Kent, who’d scored 20 when last season was brought to an abrupt halt, while Christian Holliday (16) and Daniel Maddison (10) were also in double figures.

Our pre-season schedule so far is:

Sat 1 August v Newcastle Blue Star (A)

Tue 4 August v Tow Law Town (H)

Sat 8 August v Crook Town (H)

Sat 22 August v Morpeth Town (H)

At present, all friendly games must take place behind closed doors, and we await updated guidance from the FA/Government on when spectators will be allowed to return.

Northern League season to kick off on September 5 – if spectators are allowed

The Northern League has decided that its 2020-21 season will kick off on Saturday, September 5 – but only if spectators are allowed to attend games.

As set out in the FA’s timescales, the intention is to start league fixtures on that date, though this is still subject to further discussions between the FA and the Government.

The league management committee will make a final decision on the start of our new league season once the issue of spectators is resolved nationally.  The fixture list will be released at this stage.

LEAGUE CUP SUSPENDED

The Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup will be suspended for the forthcoming season.  In its place, there will be a cup competition just for first division clubs.

These matches will be played on a straight knock-out basis, with ties to be decided on the night. There will be no extra time, and draws at 90 minutes will be settled by a penalty shoot-out.

The Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup for second division clubs will be run as normal.

Each county FA will make its own decision regarding the playing of their county cup competitions, which are separate from the league.

‘SPECTATORS ARE ESSENTIAL’

League chairman Glenn Youngman, pictured, said: “These are unprecedented times for non-league football and we have had to balance a number of issues.

“The priority is to complete league fixtures.  The delayed start to the season means there are fewer weeks for fixtures to be arranged.

“But spectators are essential to the livelihood of our clubs, so we hope the issue about when spectators can attend games will be resolved at a national level as quickly as possible so we can make a final decision about the start of the new season.

“I would also like to thank all the staff and volunteers and our clubs who are putting in so much work behind the scenes to prepare for the new season and to make it as safe as possible for players, officials and spectators.

“The decision to run two, separate cup competitions for our two divisions has been a difficult one. However, we are conscious that clubs have been affected by the loss of income. Running two cup competitions for the two divisions will reduce the pressure on the fixture list while, at the same time, providing much-needed revenue.

“We will keep the progress of the two cup competitions under review during the season.”

MATCHDAY PROGRAMMES

Because of the Covid-19 guidance to reduce the amount of material/paperwork handled, the league has advised clubs that paper copies of programmes should not be provided for league games and league-related cup matches. Some clubs are providing programmes online – spectators are advised to check with a club directly to see if this option is available.

FA VASE SEMI-FINAL

Consett AFC are still awaiting a decision from the FA on when the FA Vase semi-final against Bitton will be played. The latest update we had is here.

Consett begin their pre-season friendlies with a visit to Newcastle Blue Star

Consett will return to match action on Saturday 1 August with a visit to Northern Alliance side Newcastle Blue Star.

We are awaiting Government guidance on whether supporters will be allowed to attend the fixture, which will be at Scotswood Sports Centre with a 1pm kick-off.

Blue Star were one of the most famous non-league clubs in the North East before the old club folded in 2009.

They famously won the FA Vase in 1978 as a Wearside League club, and joined the Northern League in 1985, immediately winning the 2nd Division title and League Cup.

They did another double, winning the 1st Division championship and League Cup, in 2006, and were promoted to the Northern Premier League in 2007.

After leaving their home at the Wheatsheaf Ground to share with Newcastle Falcons rugby club at Kingston Park the club were promoted to the NPL Premier Division via the play-offs in 2009.

But off-the-field problems – particularly being asked to repay £65,000 in loans which they had received for the Wheatsheaf Ground – resulted in the club’s demise.

Newcastle Blue Star was reformed in 2018, and finished 3rd in their first season in the Northern Alliance Premier Division. Their short-term aim is to re-establish themselves as a Northern League club.

They are managed by former Newcastle United player Kenny Wharton, and recently appointed another ex-Magpie, Lee Clark, as director of football.

Consett’s second friendly will be a home game against local rivals Tow Law Town at Belle View Stadium on Tuesday 4 August, and we will also entertain Morpeth Town on Saturday 22 August.

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.