Consett made it four wins in a row tonight to head into Lockdown Mk II in the top three of the Northern League’s 1st Division.
The Steelmen beat bottom side Billingham Town 4-1 at an icy Belle View – and could have won by a hatful if it hadn’t been for an impressive display by the visitors’ goalkeeper.
Manager Terry Mitchell made four changes to the team which had started the last three games, and it took them a while to find their rhythm. But once they did there was only going to be one winner.
They almost took the lead with a fluke goal in the 9th minute, when Ali Alshabeeb’s cross hit the bar but the first real chance came 10 minutes later.
A superb crossfield ball by skipper-for-the-night Calvin Smith picked out Darren Holden, whose curling right-footed shot brought a fine save from Billingham keeper Matty Wilkinson.
On 21 minutes Lewis Green won the ball on the edge of Billingham’s box, and played in Dale Pearson, but the big striker fired into the side netting.
On 24 minutes Consett were awarded a penalty when Carl Lawson was tripped in the box, and Dale Pearson stepped up to despatch the spot-kick into the bottom corner to make it 1-0, with his 10th goal of the season.
On 27 minutes it was almost two when Jake Orrell’s free-kick from the right found Nick Allen, and his header was tipped over the crossbar by Wilkinson.
Four minutes later Wilkinson made another fine save, this time denying Lawson after good work by Orrell and Pearson.
But there was nothing the keeper could do about Consett’s second goal, which came in the 33rd minute. Dale Pearson latched onto Holden’s long pass, touched it past the keeper, and then finished into the empty net for 2-0.
Consett had spent 15 minutes laying siege to the visitors’ goal, but received a warning that they still posed a threat when Kyle Hayes had to save from Lewis Murphy after he burst clean through.
A mistake at the back almost proved costly for Billingham in the 39th minute, however, and Wilkinson they again had Wilkinson to thank for keeping them in the game after he saved from Ali Alshabeeb.
The resulting corner produced yet anothe chance, this time for Allen, and the keeper produced an instinctive reaction save to keep out his snapshot.
A third goal looked inevitable, and Consett almost had it two minutes before the break when a wonderful flowing five-man move gave Pearson the chance to complete a first-half hat-trick, but he fired into the side netting.
They would get the goal their dominance deserved, in the minute of added time, when Orrell’s diagonal ball picked out Darren Holden‘s run, and he finished past Wilkinson into the far corner to make it 3-0.
After controlling the first half so completely, Consett seemed to take their foot off the pedal a bit in the second, and it was Billingham who had the first chance of the half on 73 minutes, when Danny Boyle crashed a shot against the frame of the goal from distance, with Hayes beaten.
The let-off stung Consett into action, and in the 79th minute they made it 4-0 when Holden’s cross from the left was half-cleared as far as Ali Alshabeeb, who buried the ball in the net from 10 yards.
To their credit, Billingham kept plugging away, and got a goal back in the 83rd minute when substitute Guilherme Baltazar finished from close range.
Consett were the width of the woodwork away from restoring their four-goal advantage in the 87th minute when good pressure from Alshabeeb forced the keeper to miskick, and the ball fell to Dan Marriott, 30 yards out. His lob looked like it was heading in, but Wilkinson atoned for his error by tipping the ball onto the bar, and Matty Cornish blazed the rebound over.
In the end it was a comfortable enough win, which lifted Consett to third place, but it could have been many more if the keeper hadn’t made half a dozen top-notch saves.