Lights go out on Consett’s chance to go top of the table as they lose at Ryhope CW

The lights went out on Consett’s bid to go top of the Northern League tonight as they lost 2-1 at Ryhope Colliery Welfare.

A turgid opening half came to life just after the half-hour mark, when, in the space of two minutes, both sides had strong penalty appeals. One was given and the other not.

Consett’s came in the 33rd minute, when Ali Alshabeeb appeared to be pushed over from behind by Ryhope captain Ben Riding as he chased  a ball into the box. The referee gave nothing.

Consett’s Ali Alshabeeb goes down under challenge from Ryhope CW captain Ben Riding. Pic: Gary Welford.

Two minutes later the home side were awarded a penalty when Calvin Smith fouled David Vincent, but keeper Mark Foden – on loan from Blyth Spartans – spared his team-mate’s blushes, diving low to his left to save Jack Devlin’s spot kick, and then kick the loose ball away, pictured at the top of this article.

It remained 0-0 at half-time, but Ryhope took the lead in the 49th minute when Riding forced the ball home from close range after the Consett defence failed to clear a free-kick.

Seven minutes later it should have been two when Matty Weirs’ low cross from the left found Devlin, who somehow lifted his shot over the bar from close range.

It was a big let-off for Consett, and within 60 seconds they were level.  Luke Carr – captain for the night in the absence of the injured Arjun Purewal – set Alshabeeb clear, and the wide man made no mistake, rolling the ball past Ryhope keeper James Winter for his first competitive goal for the club.

Ali Alshabeeb makes it 1-1 with his first competitive goal for Consett. Pic: Gary Welford.

The next 20 minutes saw Consett do most of the attacking, without creating a clear-cut chance, but with 10 minutes to go the floodlights went off –  apparently because a substituted player turned on the showers.

After a 15-minute wait the lights came back on, but Consett were left wishing they hadn’t, as Ryhope sub Michael Rae scored what turned out to be the winner in the 83rd minute.

He picked the ball up outside the box, cut inside his man, and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top-right corner.

It was a goal worthy of winning any game, but the Steelmen can only think what might have been if the lights going out hadn’t halted their momentum.

* Full match report & more pictures to follow.

Gary Welford